18 Most Harmful Cosmetic Ingredients: Lets Talk About Polyethylene Glycol

chemical-free skin cream 


I want to give information to protect yourself and your family from everyday exposure to harmful chemicals.  I need you to understand that if any of the ingredients I discuss with you have a low score of being an overall health hazard, it is still enough to know you do not want it in or on your body.  Many of these ingredients are only tested for a short time and not by testing it regularly and for many years.  Toxic absorption builds up over time and so does its ability to harm our body.   So adding a little on your skin today adds up over a week, a month, a year and longer.

Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) is a polymer of ethylene oxide, another petroleum based glycol that is damaging to the skin and entire body.

PEG stands for polyethylene glycol, used in cosmetics as a skin conditioner and emulsifier. It usually is followed by a number (e.g. PEG-100). The number represents the approximate molecular weight of that compound. Typically, cosmetics use PEGs with smaller molecular weights. The lower the molecular weight, the easier it is for the compound to penetrate the skin. 

According to the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) committee, PEGs are often contaminated with pollutants including ethylene oxide, dioxane, polycyclic aromatic compounds and heavy metals including arsenic, cadmium, lead, nickel, cobalt and iron.  This not only damages skin, it counteracts the skins defense mechanisms against antimicrobials.  By increasing skin permeability and allowing pollutants to enter the body through the skin’s surface, we are susceptible to a variety of issues that arise from chemical contamination. 

On the skin itself, PEGs can cause an opposite response to the goal of most skincare products.  It can create skin rashes and contact dermatitis, and can rob the skin of its natural moisture. 

Not all PEGs will have 1,4 dioxane, but, according to a report in the International Journal of Toxicology by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) committee, impurities found in various PEG compounds include ethylene oxide, 1,4-dioxane, polycyclic aromatic compounds and heavy metals such as lead, iron, cobalt, nickel, cadmium and arsenic. PEGs are hard to avoid and they turn up in very many skincare problems. 

Health Concerns of the Ingredient Overall Hazard is low to moderate.  Other high concerns: contamination concerns, other moderate concerns: organ system toxicity (non reproductive).

Please check all your skincare products at home to see if they contain these ingredients.  Be wise, be safe.