PEG-8 at a glance

  • Increases hydration by binding moisture to skin
  • Also works as a solvent to improve product texture and ingredient penetration
  • Proven track record as a safe skin care ingredient
  • Described as a viscous, water-soluble liquid in raw material form

PEG-8 description

PEG-8 is a synthetic polymer that works to bind moisture to skin, increasing hydration. It can also be used as a solvent for other cosmetic ingredients, helping them penetrate more efficiently and enhancing the overall texture of the formula. PEG stands for polyethylene glycol. With any PEG ingredient followed by a number, the lower the number, the lower molecular weight of the ingredient. Thus, PEG-8 will feel lighter on skin than PEG-75. As a raw material, it is described as a viscous liquid that is soluble in water. PEG-8 can be combined with other ingredients to create a derivative such as PEG-8 distearate, PEG-8 dimethicone, or PEG-8 sorbitan beeswax. Each offers unique functions and properties. PEG-8 has been deemed a safe cosmetic ingredient in numerous safety assessments. The latest report by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel looked at concentrations between 0.0002-85%.

PEG-8 references

  • The Cosmetic Ingredient Review, June 2010, pages 1-249
  • Protein Drugs: Basic Science and Clinical Applications. Milestones in Drug Therapy, 2009, pages 127–146
  • International Journal of Toxicology, 2006, pages 121–138
  • Toxicology, October 2005, pages 1–38

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