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What is "Propanediol" and what is its utility?

What is "Propanediol" and what is its utility?

Present in various cosmetic formulas, propanediol is a natural humectant. It is a common ingredient in skincare products such as cleansers, lotions, and other skin treatments. Derived from fermented corn starch, propanediol serves as an alternative to harmful synthetic glycols. Here's what you need to know about this ingredient.

Everything you need to know about Propanediol

Propanediol (PDO) is a clear, odorless, and viscous liquid substance. It is favored by natural skincare manufacturers because it does not irritate the skin and poses no harm to the environment. Its production begins with corn. Once dried, the kernels are soaked in mild acid and hot water, which releases the starch. The sugar derived from this starch serves as the raw material for propanediol. The introduction of a microorganism into the glucose allows for fermentation. Once the fermentation process is completed, the propanediol is purified and refined.

Furthermore, the petrochemical substance of propylene oxide also allows for the production of propanediol. Although it shares the same chemical formula as propylene glycol, its chemical structure is different. In addition, propylene glycol is derived from petrochemical substances, while propanediol is derived from corn.

In addition to being ecologically sustainable, it possesses sensory characteristics. It can be manufactured synthetically or from the fermentation of corn sugar.

Propanediol exists in two distinct forms:

  • 1,3-propanediol;

  • 1,2-propanediol.

Propanediol may be listed under different names:

  • Propane-1,3-diol;

  • 1,3-propanediol;

  • 2-deoxyglycerol;

  • Trimethylene Glycol;

  • Methylpropanediol;

  • 1,3-dihydroxypropane.

Propanediol: What is its purpose?

Propanediol is used as:

  • Emollient: in addition to softening the skin, it enhances its flexibility;

  • Solvent: it aids in the dissolution of certain ingredients such as allantoin, salicylic acid, ferulic acid, and ascorbic acid;

  • Humectant: it allows for skin hydration. Since it does not stimulate sebum production, it is suitable for oily skin.

  • It decreases or increases the precision of skincare;

  • It dissolves other substances.

It can replace propylene glycol and glycerin. Propanediol is present in:

  • Facial hydrating serums;

  • Facial masks;

  • Eye contour care.

Propanediol is brimming with benefits. In addition to being used as a fragrance, preservative, and solvent, it has soothing and moisturizing properties for the skin. Furthermore, it aids the skin in quickly absorbing other ingredients.

Beyond skincare, propanediol is also used in certain types of pastries.

The use of propanediol in limited quantities in skincare is approved in Canada, Europe, and the United States.

Propanediol: What are the Risks?

Propanediol is found in many organic and natural skincare products. Generally, it poses no danger to the skin as it is unlikely to cause allergic reactions. However, before purchasing a skincare product, ensure that the propanediol is derived from natural ingredients.

In conclusion, propanediol is an ingredient found in most skincare products. It is less harmful compared to propylene glycol. In addition to being cost-effective, it is packed with benefits.


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