Zemea® propanediol is the multifunctional, preservative-boosting humectant and ingredient that delivers high performance in a variety of consumer applications, from cosmetics and personal care to food, flavor, and pharmaceuticals, and laundry and household cleaning.
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Identification & Functionality+
Features & Benefits+
Zemea® propanediol can be used for :
- Botanical extraction and dilution
- Carrier for active cosmetic ingredients
- Natural ester in cosmetic ingredients
- Cosmetic ingredient in natural preservative systems
It's benefits include :
- Better viscosity
- Enhanced clarity
- Excellent cloud point
- Increased foaming (if desired)
- Freeze/thaw protection
- Heat stability
It can replace petroleum-based glycols such as propylene glycol, butylene glycol, and glycerin in formulations.
Applications & Uses+
A natural carrier / diluent and bio-based chemical intermediate building block for cosmetic ingredients. It has favorable environmental profile. It's uses in various cosmetic ingredients are listed below.
Boosts efficacy of preservatives and may improve product handling
Cosmetic & Personal Care Actives
Helps deliver actives to the skin; boosts efficacy of zinc pyrithione (ZPT). Zemea® propanediol is now USP-NF, making it suitable as a carrier for benzoyl peroxide, antiperspirant salts, or other drug actives.
Enables lower viscosity, high-active surfactant products and blends as alternatives to powder or low activity aqueous solutions
Dyes & Pigments
Lower viscosity than glycerin, more consumer-friendly than propylene glycol
Pre-wetted polymer option for acrylates, polyacrylamides, urethanes, polyquats and cationic guar
Alternative carrier for solid fatty quats or other solid materials that cannot easily be sprayed or flaked
Natural carrier and alternative extraction solvent replacing ethanol, hexane or propylene glycol
Develop polar esters that enhance spreading on skin, moisturization, skin elasticity potential or pigment wetting
Novel Cosmetic Solvents
Develop effective polar solvents with unique Hansen Solubility
- Propanediol dibenzoate vs. propylene glycol dibenzoate
- Ethoxydipropanediol vs. ethoxydiglycol
- Dimethyl propanediol vs. dimethyl isosorbide
- Propanediol carbonate vs. propylene carbonate
Naturally-derived Polymer Thickeners
Petroleum-free modifier for cellulosics, guars, starches and others
Alternative reaction solvent to propylene glycol for production of surfactants or other polar materials.
Development of natural alternatives to preservatives
|Value||Units||Test Method / Conditions|
Regulatory & Compliance+
Technical Details & Test Data+
Zemea® propanediol is produced through a proprietary fermentation process using plant-derived glucose instead of petroleum-based feedstocks. The resulting product is typically 99.99% pure.
Zemea® propanediol is the world’s first 100% bio-based glycol alternative to have earned certification from the Natural Products Association.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
- 56% less than Propanediol
- 42% less than Propylene Glycol
Non-Renewable Energy Use
- 42% less than Propanediol
- 38% less than Propylene Glycol
Zemea® propanediol is a natural, skin-friendly, preservative-boosting alternative to petroleum-based glycols and glycerin for formulators who desire versatile and innovative cosmetic ingredients.
Reduced skin irritation
In multiple studies using the modified Draize Repeated Insult Patch Test method, Zemea® propanediol produced no skin irritation, fatigue or sensitization—even at high concentrations. Researchers observed no clinically significant dermal irritation or allergic contact following exposure of up to 75% Zemea® propanediol at three different pH levels.
By contrast, skin irritation was observed with propylene glycol (PG) at a concentration of 25%, with nearly one-quarter of the test population indicating positive irritation at a 75% concentration. Results from these studies show that Zemea® propanediol has low potential to irritate or sensitize human skin.
Moisturization performance vs. glycerin
In tests comparing the moisturizing effect of Zemea® propanediol to glycerin at a 10% use level, measurements taken with a Corneometer ASA-M2 showed that Zemea® propanediol provides improved skin moisturization during initial application. A mixture of 5% Zemea® propanediol/ 5% glycerin in formulation demonstrated a synergistic effect that improved and extended skin moisturization. Formulating with a Zemea® propanediol/glycerin mixture also requires less glycerin and may reduce tackiness.
Moisturization performance vs. petroleum-based glycols
In two independent tests conducted between Zemea® propanediol and petroleum-based glycols, measurements with a Corneometer 825 PC® (Courage + Khazaka) revealed that Zemea® propanediol was more efficient than either PG or butylene glycol (BG) at moisturizing the skin at a 5% use level.
In repeated consumer sensory studies, lotions formulated with Zemea® propanediol rated higher for all sensory attributes than lotions formulated with glycerin. Zemea® propanediol is also effective at reducing the tackiness associated with high concentrations of glycerin in certain formulations.
CTFA Preservative Challenge Testing has shown that Zemea® propanediol can boost the efficacy of preservatives in a formulation. Seven different preservatives were tested at 50% of the recommended use level in a skin care emulsion. The Zemea® propanediol use level was varied from 0-6% to determine the minimum level of Zemea® propanediol needed to pass the challenge test.
Zemea® propanediol has a unique set of Hansen Solubility Parameters. Software modeling suggested that Zemea® propanediol can be an effective solvent for actives and functional materials in skin care products and sunscreens.
In tests, Zemea® propanediol worked well as a primary solvent to maximize the solubility of ferulic acid and allantoin. Zemea® propanediol worked well as a secondary solvent to manage the solubility and extend delivery time of ascorbic acid and glycolic acid. Zemea® propanediol worked well as a solvent to optimize formulation design and efficacy for salicylic acid and hexylresorcinol. In a broad-spectrum, daily-wear facial moisturizer, the addition of Zemea® propanediol effectively kept the sunscreen actives ensulizole and sulisobenzone in solution during the evaporative process on the skin, leading to greater efficacy.
Studies have demonstrated the unique performance benefits of Zemea® propanediol in hair care products.
Bleached hair tress evaluations (5% polyol) spotlighted the benefits of shampoo made with Zemea® propanediol versus propylene glycol (PG), butylene glycol (BG) and glycerin. Zemea® propanediol demonstrated ease of spreading in shampoo application stage, ease of combing and a clean moisturized/conditioned feel in the wet stage, and ease of combing, body/fullness and moisturized/conditioned feel in the dry stage
Zemea® propanediol has improved the efficacy of zinc pyrithione (ZPT) in anti-dandruff shampoo formulations. A time-dependent dose relationship was observed between Malassezia globosa and Zemea® propanediol concentration over a range of 0%-4%. Mortality rates of M. globosa increased by 90% when 4% Zemea® propanediol and 1.2% ZPT were paired in a generic formulation
On chemically treated hair under extreme heat, Zemea® propanediol demonstrated increased moisturization versus PG, BG and glycerin
In tests, consumers rated shampoo (10% polyol) and leave-in conditioner (5% polyol) made with Zemea® propanediol higher than or equivalent to PG, BG and glycerin on almost all sensorial attributes.
Increased viscosity with less salt
In a viscosity test conducted with three different clear shampoo formulations (5% PG, 5% BG and 5% Zemea® propanediol), the Zemea® propanediol formulation exhibited increased viscosity, requiring 36% less NaCl than the PG formulation and 57% less than the BG formulation.
Zemea® propanediol is a natural, petroleum-free humectant and solvent for formulators who desire versatile and innovative personal care ingredients. Zemea® propanediol is ideally suited many different oral care applications including mouthwash and toothpaste.
Benefits in mouthwash formulations
- Eliminates solubilizer gelling
- Reduces surfactant load
- Improves taste
- Enables formulation clarity
- Alcohol-free formulation possible
Benefits in toothpaste formulations
- Solvent for sorbitol and sweeteners
- Carrier for gums
- Improves taste
- Gels with clarity and rheology
- SLS-free formulation possible
Packaging & Availability+
- 18.1 kg (40 lb) Pails
- 199.8 kg (440 lb) Drums
- 997.9 kg (2,200 lb) Totes
- Tank Trucks
- Iso Tank Containers
Storage & Handling+
Sealed containers should be stored within a temperature range of 0°– 50°C (32°–122°F). Containers can be resealed and stored within the same temperature range.
Avoid prolonged exposure to oxygen and water. The use of nitrogen during storage is encouraged.
If the seal is unbroken and the material has been stored according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, a 2 year shelf life can be expected