By now most people know to avoid Propylene Glycol when purchasing skin and hair care products, but more and more we are seeing this ingredient in processed foods, energy drinks, and supplements! This post is a reminder to read all labels carefully and look for this ingredient in all products for internal and external use.
Where does propylene glycol come from?
It is a Dow Chemical Company product and is a byproduct of mineral oils, like petroleum, in gasoline production. Although it can be derived from vegetable oil sources too, they undergo chemical processes which produce an end product that doesn’t qualify as natural or health supportive.
Why is it used in cosmetics?
It works to retain the moisture content of skin, hair, or cosmetic products, by preventing the escape of moisture or water. But propylene glycol isn’t the only compound that will achieve this. There are natural and beneficial alternatives that can do the same, like honey for instance.
Is propylene glycol safe?
The Material Safety Data Sheet warns users to avoid skin contact with propylene glycol as this strong skin irritant can cause liver abnormalities and kidney damage. There is also a list of warnings on the front of the bottle on the featured image.
Here are places you will find propylene glycol being used.
This list complied via Wikipedia, as well as the front of the bottle in the featured image.
- An ingredient in the oil dispersant that was used in great quantities during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
- A solvent in many pharmaceuticals
- Used to produce polyester compounds
- Used to make artificial smoke for use in firefighters’ training and theatrical productions
- Used in electronic cigarettes, as a vaporizable base for diluting the nicotine liquid
- An ingredient, along with wax and gelatin, in the production of paintballs
- Found in automatic brake and hydraulic fluid, as well as antifreeze in the automobile industries
- Antifreeze for winterizing drinking water systems and solar water heating systems, and a coolant for cooling systems
- As a solvent used in mixing photographic chemicals, such as film developers
- A working fluid in hydraulic presses
Sadly, it is the main ingredient in most deodorant sticks.
When should you use propylene glycol?
There is a place for propylene glycol in your car (anti-freeze), fire emergencies (fire extinguisher), and if it lands on your skin during the occasional paintball game, no big deal. But look to see if it is in what you are using on your skin on a daily basis. Please do not ingest this ingredient either, it has no business being in your food, drink, or supplement!
Remember to always read the labels and choose ingredients that will be heath supportive and anti-aging, not the opposite.
Photo credit: amazon.com where you can purchase (not sure why you would want to), and see image resolution more clearly