Ethylhexylglycerin is an alkyl glyceryl ether derived from vegetable glycerin which has the structure of an ethylhexyl group bound to glycerin at one end by an ether linkage. Ethylhexylglycerin was first introduced to the cosmetic market in 1992 as a skin care additive and deodorant active called Sensiva SC50. Ethylhexylglycerin is used in bath products, body and hand products, cleansing products, deodorants, eye makeup, foundations, hair care products and suntan products.

Functions in cosmetics

As a preservative, ethylhexylglycerin works by reducing interfacial tension on the cellular walls of microorganisms, promoting rapid destruction. This ingredient is often used as an alternative to parabens. Additionally, ethylhexylglycerin enhances the function of other preservatives in a formulation, such as phenoxyethanol, methylisothiazolinone or methylparaben. Without a preservative like ethylhexylglycerin, the natural compounds, essential oils and ingredients in your beauty products would spoil more quickly.

Ethylhexylglycerin also functions as a surfactant with an HLB value of 7.5 (an HLB of less than 10 means that the substance is soluble in oil). Surfactants attract the oil, dirt and other impurities that have accumulated on your skin during the day and wash them away. Due to these properties, ethylhexylglycerin can be found in many different cleansers and body washes.

Ethylhexylglycerin is used in many deodorant products due to its deodorizing properties. It inhibits the growth and multiplication of odor-causing bacteria but do not affect the beneficial skin flora.

The skin-conditioning effects of ethylhexylglycerin are due to the glycerol component. Glycerol is a natural alcohol and humectant which can pull water from the environment and prevent transepidermal water loss (TEWL), helps skin cells mature properly and softens the skin. Ethylhexylglycerin improves the feel of cosmetic formulations, reduces tackiness and greasiness as well as increases speed of penetration.

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