Polyethylene Glycol


Texture enhancer

Polyethylene Glycol description

Also listed as PEG on ingredient labels, it helps keep products stable and performs functions similar to those of glycerine. Because polyethylene glycol can penetrate skin, it is also a vehicle that helps deliver other ingredients deeper into skin. Polyethylene glycol as used in cosmetics is purified for safety.

Polyethylene Glycol references

  • Drug Delivery, October 2016, pages 3,101-3,110
  • 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

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