Internet Scare Stories: Anti-freeze in skincare? Is this something you need to worry about?Propylene Glycol investigated.
I was sent a tweet asking me about propylene glycol in cosmetics. The question specifically was whether there are any skincare products on the market which don’t contain propylene glycol.
Reading between the lines on this I imagine that the questioner has read the scare stories that abound on the internet. These usually relate to the fact that propylene glycol can be found in anti-freeze products such as airplane de-icers. While this may sound alarming, it is like saying that there is also water in both anti freeze and cleanser thereby concluding that water in skincare products must be bad for you! Remember, anyone can post anything on the net, when you come across something like this, always consider the source. Peer-reviewed scientific studies are the only reliable source of information on topics such as these.
If you are not familiar with propylene glycol, it is a clear, odourless liquid which is often used in cosmetic formulations, foodstuffs, fragrances and, yes, anti-freeze. (Of course the concentrations vary widely between applications).
It functions as a solvent for other ingredients, an emollient to add ‘slip’ and helps other ingredients penetrate the skin barrier. It also acts as a humectant, absorbing water from the air. It has been approved as safe to use by all the relevant government bodies here and in the US. (See links below ). A quick check on wiki will give you links to other reliable sources, all agreeing that PG is non-irritant to skin even in higher concentrations than are commonly used in cosmetic preparations. It usually appears in concentrations of less than 5% in skincare.
So, are there any skincare products on the market which don’t contain PG? There are, if that is what is important to you just check the label; it is required by law to list all ingredients. Sorry, I don’t know specifically which ranges, I don’t carry that much info around in my head!
My Skin Essentials by Mariga range doesn’t contain propylene glycol.
I hope this answers your question, please keep sending them in, I love to hear from skincare fans.
What other internet scares have you worried? Discuss in a comment!