E1520 (Propylene Glycol) E-number: 1520
Name: Propylene Glycol
Alternative Names :1,2-Propanediol; methyl glycol; 1,2-dihydroxypropane; Propan-1,2-diol.
Function: Humectant, Solvent
Source: synthetic chemical.
Health Code: Red
Contact dermatitis, lactic acidosis, dry skin, respiratory, immuno- and neurotoxicity, CNS depression and kidney damage in animals
Uses: Confectionery, baked goods, chocolate products, sweetened coconut, toppings
Other Uses: Suntan lotion, toothpaste, lipstick, baby lotion, pesticides, antifreeze
What is an Humectant?
A humectant is a hygroscopic substance. It is often a molecule with several hydrophilic groups, most often hydroxyl groups, but amines and carboxyl groups, sometimes esterified, can be encountered as well; the affinity to form hydrogen bonds with molecules of water is crucial here.
Since hygroscopic substances absorb water from the air, they are frequently used in desiccation.
When used as a food additive, the humectant has the effect of keeping the foodstuff moist. Humectants are sometimes used as a component of antistatic coatings for plastics. Humectants are also found in many cosmetic products where moisturization is desired, including treatments such as moisturizing hair conditioners and also commonly used in body lotions.
Humectants are also used in the manufacture of some cigarettes and other tobacco products.
Humectants are also used in topical dosage forms to increase the solubility of the active ingredient, to elevate its skin penetration and increase its activity time. Humectants elevate also the hydration of the skin to minimize the dehydrating effect of some active ingredients like corticoids.
Examples of humectants include glycerol, propylene glycol (E 1520) and glyceryl triacetate (E1518). Others can be sugar polyols like sorbitol (E420), xylitol and maltitol (E965), polymeric polyols like polydextrose (E1200), or natural extracts like quillaia (E999), lactic acid or urea.
The chemical compound lithium chloride is an excellent humectant, but is toxic.