Understanding PEGs (Polyethylene Glycols)
Polyethylene Glycols, more commonly known as PEGs, are a class of polymers that are used extensively across a range of commercial products. They can be found in various forms, with the number following the PEG acronym indicating its molecular weight and, subsequently, its physical properties.
Why are PEGs Used in Commercial Products?
PEGs are used in a vast array of products due to their versatility and valuable properties. Their primary function in cosmetics and personal care products is as emollients, which help to soften and moisturize the skin, and emulsifiers, which assist in mixing water with oils. They're also used as a solvent, humectant, and delivery agent in various products, enhancing their effectiveness and usability.
Health Concerns and PEGs
Despite their widespread use, PEGs have become a topic of debate regarding health concerns. Due to their nature, PEGs can have impurities like ethylene oxide (a known human carcinogen) and 1,4-dioxane (a possible human carcinogen), which are byproducts of their manufacturing process.
Additionally, PEGs can enhance the skin's permeability, allowing other potentially harmful ingredients in products to penetrate deeper into the skin. The main concerns surrounding PEGs revolve around their impurities and their potential for skin irritation, especially on damaged skin.
Common Products Containing PEGs
PEGs are common in a broad spectrum of products, including skin creams, personal cleansers, makeup, and hair care products. Moreover, they can be found in household cleaning products and even in some foods and drinks as additives.
As consumers and DIY enthusiasts, it's vital to be aware of the ingredients in the products we use daily. Understanding the role of PEGs and their potential health implications allows for more informed decisions regarding product choices and creations. As always, it's recommended to thoroughly research any ingredients used in DIY projects, especially those used in personal care items like perfumes and colognes.