Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Um, What?! Wednesday: PPG Stearyl Ether

Polypropylene glycol stearyl ether is mainly found in 'moisturizing' personal care products. It is written as PPG-11 or PPG-15 stearyl ether in the ingredients lists. This ingredient is made by the reaction between propylene oxide and stearyl alcohol. Stearyl alcohols come from animal fats and oils (vegans beware!). The 11 or 15 designation is based on the 'units' of propylene glycol produced in the reaction.

PPG-11/15 stearyl ethers are known lubricants meant to give the skin a moisturized look and feel. They are also classified as skin conditioning agents and emollients. The chemicals have been deemed safe at the concentrations typical of most cosmetic applications they are found in. Even concentrated, these chemicals did not irritate the eyes. A related chemical, PPG butyl ether was found to be slightly irritating to the eyes and skin. It is absorbed very slowly-if at all- into the digestive tract where it is easily metabolized and eliminated as waste in the urine.

As time progresses and my knowledge increases, I'm becoming more compelled to make the switch to all natural personal care products. I currently use over the counter products, all of which contain the ingredients I've reviewed thus far. I have not experienced any known irritation to the products I use daily and I am satisfied (most of the time) with the results--- I have very tempermental skin! I just can't help but wonder what long term effects my drug of choice may be having on my well-being. Think about it for yourself.


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