A Complete Guide On Propanediol And Its Usage

Written by Arshiya Syeda

Propanediol is one ingredient all set to revolutionize the skincare industry. It is usually known as the natural replacement for propylene glycol. It has been included in many cleansers, toners, lotions, and serums for its safe and excellent properties that leave your skin glowing and radiating. Here, we try to clear any misconceptions you may have about this ingredient and will help you identify its many benefits. Keep reading.

Propanediol: What Is It And Is It Safe In Skin Care?

Propanediol is a colorless and thick glycol liquid extracted from corn syrup. It is widely incorporated as an ingredient in skin care products. It is most likely used in lotions, toners, cleansers, and other skin care products. Propanediol is proven to be a safer alternative to propylene glycol (another ingredient used in skin care).

Propylene glycol is controversial for its toxic chemical composition. Though rare, it may cause skin irritation and increase the risk of certain cancers (1). Propanediol shares the same chemical formula and effectiveness as propylene glycol, but is known to be a much safer alternative.

Propanediol works wonderfully on your skin when used in moderate amounts. It helps retain skin moisture and penetrates into the skin easily. It also softens skin.

Propanediol is recognized as a safe ingredient that can be applied to your skin. In fact, it is also safe for use in food products (2). In most cases, propanediol has not shown any signs of skin irritation, allergic reactions, or skin sensitivity. Moreover, it comes from a natural source of ingredients and is safer than propylene glycol.

In the following section, we will further explore the benefits of propanediol for the skin.

Benefits Of Propanediol For Skin Care

Propanediol is widely used in the skin care and cosmetic industry for its effectiveness and added benefits. Here is how it can benefit your skin.

1. Acts As A Great Emollient

Propanediol is known for its ability to soothe, soften, and enrich skin. This natural emollient works as a protective skin barrier and helps reduce water loss by increasing skin hydration levels. Hence, you will find propanediol in lotions and moisturizers for its smoothing and soothing properties.

2. May Work As An Excellent Solvent

Propanediol may help break down stubborn and hard ingredients like salicylic acid or ascorbic acid and promote better absorption. It is for this reason used in many cosmetic compositions (3).

3. May Have Anti-Aging Properties

With age, the natural humectants like amino acids, lactates, sugar, and salts that help maintain skin hydration levels lose their function. This can lead to signs of aging, including wrinkles and dry skin. Propanediol can be used as an antiaging agent as its hydrating properties can help increase skin hydration levels (4).

4. May Promote Product Absorption

Propanediol, in combination with chemical penetration enhancers, can help the necessary ingredients reach deep within the skin. Propanediol also acts as an excellent solvent and helps absorb important product ingredients to further enhance skin health.

5. Has Preservative Properties

Propanediol is a natural preservative. It helps combat issues like decomposition and chemical changes in a product. Hence, it is used in many skin care products to retain their freshness.

6. May Enhance Texture Of Skin Care Products

Propanediol may help enhance the texture and consistency of various skin care products. Due to its easily dissolvable, preservation-friendly, and soothing properties, it is added to various skin care products to increase their foamability and texture. This ingredient also reduces the stickiness, consistency, and viscosity of the product to enable it to be applied easily.

How Does It Appear On The Ingredients Lists?

Propanediol can be easily spotted at the back of lotion bottles, moisturizers, serums, cleansers, and toners. It can be found as any of the following terms:

  • 1,3-propanediol
  • trimethylene glycol
  • methyl propanediol
  • propane-1,3-diol
  • 1,3-dihydroxy propane
  • 2-deoxyglycerol

While propanediol has advantages in skin care, it may also have certain adverse effects.

Does It Have Any Side Effects?

Although propanediol is recognized as a safe ingredient for use on skin, it may not suit certain individuals or those allergic to the ingredient. This would usually manifest as skin irritation.

Low and moderate amounts of propanediol have not caused any harm to anyone. Talk to your dermatologist for the ideal dosage.

Who Should Use It?

Propanediol can be prescribed to people who fall under the below criteria:

  • Propanediol can do wonders for people with acne-prone skin. Its deep cleansing properties help clean out the excess oil and dirt on your face and keep pores from getting clogged.
  • People who are not sensitive to the composition should use propanediol-infused skincare products. Perform a patch test to know if you are sensitive to the ingredient.

How To Use It?

Propanediol is combined with different ingredients and skin formulas – and no one specific method or application is followed to use propanediol. The usage and application entirely depend on the product, as it is widely used in many skin care products like toners, cleansers, moisturizers, serums, etc. Hence, consult your dermatologist before using any such products.

How Often Can We Use It?

Propanediol can be a part of your every day skin routine. However, those with sensitive skin are suggested to speak to their dermatologist before using it.

Works Well With

Propanediol is used in a variety of skin care products. It is also used in combination with various other skin care ingredients. While there is no one specific combination that works exceptionally well, certain combinations seem to help heal and soothe the skin.

Propanediol is seen in combination with witch hazel, salicylic acid, AHAs, sodium hyaluronate, antioxidants, peptides, bioflavonoids, tea-tree oil, and ascorbic acid. These are seen in different toners, serums, lotions, moisturizers, and cleansers.

Hence, we can safely conclude that it works well with most ingredients.

In A Nutshell

Propanediol is a skin-friendly ingredient that promotes skin health and also makes products easier to use. Moreover, skin experts encourage replacing propylene glycol products with propanediol for safer and better results. Hence, look for products with propanediol and use them as required. Regular application can give you the skin quality you desire.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I choose an alternative ingredient?

Propylene glycol is a chemically derived ingredient. It is extracted from petroleum. This ingredient has a harmful chemical composition and may increase the risk of certain cancers. As it is a penetration-enhancing humectant, there is a high possibility that these chemicals would seep and permeate your skin. Hence, going for an alternative, like propanediol, is ideal.

What is the difference between propylene glycol and propanediol?

The only difference lies in their origins. Propylene glycol is chemically derived, while propanediol is naturally formed and safer than its counterpart.


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