PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate


Cleansing Agent

PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate at a glance

  • An ester of the fatty acid isostearic acid combined with polyethylene glycol and glycerin
  • May be animal-derived or synthetic
  • Commonly used as an emulsifier and mild cleansing agent
  • Noted for offering skin-softening properties

PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate description

PEG-20 glyceryl triisostearate is an ester of the fatty acid isostearic acid combined with polyethylene glycol and glycerine. It may be animal-derived or synthetic (Paula's Choice uses the latter). Its high molecular weight keeps it from penetrating past skin's surface. It has emollient and skin-softening properties as well as being an emulsifier and mild cleansing agent, where it's often seen in oil-based formulas due to its ability to help oily ingredients rinse from skin without leaving a greasy residue. This ingredient has undergone extensive toxicology review and is considered non-irritating and safe as used in rinse-off or leave-on cosmetics.

PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate references

  • Toxicological Research, June 2015, pages 105-136

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not rated

We have not yet rated this ingredient because we have not had a chance to review the research on it.