What Is It?
PEG-30 Castor Oil, PEG-33 Castor Oil, PEG-35 Castor Oil, PEG-36 Castor Oil and PEG-40 Castor Oil are polyethylene glycol derivatives of castor oil. PEG-30 Hydrogenated Castor Oil and PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil are polyethylene glycol derivatives of hydrogenated castor oil. PEG-36 Castor Oil is a light yellow and slightly viscous liquid with a mild fatty odor. PEG-40 Castor Oil is an amber-colored liquid. PEG Castor Oils and PEG Hydrogenated Castor Oils are used in the formulation of a wide variety of cosmetics and personal care products.
Why is it used in cosmetics and personal care products?
PEG Castor Oils and PEG Hydrogenated Castor Oils help to form emulsions by reducing the surface tension of the substances to be emulsified. They also help other ingredients to dissolve in a solvent in which they would not normally dissolve.
PEG Castor Oils and PEG Hydrogenated Castor Oils are produced from castor oil and hydrogenated castor oil, respectively. Castor oil is obtained by the cold pressing of seeds of the Ricinus communis plant followed by clarification of the oil by heat.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) includes castor oil on its list of flavoring agents and related substances permitted for direct addition to food. PEG Castor Oil ingredients (molecular weight 400-3,000) may also be used as indirect food additives in textiles and textile fabrics in components of articles intended for repeated use. The safety of PEG Castor Oils and PEG Hydrogenated Castor Oils has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel. The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that PEG-30, -33, -35, -36 and -40 Castor Oil were safe for use in cosmetics and personal care products at concentrations up to 50% and that PEG-30 and -40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil were safe for use at concentrations up to 100%.
More safety Information:
CIR Safety Review: The CIR Expert Panel considered it acceptable to extrapolate the results of the PEG Castor Oils and PEG Hydrogenated Castor Oils that have been studied to all the ingredients in the family. No dermal or ocular irritation was observed following exposure to the PEG Castor Oil and PEG Hydrogenated Castor Oil ingredients. In studies using up to 50% PEG-35 Castor Oil, irritation was seen when this ingredient was placed on the skin, but no sensitization was found on challenge. This ingredient was found to increase the sensitization potential of other ingredients. No evidence of developmental toxicity was seen in feeding studies. These ingredients, tested as vehicle controls, produced no mutagenic or carcinogenic effect. Clinical data were generally negative for irritation and sensitization, although some serious allergic reactions have been seen in studies of intravenous drugs in which PEG-35 Castor Oil was used as the vehicle. The maximum concentration used in sensitization studies was 50% for PEG Castor Oils and 100% for PEG Hydrogenated Castor Oils. Small amounts of 1,4-dioxane, a by-product of ethoxylation, may be found in the PEG Castor Oil and PEG Hydrogenated Castor Oil ingredients. The potential presence of this material is well known and can be controlled through purification steps to remove it from the ingredients before blending into cosmetic formulations.
More information about what the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is doing to assure that cosmetics do not contain unsafe levels of 1,4-dioxane.
FDA: Link to Code of Federal Regulations for castor oil and PEG castor oil
Please search this website for Castor Oil for more information about its safety. PEG Castor Oils and PEG Hydrogenated Castor Oils may be used in Europe according to the general provisions of the Cosmetics Regulation of the European Union.
More Scientific Information:
PEG Castor Oils and PEG Hydrogenated Castor Oils are predominantly glyceryl triricinoleyl polyethylene glycols and tri-12-hydroxylstearyl polyethylene glycols, respectively. These castor oil-derived ingredients include various chain lengths, depending on the quantity of ethylene oxide used in synthesis. The average number of units of ethylene oxide is indicated by the number in the name of the ingredient. PEG Castor Oils and PEG Hydrogenated Castor Oils are used as surfactants (emulsifying and/or solubilizing agents) in cosmetics and personal care products.