What are PEG compounds?PEG’s or polyethylene glycols are petroleum-based compounds used in cosmetics and personal care products to help keep ingredients stable and enhance the penetration of other active ingredients. PEGs are typically followed by a number indicating how many units of ethylene glycol they contain, for example PEG-4 or PEG-100; the lower the number, the more easily the compound is absorbed into skin.
What products are PEG compounds inPEG’s can be found in a variety of personal care products and cosmetics as cream bases. They are also used in the pharmaceutical industry as laxatives .
How to tell if a product has PEG compoundsPEG compounds may also appear on products labels simply as “PEG”, but they’re not one single ingredient. Rather PEG’s are a class of ethylene glycol polymers that are sometimes listed as ceteareth or polyethylene compounds .
Risks associated with PEG compoundsPEG’s are synthetic chemicals that may be contaminated by the presence of 1,4-dioxane, a chemical that the U.S. government has identified as a probable human carcinogen   . Exposure to PEG’s and trace amounts of 1,4-dioxne can lead to a number of health concerns including:
- Damage to the nasal cavity
- Liver damage
- Kidney damage
- Death