The material selection platform
Cosmetics Ingredients
The material selection platform
Cosmetics Ingredients


CAS Number 25322-68-3
Chem/IUPAC Name: Poly(oxy-1,2-ethanediyl), .alpha.-hydro-.omega.-hydroxy-,
EINECS/ELINCS No: 500-038-2
COSING REF No: 78305
PEG-32 is a non-ionic surfactant whose primary uses are to dissolve, saturate, moisten, and soften. The surfactant is frequently selected for a variety of applications because of a number of benefits. With 32 monomers in the polymer chain, it is a polymer of polyethylene glycol. The substance is a wax that ranges from white to light yellow and has a slight aroma. It has significant hygroscopic qualities.

What is PEG-32 used for?

PEG-32 is used as an emulsifier and dispersing agent for creams, lotions, and bath oils. For active substances and sparingly soluble substances, PEG-32 serves as a solvent and solubilizer. It significantly improves a substance's solubility in a dissolving medium. Thanks to its moisturizing and water-binding properties, PEG-32 maintains the correct consistency of cosmetics.
  • Skin care: It works as an emollient to soften the skin. When applied to the skin, it creates a thin film that shields it from excessive moisture loss, maintains the proper moisture level, and improves the condition of the skin. PEG-32 shields the skin from harmful external influences such as toxins, dirt, and bacteria when it is used in cosmetics
  • Hair care: Due to proper hydration, this surfactant-containing hair shampoos soften and gloss up hair


Ethylene oxide reacts with water, ethylene glycol, or ethylene glycol oligomers to form polyethylene glycol. Acidic or basic catalysts are used to facilitate the reaction.

What does PEG-32 do in a formulation?

  • Emulsifying
  • Solvent
  • Surfactant

Safety profile

The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel has evaluated the safety of triethylene glycol and other polyethylene glycols. Triethylene Glycol and polyethylene glycol ingredients were found to be safe for use in cosmetics and personal care products after the CIR Expert Panel reviewed the scientific evidence.

Ethylene oxide, 1,4-dioxane, polycyclic aromatic compounds, and heavy metals like lead are among the impurities found in different PEG compounds, according to a report published in the International Journal of Toxicology by the Cosmetic Industry's own Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) committee. These impurities have all been linked to cancer. PEG compounds frequently contain trace amounts of the extremely toxic ethylene oxide. In addition to being a known carcinogen, 1,4-dioxane (found in PEG-6, PEG-8, PEG-32, PEG-75, PEG-150, PEG-14M, and PEG-20M) may also combine with atmospheric oxygen to form explosive peroxides, which is not something you want on your skin.

PEGs of all sizes may penetrate through damaged skin with impaired barrier function, so it may be a good idea to avoid products containing PEGs if you have sensitive or damaged skin.

PEG-32 Alternatives

Technical profile

Property Values
Boiling Point >250°C
Melting Point 64-66°C
pH 5.5-7.0 (25°C, 50mg/mL in H2O)
Solubility Soluble in water
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