Ingredient: Butylene Glycol

INCI: Butylene Glycol

Source: Petroleum

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What is Butylene Glycol?

Butylene glycol is used as a solvent, product-thinning agent and skin conditioner. It is found in about 10% off all over-the-counter beauty products including creams, lotions, sunscreens, moisturizers and cosmetics. There are four types of butylene glycol:

1, 2 – butanediol — used to improve the skin penetration of products.

1, 3 – butanediol — used to condition and moisturize the skin, and reduce viscosity of the products. It stops cosmetics from drying out and stabilizes the formulas.

1, 4 – butanediol — known to be less irritating than the other types of butylene glycol, making it suitable for use in eye cosmetics.

2, 3 – butanediol — a natural compound rarely used in cosmetics; present in sweet corn, mussels and cocoa butter.

Benefits of Butylene Glycol:

Butylene glycol is added to skincare products to increase their penetrability and boost the delivery of active compounds into the skin. As a humectant, butylene glycol draws moisture to the skin from the dermis and surrounding environment, providing the needed hydration to skin cells and potentially reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

The compound also acts as a viscosity controlling agent by thinning creams and lotions to create a greasy and oily feel. This increases the products’ spreadability and reduces the time and effort needed during application. Butylene glycol can also act as a solvent for other water soluble ingredients to mix and form a homogenous cream.

Side Effects & Toxicity:

Both the Cosmetic Ingredient Review and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had evaluated butylene glycol and determined that it is safe as used in cosmetics products.

Editor’s Note:

Butylene glycol or 1, 3 – butanediol is non-toxic and dissolves most essential oils and synthetic flavoring substances. The FDA has approved its use as a synthetic flavoring and adjuvant for direct addition to food.