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Propylene Glycol and Polyethylene Glycol – Ingredients Well Worth Avoiding

woman holding bottle in front of a shelf of various bottles of liquid

There are many nasty ingredients out there, but in this post I want to touch on two that I find particularly bad: Propylene Glycol and Polyethylene Glycol. Otherwise known as PEG and PG, these ingredients are found in your car, in your food, in your pharmaceuticals, and (you guessed it) in your personal care products. All this exposure is bad news if you value your health. Here’s why:

Polyethylene Glycol – The Person You Don’t Want at a Party

Have you ever invited someone to a get-together, only to have that person invite a dozen of their friends? Before you know it, your food is gone, your house is ruined, and your neighbors aren’t speaking to you. Polyethylene glycol is that person.

The thing that PEG is best at is enhancing penetration. It helps other ingredients get deep down into your skin. When PEG joins a party it brings all its friends with it, really ramping up the impact that other undesirable compounds have on your skin. Not only that, but PEG is often contaminated with some really nasty things. According to a report in the International Journal of Toxicology, PEG has been found to be contaminated with heavy metals (including lead) and ethylene oxide (an ingredient used to make mustard gas). I don’t know about you, but that sounds like the kind of party I’d rather avoid.

When PEG penetrates your body, it also disrupts your skin’s ability to retain moisture. As a result, you’ll end up with dryer, itchier, and more irritated skin, which will probably leave you reaching for the same product that contained PEG in the first place. It’s a vicious cycle, and one that’s hard to break without making a dramatic change in your skincare mindset.

Propylene Glycol – It’s Everywhere

Here’s a fun game: try to find something that doesn’t contain Propylene Glycol. Intravenous drugs? Check. Antifreeze? Check. Cake mix? Check. Conventional personal care products? Big check on that one. PG is everywhere, and that’s scary.

It’s natural that an ingredient used in both brake fluid, flavored iced tea, and deodorant would raise some suspicion. There’s been quite a bit of research into PG, and the results are not comforting. Even at relatively low concentrations, exposure to PG has been proven to cause irritation and allergic reaction. One report even shows that exposure to PG can cause skin, liver, and kidney damage.

Finally, just like PEG, PG increases penetration. That means the other ingredients in your lotions, shampoos, conditioners, and sunblocks can make it into your system that much more easily. Over time this exposure can really add up, especially when you consider just how often the average person encounters PG. The safest bet is to avoid it as much as possible, which is why I never use it in my formulations.

Your Skin Deserves Better

There’s no need to keep exposing yourself to PEG and PG, especially when there are plenty of alternatives out there. Choose Propylene Glycol and Polyethylene Glycol-free products and enjoy healthier (and happier) skin.

What are your experiences with Propylene Glycol and Polyethylene Glycol? Let us know about them in the comments below. 

 

73 thoughts on “Propylene Glycol and Polyethylene Glycol – Ingredients Well Worth Avoiding

  1. I was diagnosed as being allergic to PG and PEG in 1998, 12 months after moving from the UK to the USA. I had experienced digestive problems and erosion of the mouth for 5/6 years before my move to the US, but it was put down to irritable bowel syndrome and acid reflux. Within weeks of arriving in the USA it got significantly worse and my whole mouth and oesophagus became raw. After multiple tests at the local hospital in Minneapolis I was referred to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, where I spent a week undergoing tests. A dermatologist ordered a series of patch tests which identified my allergies. Interestingly I discovered the FDA allows significantly more PG/PEG in foods and Pharma products than Europe. (Hence, the significant effect on moving) Knowing what I am allergic to allows me to avoid foods containing my poison for the most part. Thank goodness my wife is a great cook!

  2. I work in community health & just ordered some high quality ‘masks’ as I work in close contact with my patients & covid cases are high in the community here again ~ they arrived last night ~ & an almost immediate allergic reaction to the product has sent me on a mission to try to understand what happened… many calls later & some web searching led me here as one of the product ‘materials’ is propylene ~ ugh! I still feel nauseous & disoriented and it’s now the following day…

  3. I recently became very ill. I had been under an extreme amount of stress and I had tried otc medicine to help with my sanity. Nothing was truly helping until I tried vaping Sativa. After about 3 months of doing so I became very sick. Was constantly nauseous couldn’t eat. I couldn’t figure out what was doing it and was starting to vape more. I ended up going to a GI doctor and he did an exploratory surgery on me and couldn’t see anything significant but I had told him about my vaping and he suggested I stopped. After about a month I did start to feel better. A year later I was allergy tested by my dermatologist and she found I was allergic to propylene glycol which is found in vape juice! It was the PG that was getting me sick the whole time!! She has since gave me an extensive list of products that I can use!

    1. That’s an amazing story and I’m glad you found the cause of the problem. Thank you for sharing it with us.
      Christina

  4. My husband has multiple chemical sensitivities and has to eat a really pure diet. No commercial Foods at all. I make everything from scratch which is very time consuming but well worth his health and vitality. Only organic Foods, only filtered water.., only grass-fed organic beef and eggs, only organic red rice and organic steel cut oatmeal Etc. Doing all your own cooking from scratch is the only way you can be sure you are getting Pure Food without chemicals. Blessings

  5. My husband can’t eat so many foods. They all contain PG. Before it was uncontrollable itching on his skin. Now, he gets sores, blisters in his his mouth. He hardly eats. Any help, suggestions would be appreciated.

    1. My husband has multiple chemical sensitivities and has to eat a really pure diet. No commercial Foods at all. I make everything from scratch which is very time consuming but well worth his health and vitality. Only organic Foods, only filtered water.., only grass-fed organic beef and eggs, only organic red rice and organic steel cut oatmeal Etc. Doing all your own cooking from scratch is the only way you can be sure you are getting Pure Food without chemicals. Blessings

  6. I have just found out that I am allergic to both PEG and PG I have known for some time that I am allergic to fillers and coating on some medication and 3 weeks ago I had the Pfizer booster which made me so ill with a reaction to my central nervous system ended up in Hospital with an AF attack. The good thing about it is at least I know the names of the substances I am allergic too and avoid them like the plague

    1. The same thing happened to me! I had no idea I was allergic to PEG and that it was in the Pfizer covid shot- I misunderstood past allergic reactions and attributed them to other allergens when it’s been PEG all along!

      1. And, thank you for sharing… I also had a crazy reaction to the covid Pfizer vaccine ~ when I pressed them they said that PEG can cause allergy for a small number of people… for me it caused a neurological & systemic reaction that lasted almost 8 weeks… your post, like the one above, helps me narrow down that this really was most likely the cause. It’s been hard to get any really clear information on it. Thank you.

    2. I’m SO sorry you went through this! And, thank you for sharing… so scary ~ I also had a crazy reaction to the covid Pfizer vaccine ~ when I pressed them they said that PEG can cause allergy for a small number of people… for me it caused a neurological & systemic reaction that lasted almost 8 weeks… your post helps me narrow down that this really was most likely the cause. Thank you.

  7. I realized I am highly sensitive to PEG and PG and Polysorbate (and Heaven knows what else) a few months ago and eliminated all medications that have it as an ingredient.. not easy. I am so much better…I had much trouble walking without horrible muscle issues–cramping and pain– for thirty years since a statin I took for three years with PEG in it. It’s a long story but I am freer of it than ever but still trying to eliminate all of it. Four days after eliminating these as much as possible, I was able to walk the length of my home easily and now, 6 weeks later I can walk two hundred feet without much pain. I am looking for resources to educate myself more about additives.

  8. what an eye opener. A dental product Emdogain is 6 to 8% propylene Glycol. No one it caused me so much allergy grief.

  9. Wow, Thank You everyone for sharing your personal stories snd information. All of this is and has been frustrating. Talking to eachother helps! We are not alone. Prayers for your conditions and healings, in Jesus name.

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