Glycols in Cosmetics – What Actually Are They?

Glycols in Cosmetics – What Actually Are They?
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That’s the thing with the ingredients in cosmetics: the descriptions on the products usually tell us very little about what’s actually in them. There are countless different ingredients listed. Perhaps you’ve noticed the ingredient glycol or cosmetic glycol before. It is commonly found in cosmetic products and we use cosmetic glycol in our products, too. In this article, we take a closer look so you know what the deal is with this ingredient.

What are glycols?

Glycols are polyvalent alcohols, and although they are related to the alcohol that we drink, there is one fundamental difference: they differ in the number of hydroxyl groups. The alcohol we drink has one of these groups, whereas glycols have two – and this also gives them different properties. The name glycol comes from the sweet taste of the ingredient, the Greek word glykys meaning sweet. The polyvalent alcohol most commonly used in cosmetic products is propylene glycol. It is a colourless, slightly oily liquid that dissolves easily in water. But what function do glycols have in cosmetics?

What do glycols do?

The reason glycols are used so often is that they have a number of positive properties, which can be beneficial in the production of cosmetics. Glycols can inhibit microbial activity, making it possible for the most part to dispense with the use of other preservatives. It is therefore an ingredient that cosmetics producers like to use for preservation. Glycols are also hygroscopic, which means they attract and bind water. They are therefore used as a humectant in countless skin creams, toothpastes, mouthwashes and deodorants, for example. Thanks to glycols, cosmetic products applied to the skin also have the advantage that they can retain the skin’s moisture. Glycols are therefore considered to be nourishing for the skin, because they are able to hydrate the skin and leave it feeling silky smooth. What’s more, glycols are also used to increase or reduce a product’s viscosity, i.e. how thick it is. Besides cosmetic products, glycols can also be found in foods because they are permitted as a food additive. They are also used in heat transfer medium, as well as in medicines as a vehicle for active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Here at pjur, we too have made use in our products of the properties that make cosmetic glycols so beneficial.

Why do pjur products contain glycols?

Why do pjur products contain cosmetic glycol?

You will find glycols in many of our products, including our pjur SPA massage lotions. More specifically, this ingredient appears in the pjur SPA ScenTouch series as “dipropylene glycol”. Dipropylene glycol gives the massage lotions a pleasant feel and moisturises the skin. Thanks to the properties of cosmetic glycol that are outlined above, our pjur SPA massage lotions have exceptional moisture-retaining properties, hydrate the skin and leave it feeling silky smooth. You will also find glycols such as propylene glycol in our personal lubricants. We make use of the outstanding lubricating properties of cosmetic glycols both in our personal lubricants and in our pjur SPA massage lotions.

Usually, complicated terminology is not nearly as complex as it sounds. And now you know for certain what glycols are and what role they play in our products – and in countless others, too!

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