Ethylene Glycol Stearate

Veterinarian Reviewed on June 19, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized

Ethylene Glycol Stearate


Ethylene Glycol Stearate or simply Glycol Stearate is an ingredient in cosmetic products. Along with its other counterparts, Glycol Stearate SE and Glycol Distearate, it is naturally colored white to cream waxy solid. These are mixtures of mono- and diesters of the compound ethylene glycol and stearic acid. All have the ability to stabilize emulsions, have emollient properties and are considered surfactants making them ideal ingredients in most skin care products and hair care preparations.

History and Origin

Ethylene Glycol Stearate with its counterparts is organic compounds which is an ester of stearic acid and ethylene glycol. Because of its effectiveness in combining with other chemicals and its stability, it is used in many personal care products. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel or CIR has reviewed the safety of Ethylene Glycol Stearate in cosmetics, skin care and hair care products and it has been found safe to use. There have been recent studies to reaffirm this statement as well.

Ancient Uses

The use of Ethylene Glycol Stearate during ancient times was unheard of. The most common materials used for personal care and hygiene were a combination of essential oils, plant oils and extracts from herbs and fruits.

Modern Uses

The discovery of Ethylene Glycol Stearate, Glycol Stearate SE and Glycol Distearate has led to the production of many personal care products. It stabilizes emulsions making it a main ingredient in moisturizing creams, lotions and emollients. These skin care products help protect the skin from dryness and revive skin’s natural glow and health. Skin care products with Ethylene Glycol Stearate are also great to use in persons who suffer from skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

Ethylene Glycol Stearate is also a main ingredient in hand soaps and bath soaps since it is a great emulsifying agent with high surfactant ability. Soaps made with Ethylene Glycol Stearate are mild to the hands, with great foaming power and can be great in restoring hand moisture. It is also a common ingredient in cosmetics and may be seen in labels of foundations, concealers, eye makeup and blushes.

Side Effects

Ethylene Glycol Stearate, along with Glycol Stearate SE and Glycol Distearate, has been reviewed by governing bodies like the Cosmetic Ingredient Review as safe for use in cosmetics and personal care products. It is also non toxic and does not cause eye irritation and oral toxicity if ingested.

However, if you have extra sensitive skin, it is important to exercise due care in wearing makeup and using personal care products. Makeup must be tested on the forearms first before applying on the entire face. Never apply makeup on infected or broken skin. Remove makeup totally from face with makeup removers or a light facial wash before retiring at night to avoid skin irritation.

Babies and toddlers have sensitive skin as well so it is best to ask a dermatologist for the most appropriate product to use. Never use products with Ethylene Glycol Stearate on broken or infected skin. Discontinue makeup or personal care product if irritation or stinging results from use.

Read also: Eyebright Leaf

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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