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Propylene glycol

Propylene glycol (Propane-1,2-diol) is a viscous, colorless liquid that is nearly odorless but has a faintly sweet taste. Its chemical formula is CH3CH(OH)CH2OH. Classified as a diol due to its two alcohol groups, it is miscible with a wide range of solvents, including water, acetone, and chloroform. Generally, glycols are non-irritating and exhibit very low volatility. Produced on a large scale primarily for polymer production, it has the E-number E1520 for food applications in the European Union. For cosmetics and pharmacology, it is E490. Propylene glycol is also found in propylene glycol alginate, known as E405. Recognized as GRAS (generally recognized as safe) by the US FDA under 21 CFR x184.1666, it is approved for certain uses as an indirect food additive. In the US and Europe, propylene glycol is approved and used as a vehicle for topical, oral, and some intravenous pharmaceutical preparations.

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Effects in Cosmetics

Propylene glycol has multiple effects and applications, including:

Acting as a solvent to ensure even distribution of other ingredients in cosmetic products.
Serving as a humectant in skincare products to attract moisture and maintain skin hydration.
Used as a skin-conditioning agent in some cosmetic formulations to improve skin texture and appearance.

The use in food

Used as a humectant and solvent in food processing to help maintain moisture and extend shelf life.
Functions as a pH control agent in food and beverages to maintain the product's acid-base balance.
Serves as an anti-freeze agent in cold drinks and ice cream to prevent crystal formation, maintaining texture and taste.


Industrially produced from propylene oxide, using either a non-catalytic high-temperature process or a catalytic method.
Can also be obtained from glycerol, a byproduct of biodiesel production, usually reserved for industrial use due to the final product's noticeable odor and taste.
In the laboratory, (S)-Propanediol can be synthesized through fermentation methods.

Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals 

Considered safe for humans at normal consumption levels, with no measurable effect on development and/or reproduction in animals, and likely does not adversely affect human development or reproduction.
Skin and eye contact is generally non-irritating, but see below for detailed information on allergic reactions.

The Propylene glycol component of our company's products complies with the safety content standards of the European Union and Taiwan.


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