Deep Dive on Everything You Need to Know About Butylene Glycol
What is Butylene Glycol?
Butylene glycol is an organic alcohol that is naturally-derived from sugarcane.Quick tip: not all alcohols are created equally - while we’ve all been told to avoid alcohol in skincare, that advice refers to drying alcohols, like ethyl alcohol. The glycol family of alcohols are made of fatty acids that actually help skin retain moisture, rather than strip it away!
As a raw material, butylene glycol is a thick clear liquid with a sweet taste. Butylene glycol is a versatile ingredient with many functions in skincare, makeup, and even food products. When it comes to skincare, butylene glycol is used to enhance formulations as a humectant, emollient, solvent, and skin conditioning and antimicrobial agent.
Skincare Benefits of Butylene Glycol
Butylene glycol is a humectant, meaning it binds to water molecules from deeper layers of the skin and pulls hydration up to the top layer. This gives your skin a dewy, bouncy glow and keeps your skin hydrated and moisturized for hours.
Optimizes skincare penetration
Say hello to the ultimate skincare booster! Butylene glycol breaks down active ingredients to improve penetration, helping the product absorb deeper into the skin and perform even more effectively.
Conditions and smooths skin
Functioning as an emollient, butylene glycol creates a barrier on the skin that coats the surface of the cells, preventing water loss, and softening and conditioning the skin for a beautiful glow.
Boosts preservative efficacy
Butylene glycol boosts preservative effectiveness due to its antimicrobial properties, which help to protect against microorganism contamination and may even help treat acne-prone skin.Shop Butylene Glycol in our Daily Hydrating & Setting Mist!
Is Butylene Glycol Safe to Use?
At Beia, we rigorously test our ingredients to make sure they are safe to use for even the most sensitive skin. While there has been some controversy surrounding butylene glycol, we did thorough research to dig past the media and into the science, and found that the science points to safety.
When it comes to irritation, butylene glycol is overwhelmingly non-irritating. It has the potential to irritate the eyes at high concentrations and with significant contact, so just be sure to avoid your eye area while applying skincare products that contain butylene glycol, just in case - as we recommend doing for most skincare products!
Another concern about butylene glycol is that it is used in antifreeze, so let’s clear this one up. Butylene glycol is used in antifreeze to lower the freezing point of water. However, people often confuse butylene glycol with ethylene glycol, which is a dangerous ingredient used in antifreeze. Remember - science is complex, so be wary of over-simplified claims about cosmetic chemistry!
Butylene Glycol v.s. Propylene Glycol
One ingredient that may show cause for concern is propylene glycol. You may have heard butylene & propylene glycol used interchangeably, however, there are important differences between the 2 ingredients.
In chemistry, glycols contain 2 OH (aka: alcohol) groups. Propylene glycol is smaller with 3 carbon atoms, while butylene glycol is slightly larger with 4 carbon atoms. The difference in molecular size is what makes butylene glycol far less irritating than its counterpart.