Propanediol For Skin

Propanediol (PDO) is an ingredient used in cosmetics and body care products like cleansers, creams, and other skincare products. This chemical is alike propylene glycol but considered to be safer.

Propanediol(PDO): Is It Safe?

There are not enough studies that have shown Propanediol(PDO) totally safe. But because of ongoing data, it can be said that recent PDO in cosmetics provides a low chance for severe problems.

PDO is currently allowed to be used in cosmetics, in the United States, Canada, and Europe in limited quantities. But this doesn’t mean it’s totally safe, we’ll examine the proof that will help you to make the right selection for you and your family.

Propanediol Structure and Extraction

PDO is a chemical element that is obtained from corn or petroleum. It’s odorless and colorless or slightly yellow water-miscible with a high boiling point(210 C). You’re likely to find PDO is mostly found as an ingredient in almost any kind of makeup and self-care products.

Why is it Used in Cosmetics

PDO is used in many households and manufacturing. It’s used in various products, from printer ink to cosmetics.

Cosmetic companies found it useful because it’s cheap and effective as a moisturizer. It helps other ingredients to penetrate easily in your selected product. It also helps other active ingredients to dilute.

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In Which Cosmetics PDO is Used

As stated by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), PDO is found mostly in facial masks, moisturizers, and serums. But it can also seem in other self-care products, like:

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How Can We Found It In Ingredient List

Propanediol can seem in different names. The mostly used names are:

  • 2-deoxyglycerol
  • 1,3-dihydroxypropane
  • Propane-1,3-diol
  • Methylpropanediol
  • Trimethylene glycol
  • 1,3-propanediol

Propanediol v/s Propylene Glycol

These two additives are very much alike and also have the same chemical equation, though, they have changed chemical compositions, which modifies the way they perform.

But this isn’t the only way they differ from each other, propanediol is acquired from corn, while propylene glycol is obtained from petrochemicals. Although propylene glycol is said to be safe in cosmetics and skincare, for those who don’t want petroleum-based products propanediol is usually used as an alternative to propylene glycol. That’s not enough study that exists yet to decide if it’s the safer selection, but according to the latest studies propanediol appears to be less inflaming and irritating to the skin (especially if it is textured skin) than propylene glycol.

Propanediol Effects on Skin

The purpose that you can see Propanediol as an ingredient in various products is because of its versatility. It originally functions as a solution, propanediol has intense receptive properties and various other advantages when used for skin care.

:small_blue_diamond: Solvent ingredients: propanediol is acknowledged as an extraordinary solvent for tough to dissolve ingredients, such as salicylic acid or ferulic acid.
:small_blue_diamond: Decreases thickness: A thickness reducer is helpful as an ingredient in cosmetics, like shampoo, conditioner, mascara, foundation, hair spray, body wash, moisturizer, and cleanser, because it permits the formulas to progress well and makes it easy to use on the hair and skin.
:small_blue_diamond: Improves to preserve moisture: It is used to preserve moisture in natural hair and skin conditioner, propanediol tugs moisture to the skin and supports water preservation.
:small_blue_diamond: Stops water loss: Through its emollient characteristics, propanediol relaxes and softens skin and makes skin radiant by lessening water loss.
:small_blue_diamond: For acne-prone skin: Foam cleansers use fewer surfactants (the cleansing chemicals that exclude oil and dirt from the skin), which makes them perfect for sensitive or acne-prone skin types. Propanediol can improve foaming in a product, prone to breakouts products might containing the ingredient for that reason.
:small_blue_diamond: Improves chemical efficacy: Propanediol can also perform as a preservative promoter in skincare products.
:small_blue_diamond: Gives a lightweight feel to the product: Not only does propanediol offer the purpose of a product but also its flexibility. The ingredient provides products a lightweight and non-sticky feel.

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Propanediol Side Effects

Usually, propanediol is harmless to use in skincare goods it is for those who do not have a sensitivity to it. When applying a new product, always test it on a small part of your skin patch test on a small area of the skin before using it on your body, to prevent yourself from the risk of allergies or side effects.

How To Use Propanediol

Because propanediol has many different uses and is included in a wide variety of formulas, how it should be applied largely depends on the specific product, so use as directed by your dermatologist. Propanediol is safe to incorporate into your skincare routine on a daily basis until your skin is sensitive to it.

Allergy and Reactions

PDO has seemed to cause skin inflammation, but not sensitivity, in some humans and animals. After using it if some people get irritation, it doesn’t mean that it causes reactions. Furthermore, PDO is less itchy than Propylene Glycol(PG), which is known as causing allergic reactions.

Propanediol Effects on the Nervous System

There is one filed case of PDO giving death to a person. But in this case, a woman purposely drunk a large amount of antifreeze that carries PDO.

No evidence shows that the small quantities of propanediol consumed through the skin with cosmetics would commence death.

Propanediol for Pregnant Women

There are no close studies that have shown the effects of PDOs on human pregnancy. But when high doses of PDO have given to lab animals, no birth deficiencies or terminations of pregnancy seemed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the most asked questions are listed below:

1. What does propylene glycol do to your lungs?

Inhaling propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine can cause lung inflammation. Researches have shown that having e-cigarettes along with e-liquid refills carries propylene glycol(PG) and vegetable glycerine(VG) can cause lung inflammation after some time.

2. What is Zemea propanediol?

Zemea ® propanediol is a varied, 100% plant-based moisturizer for cosmetic articulation. Its advantages include high pureness, lesser skin inflammation or sensitization, better moisturization, and great sensory properties.

3. What is propanediol hair products?

Propanediol is a plant-based, ECOCERT-approved moisturizer, solubilizer, and stickiness enhancing ingredient. As an essential option/alternative for propylene glycol, it enhances moisture restraining activity which gives in silky smooth hair as a result.


In light of the latest studies, using makeup or self-care products that carry low quantities of propanediol doesn’t give much of a risk. A small group of people may have inflammation skin after much exposure, but it doesn’t appear to be a hazard for anything more severe.

Furthermore, propanediol shows a guarantee as a healthier replacement to propylene glycol as a skincare agent.

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