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Zemea® Propanediol

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INCI Name: Propanediol
Chemical Name: Propane-1,3-diol
Function: Humectant, Emollient, Re-Fatting Agent, Carrier, Preservative Booster, Solvent
CAS Number: 504-63-2
Grade: Pharma Grade
Ingredient Origin: Natural Origin
Synonyms: 1,3-Dihydroxypropane, 1,3-Propanediol, 2-deoxyglycerol, beta-propylene glycol, 1,3-Propylenediol, 2-(Hydroxymethyl)ethanol, omega-Propanediol, 1,3-Propylene glycol, Trimethylene Glycol
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TypeDocument Name
Technical Data Sheet
Zemea Propanediol Technical Data Sheet
Zemea Propanediol Technical Data Sheet
Technical Data Sheet
Safety Data Sheet
Zemea Propanediol Safety Data Sheet
Zemea Propanediol Safety Data Sheet
Safety Data Sheet
Technical Data Sheet
Zemea Propanediol Product Data Sheet
Zemea Propanediol Product Data Sheet
Technical Data Sheet
Zemea Propanediol Hair Care Brochure
Zemea Propanediol Hair Care Brochure
Zemea Propanediol Natural Solvent Technical Bulletin
Zemea Propanediol Natural Solvent Technical Bulletin
Technical Data Sheet
Zemea Propanediol Miscibility Data
Zemea Propanediol Miscibility Data
Technical Data Sheet
Zemea Propanediol Skin Care Brochure
Zemea Propanediol Skin Care Brochure
Zemea Propanediol Dermal Analysis Test
Zemea Propanediol Dermal Analysis Test
Zemea Propanediol Cosmetic Ingredients Application
Zemea Propanediol Cosmetic Ingredients Application
Technical Data Sheet
Zemea Propanediol Solubility Data
Zemea Propanediol Solubility Data
Technical Data Sheet
Zemea Propanediol in Facial Mositurizer Technical Bulletin
Zemea Propanediol in Facial Mositurizer Technical Bulletin
Zemea Propanediol Skin Hydration Test
Zemea Propanediol Skin Hydration Test

Knowde Enhanced TDS

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Identification & Functionality

Zemea® Propanediol Features & Benefits

Key Attributes

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

Zemea® Propanediol - A Natural Ingredient for Cosmetics

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.

Solid Surfactants

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

Cationic Conditioners

Alternative carrier for solid fatty quats or other solid materials that cannot easily be sprayed or flaked

Botanical Extracts

Natural carrier and alternative extraction solvent replacing ethanol, hexane or propylene glycol

Novel Emollients

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.

Antimicrobial Stabilizers

Development of natural alternatives to preservatives


Physical Form
Soluble in
Typical Properties
ValueUnitsTest Method / Conditions
pH Value7--
Boiling Point214°C-
Density (20°C)1.053g/cc-
Melting Point-24°C-
Molecular Weight76.1--
Viscosity (20°C)52cPs-

Regulatory & Compliance

Technical Details & Test Data

The greener alternative

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 for Skin Care

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.

High-scoring sensorials

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.

Preservative-boosting performance

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.

Effective solubility

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.

Zemea® Propanediol for Hair Care

Studies have demonstrated the unique performance benefits of Zemea® propanediol in hair care products.

Improved feel

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


Enhanced moisturization

On chemically treated hair under extreme heat, Zemea® propanediol demonstrated increased moisturization versus PG, BG and glycerin

Improved sensorials

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 for Oral Care

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

Packaging Information
  • 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

Storage and 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

Zemea® Propanediol
DuPont Tate and Lyle BioProducts