PEG-40 Stearate


Cleansing Agent

No known benefits

PEG-40 Stearate at a glance

  • Typically functions as a cleansing agent in skin care formulas
  • Can also be used as a thickener/texture enhancer or to help keep ingredients soluble
  • Known to enhance the penetration of other key ingredients
  • Long history of safe cosmetic use

PEG-40 Stearate description

PEG-40 stearate typically functions as a cleansing agent in skin care formulas, but it can also be used as a thickener/texture enhancer or to help keep ingredients soluble. You can find this ingredient in all kinds of skin care products including cleansers, creams, exfoliants, and serums. Researchers have also successfully experimented with using PEG-40 stearate to increase the topical penetration of key ingredients in medicinal settings. “PEG” is short for polyethylene glycol, which is currently used in many liquid pharmaceuticals. PEG-40 stearate has a long history of cosmetic use and has passed safety assessments conducted by groups such as the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) over the years. In 2005, the CIR Expert Panel reaffirmed PEG-40 stearate’s safety (their report looked at products containing 0.07-7% of this ingredient). Higher amounts of this stearate have humectant (moisture-binding) properties.

PEG-40 Stearate references

  • Food Biophysics, July 2020, pages 40–47
  • International Journal of Toxicology, 2005, pages 1–102
  • Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology: An International Journal of Pharmaceutical Science, July 2003, pages 911-919
  • Journal of the American Journal of Toxicology, November 1983, pages 17–33

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.


We couldn't find this in our ingredient dictionary. We log all missing ingredients and make continuous updates.

Not Rated