Is Propanediol Vegan? What Is Propanediol Made Of?

By Anett Rannamets. Updated: April 2023.
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Propanediol is 100% vegan. It is synthetic origin or derived from corn sugar. Propanediol is an active ingredient that acts as a humectant. As well as a solvent and consistency regulator.

It is a moisturizing, soluble, and viscosity-adjusting vegan active ingredient. But how does it work? Let’s find out more.

What Is Propanediol? What is Propanediol Made Of?

Propanediol is a natural solvent and plasticizer derived from corn sugar. It is water-soluble and usually a clear, colorless liquid with a mild odor.

The solvent is found in cosmetics and personal care products. Such as facial cleansers, lotions, toners, and makeup. It is dihydric alcohol produced synthetically or from corn. Propanediol is a good alternative to petroleum-based glycols.

Propanediol (1,3-propanediol) and propylene glycol (1,2-propanediol) have the same empirical formula (C3H8O2). However, their molecular structure is different. Propanediol is considered to be more skin-friendly than propylene glycol.

Propanediol is also known as PDO, 1,3-propanediol, and trimethylene glycol. Sometimes also methyl propanediol, propane-1,3-diol, and 1,3-dihydroxy propane.

Why Is Propanediol Used In Skincare?

Propanediol is used in skincare because it has excellent sensory properties. Propanediol is a multi-functional skincare ingredient. It works as an emollient and humectant. As well as a natural solvent and penetration enhancer.

Propanediol keeps the water in the skin and attracts it from the outside. It acts similarly to glycerin. So it has moisturizing and nourishing properties. To keep the facial skin healthy, strong, soft, and clear.

Moreover, it also has an effect of a penetration enhancer. So, propanediol makes other active ingredients penetrate the skin better. This can be seen as a benefit and a concern. It improves the absorption of beneficial chemicals. But also increases the penetration of not-so-healthy ingredients.

Propanediol also acts as a light preservative. However, it only boosts existing preservatives and does not replace other well-tested preservatives.

As a solvent, propanediol combines the most diverse ingredients. Such as ferulic acid, allantoin, or ascorbic acid. It is often used to improve texture and consistency due to its ingredient dissolving and preservative effects.

Propanediol is used in a wide variety of beauty and body products. Including body lotions, cleansers, foundations, sunscreens, and hand creams.

FAQ About Propanediol

What is propanediol?

Propanediol is a natural solvent and plasticizer. The dihydric alcohol is water-soluble and usually a clear, colorless liquid with a mild odor.

What is propanediol made of?

Propanediol is of synthetic origin or derived from corn.

Is propanediol vegan?

Yes. Propanediol is vegan.


Propanediol is a natural solvent derived from corn sugar. The vegan active substance also acts as an emollient, preservative, skin softener, and moisturizer.

See also: Best Vegan Skincare Products

Anett is a passionate journalist, writer, and magazine editor with almost 7 years of experience. Through engaging articles, she brings kinder and more environmentally-friendly choices closer to everybody.