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Today's Chemical:


EWG Risk Score:


What is it?

Ethylhexylglycerin is a conditioning agent and preservative.

Why is it a risk?

Two studies have found it to be a skin irritant, even at low concentrations, so people with sensitive skin may experience contact dermatitis.  In addition, it is an eye irritant in animal studies.  Reactions are typically low, however. (Source)

What Type of Products is it in?

Lotions, washes, shampoo, conditioner

Steph's Opinion:

Ethylhexylglycerin is a relatively new chemical on the market.  Many companies use it as an alternative to parabens and claim that it's from natural sources.  Yes, it may have started out as a vegetable oil, but it's gone through several chemical processes to become what it is.  This isn't the worst ingredient in the world, but it's also not truly natural, and safety data is highly lacking for this ingredient. There are only four studies or reviews published in the National Library of Medicine. 


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Reader Comments (45)

@Annie--I'm sorry to hear of your allergy! None of these ingredients really stick out to me as being marine-derived, although probably your best bet would be to contact the manufacturer and ask for sure. Possible that the silicone-based ingredients could just be irritating your skin.

Tue, March 14, 2017 | Registered Commenter[Stephanie Greenwood]

Wow - I am enjoying reading the factual information provided. Consumers need information that is not soft pedaled by the producer. I appreciate the information because I am a very skeptical consumer. Having been in marketing and consumer products for many years, I understand that "consumer products" companies are a for-profit industry and information they provide will be sent through marketing before you ever see it.

I am confused by the "opinion" noted in the comments above criticizing the person giving factual information. What are you afraid of? A consumer coming to his or her own conclusion. If someone is reading this blog, my guess is that they are a researcher and will draw their own conclusions after searching many sources. I would hope civility and logic would rule the comments and not anger or frustration at an opposing opinion.

Thanks for the unemotional opinion on ingredients. So glad I found this website!

Sat, June 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCynthia

I'm so appreciative for articles like this & for all the posts from concerned consumers like myself that care what we ingest internally & externally. Too many people just blindly purchase products without ever considering how the ingredients may effect them in the long run. Thanks so much for making sure sites like this are available!!😀😀

Thu, February 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

I've been looking at the Swanson web site for an hour trying to find an eye cream that doesn't have known carcinogens (polysorbate-xx), allergens, or irritants.
All of them have some combination of carcinogens, soy (I'm allergic), cammomile (cross-reacts with ragweed allergy) and known eye irritants like ethylhexylglycerin (especially genius putting this in an eye cream, duh!)
All of the products are by "natural product" companies. That designation has become almost meaningless.
It really is becoming almost impossible to find cosmetics that don't have something unhealthy.
I tried using oil as a moisturizer and it came off on my clothes and ruined a few shirts. So it's not as easy as just using oil. I suppose I'll have to start making my own cosmetics in addition to my own food. Sigh. It's not like I have a job or a life or anything, I have plenty of time to learn to make cosmetics because the companies that say they're trying to help don't actually care about our health...

Tue, December 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJulia

I realize this post is from a while ago and maybe things have changed but when I googled Ethylhexylglycerin- this was the first site that actually broke it down so thank you. I don’t believe a company has to be certified organic in order to be a great product. Most of the smaller companies making great products don’t put their money into that certification (even though they’re using organic whenever possible) and also use great preservatives like sqaukine and honey or packaging that is self preserving. These companies put a lot of work into weighing what products to use and are making the most informed choice at the time. I choose to pay the smaller companies doing well for not only the earth but our bodies too - regardless if certified organic or not.

Wed, February 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

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