Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) is commonly used in cosmetics as cleansing agents, emulsifiers, skin conditioners, surfactants.

According to a report in the International Journal of Toxicology by the cosmetic industry's own Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) committee, impurities found in various PEG compounds include ethylene oxide; 1,4-Dioxane; polycyclic aromatic compounds; and heavy metals such as Lead, iron, cobalt, nickel, cadmium, and arsenic. Many of these impurities are linked to cancer. Despite this, the CIR concludes that many PEG compounds “are safe for use” in cosmetics but adds that PEG compounds should “not be used on damaged skin.”

PEG compounds have been found to open the pores of the skin, enabling environmental toxins to more easily enter the body. Examples of these environmental toxins are DDT and DDE, both of which have the ability to influence the endocrine and reproductive systems.

PEG is also known to cause allergic reactions on skin with sun exposure, otherwise known as “Mallorca Acne”.

According to the Environmental Working Group, the following percentages
of common toiletries contain PEG compounds and other impurities that are
linked to breast cancer:

Mousse 90.3%
Hair Dye 79.5%
Baby Bath Wash 73.8%
Douche/Personal Cleanser 58.3%
Menopause Cream 54.5%
Depilatory Cream/Hair Remover 48.2%
Baby Lotion/Oil 46.4%
Anti-Itch/Rash Cream 46.3%
After Sun Products 45.5%
Lip Balm/Treatment 43.6%
Moisturizer 43.1%
Deodorant 42.7%
Facial Moisturizer/Treatment 42.0%
Shaving Products 41.3%
Anti-Aging Treatment 41.0%
Styling Product 39.6%
Eye Treatment 38.8%
Concealer 37.9%
Foot Odor/Cream/Treatment 37.3%
Conditioner 35.2%