Propylene glycol is an aliphatic alcohol that functions as a skin conditioning agent, viscosity decreasing agent, solvent, and fragrance ingredient in cosmetics. Tripropylene glycol functions as a humectant, antioxidant, and emulsion stabilizer. Polypropylene glycols (PPGs), including PPG-3, PPG-7, PPG-9, PPG-12, PPG-13, PPG-15, PPG-16, PPG-17, PPG-20, PPG-26, PPG-30, PPG-33, PPG-34, PPG-51, PPG-52, and PPG-69, function primarily as skin conditioning agents, with some solvent use. The majority of the safety and toxicity information presented is for propylene glycol (PG). Propylene glycol is generally nontoxic and is noncarcinogenic. Clinical studies demonstrated an absence of dermal sensitization at use concentrations, although concerns about irritation remained. The CIR Expert Panel determined that the available information support the safety of tripropylene glycol as well as all the PPGs. The Expert Panel concluded that PG, tripropylene glycol, and PPGs ≥3 are safe as used in cosmetic formulations when formulated to be nonirritating.
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