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April 05, 2023
Polyethylene glycol (PEG) is a chemical compound that you will often find in cosmetics. I should say, it WAS something you would often find in cosmetics. Today, consumers are looking for more environmentally friendly and organic products. So, consumers are starting to migrate more toward skincare with no PEG.
How is PEG Used?
Obviously, derivatives of PEG are found in various cosmetic formulas, most popular in liquid soaps, moisturizers, and shampoos. There are many other uses, however.
For instance, this is sometimes used as a food additive, quite often in sweets and confectionary products. You may also find this as an ingredient in food supplements and hydroalcoholic gels. Outside of the skincare and health industries, it is also used when making some printer ink, resins, and paint balls.
Cosmetic Properties of PEG
In the cosmetic industry, there are dozens of PEG polymers used. They have various properties and are quite often used as:
Antistatic Agents – because of their ability to reduce static electricity, they are often found in hair care products.
Emollient Agents – these are used on skin softening and smoothing products.
Emulsifying Agents – these allow immiscible liquids to present a stable appearance over time.
Humectants – usually used in skin hydration products.
Solvents – used to promote the dissolution or dilution of some poorly soluble substances.
Surfactants – these are used as a foaming or emulsifying agents in products.
Viscosity-control Agents – can be used to decrease or increase viscosity of skincare products.
Dangers of Using PEG Skincare Products
In terms of health risks, the jury is still out, but we have seen reports of allergic reactions as well as dermatitis in some users. Some also question what the long-term effects of using these products will be.
The proven argument against the use of PEGs is the environmental impact they can have. One of the raw materials used in the manufacturing process is ethylene oxide. This is not something that is generally present in the finished product, but there are concerns being raided about the residues that could possibly be left behind.
PEGs are also not currently treated by wastewater plants, and they are not biodegradable, so they will often end up in waterways after being washed off.
Any cosmetic company that is touting itself as “organic” cannot use PEGs in its ingredients list.
If you are looking for a safer and more environmentally friendly alternative to skincare with PEGs, consider MD formulated skincare such as Mao Radiance. To see our full line of products, click here.