What is Dipropylene Glycol?
Dipropylene glycol is a type of alcohol used in cosmetics and skin care products to improve the texture and stability of the formulation. It is mainly used as a solvent, viscosity reducing agent, masking agent and fragrance ingredient.
Dipropylene glycol belongs to the class of glycol compounds. In simple terms, “glycol” is a term used to describe any organic compound that belongs to the alcohol family. A glycol, which can also be called a diol, is made up of two hydroxyl groups attached to different carbon atoms. There are many different types of compounds that belong to this family such as butylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, ethylene glycol, and more. Dipropylene glycol is a colorless, almost odorless liquid with a high boiling point and low toxicity. In addition to its use in the cosmetics industry, dipropylene glycol has many uses as a plasticizer and intermediate in industrial chemical reactions.
the good:It is used to improve the texture and stability of a formulation.
not that good:You will find that many websites warn consumers to avoid dipropylene glycol, but they are safe. This misconception stems from its uses outside of the skin care industry.
For whom is that?All skin types except those identified as having an allergy.
Synergetic ingredients:Works well with most ingredients.
Keep an eye on:There is nothing to observe here.
Why is Dipropylene Glycol used?
In cosmetics and skin care products, dipropylene glycol functions as a solvent, viscosity reducing agent, masking agent, and fragrance ingredient.
As a solvent, dipropylene glycol helps dissolve or suspend other ingredients in a formulation without altering the other ingredients. Dipropylene glycol enables an even distribution of all ingredients in a cosmetic formulation and ensures an appropriate consistency of the product.
In addition, solvents such as dipropylene glycol are used to thin out formulations and reduce viscosity. The term viscosity corresponds to the concept of the thickness of a product. By reducing the viscosity of a formulation, the product becomes more spreadable when applied to the skin or hair. Solvents can also increase the effectiveness of active ingredients in a product formulation by improving their absorption through the skin.
Dipropylene glycol also works as a masking agent in cosmetics and personal care products. A masking agent is used to mask the natural odor of the active ingredients, especially those that have an unpleasant odor. Sometimes a masking agent can make a product smell so “clean” that consumers believe the product is fragrance-free.
Is Dipropylene Glycol Safe?
If you are looking for Dipropylene Glycol or any member of the glycol family you will find that many websites warn consumers to avoid them. These sources claim that the glycols are irritating and harmful to your skin. You might even find out that there are glycols in antifreeze. This is true, but the glycol used in antifreeze is different from dipropylene glycol. Glycols are a broad class of chemicals and are not made immediately. While some of the glycols in personal care products would definitely be undesirable, dipropylene glycol is considered safe and effective.
The safety of dipropylene glycol and other glycols has been checked by the Panel of Experts for the Review of Cosmetic Ingredients (CIR), a group responsible for evaluating the safety of skin care and cosmetic ingredients. Clinical tests have shown that the glycols cause mild to severe eye irritation. Other tests have evaluated numerous cosmetic products containing these glycols in concentrations up to 21.4% in various human skin irritation studies. These tests showed that the level of irritation produced depends on the product in question and that there was no correlation between the level of irritation and the concentration of the glycol present in the product. In addition, there were no reactions in any skin sensitization test that indicate skin sensitization to these glycols, and no evidence of phototoxicity or photosensitization. Therefore, the CIR Expert Panel concluded that dipropylene glycol and the other glycol components are safe for use in cosmetics and personal care products.
References:CIR, 1985. “8 Final Report on the Safety Assessment of Butylene Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Ethoxy Diglycol, and Dipropylene Glycol”, International Journal of Toxicology.