What is it?
Propylene Glycol is an organic alcohol. It is one of the most widely used ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products. Propylene Glycol is used in many types of cosmetic formulations including fragrances. Polypropylene Glycol (PPG) polymers, including PPG-3, PPG-6, PPG-7, PPG-9, PPG-12, PPG-15, PPG-16, PPG-17, PPG-20, PPG-26, PPG-30, PPG-33, PPG-34, PPG-51, PPG-52 and PPG-69 are polymers of Propylene Glycol and water. The number in the name represents that average number of units of Propylene Glycol in the compound.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) includes Propylene Glycol on its list of substances considered Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS
) for direct addition to food. Polypropylene Glycol is also permitted as an indirect food additive
for use as a defoaming agent.
The safety of Propylene Glycol and the Polypropylene Glycol polymers has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review
(CIR) Expert Panel. The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that Propylene Glycol and the Polypropylene Glycol polymers were safe for use in cosmetic products when formulated to be non-irritating.
Why is it used in cosmetics and personal care products?
Propylene Glycol and Polypropylene Glycols attract water and function as moisturizers to enhance the appearance of skin by reducing flaking and restoring suppleness. Propylene Glycol is also used to help stabilize formulations.
Propylene Glycol, also known as 1,2-propanediol, is used to absorb extra water and maintain moisture in certain cosmetics, medicines and food products. In the human body, Propylene Glycol is metabolized into lactic acid, which occurs naturally when muscles are exercised.