What is polyethylene glycol

What actually is ... polyethylene glycol?

Sun protection and PEG

The use of PEG in sunscreens is particularly critical. PEG compounds can cause sun pimples, the so-called Mallorca acne. Spending long periods of time in the sun is stressful to the skin: When you sweat, fluid evaporates on the skin and reacts chemically with the sunscreen. This weakens their natural protective acid mantle. “The skin opens the door to pollutants,” says Plum.

Daily handling of pollutants

Ethoxylated substances and PEG are contained not only in cosmetics, but also in many other everyday products. These include, for example, detergents and cleaning agents, polishes, water-based paints, pencils, pharmaceuticals and textiles. "Our body constantly reacts with different substances from the environment," says Plum. This is how the harmful substances that are contained in everyday objects also get into our organism.

We ingest some of these substances through the respiratory tract and food, and some through contact with the skin. For example, when we use personal care products and wear textiles on the skin that have been processed using PEG, we are in direct contact with the synthetic fabrics for several hours.

Burden on the environment

In addition, these substances represent an enormous burden for the environment. Chemical-synthetic substances such as ethoxylated substances and polyethylene glycols are manufactured in such a way that they are stable and therefore have a long shelf life. As a result, they can only be broken down with difficulty by microorganisms in the environment.

“It can take many decades for the chemicals to break down completely,” explains Plum. “We can only guess how long we will have to live with these pollutants. But fortunately we have the alternative of being able to use real natural products that are free from PEG and ethoxylated substances. "