Continuing our look at various chemicals in skin care products in our Healthy Skin Care Series, beYOUmag.com looks this week at propylene glycol and its impact in your skin care products and some healthy alternatives.
What is propylene glycol? Propylene glycol is in the alcohol family and is a clear, viscous type compound used primarily in skin care products as a moisturizer, emulsifier, lubricant (as in personal care), and is one of the main ingredient in deodorants. If sodium lauryl sulfates (SLS) puts the “l” in lather, then propylene glycol puts the “s” in slick, hence its use to help products “glide” on.
Why avoid propylene glycol? The reason to avoid propylene glycol is still under debate. After ridding my medicine cabinet, shower caddy and makeup bag of all the chemicals I’ve been writing about, I tried to get rid of everything. But propylene glycol is still seen as a safe chemical additive, especially in deodorants. Tom’s of Maine, a highly respected natural care personal products company stands by its use of propylene glycol and backs up why it’s o.k. with: “…the US Food and Drug Administration’s list of ingredients which are Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS)…” My issue with the FDA, is the “generally safe category…” The why not for me is that it is known as a general skin irritant and where propylene glycol is used is primarily in the most sensitive and absorbent parts of your body: the underarms, vulva, groin, etc. According to toxicology reports through a division of NIH, it’s still classified as an irritant.
Propylene Glycol free Alternatives: Since deodorant is one of the most common products using propylene glycol and one of the hardest to find not containing the substance and that work, I’ll start the alternatives list there:
Real Purity and Nature’s Gate have the best natural deodorant’s on the market. Real Purity is my everyday brand and I’ve still kept all my friends while teaching yoga full time.
Since propylene glycol is also found in lotions, especially lotions that tout skin firming abilities and moisturizers, most drug store brands contain them, so really read your labels. Some healthy alternatives on that front are heavenly lotions and creams by Neal’s Yard. Neal’s Yard is an amazing line from the U.K. using the finest botanicals and organics only.
Propylene glycol while not as omnipresent in shampoos, does find it’s way into hair conditioners. In a sure way to avoid it in any of your hair care products, check out John Masters line. He also sells organic pet shampoo for your beloved dog. Now that’s keeping an organic household!
Finally for an all-purpose, economical and family friendly line of natural, organic products without all that we’ve been talking about thus far in this series â€” parabens, SLS’, and propylene glyclol â€” try Avalon Organics.
Next week we will explore petroleums and petroleum based products and their effect on you and their impact in your products. Stay tuned.