Propylene Glycol (Psoriasis)

Propylene glycol is an alcohol that functions as a skin conditioner, viscosity-decreasing agent, solvent and fragrance ingredient in cosmetics. Propylene glycol has humectant properties. It dries on the skin to form a hygroscopic film that retains moisture by creating a barrier that prevents water from evaporating. Furthermore it is thought to function by an osmotic mechanism that attracts water to the outer skin layers, which accounts for the observation that it leads to a transient swelling of these skin layers. It also helped enhance the occlusive properties of specialised formulations, NLC, by reducing water loss across the surface of the skin, also known as transepithelial water loss, TEWL.

What does the science say?

Level of evidence: C

HelloSkin’s experts were unable to find any scientific data or clinical trials on the use of propylene glycol in people with psoriasis.

However, it has been shown to have benefits in other related dry skin conditions. For example, in response to dry skin relief and skin barrier improvement, propylene glycol is shown to improve both symptoms1.

The concentration of an ingredient is important for its efficacy, and therefore products containing the same ingredient may not necessarily have the same effect as in the studies mentioned above. Updated: July. 2017

Updated: July 2017


1Acta Derm Venereol. 2009