Propyl Alcohol, Propanol


Toxins in Cosmetics, Cleaning Agents, and Medications

Propanol and Isopropanol

Propyl alcohol is an antiseptic ingredient in many if not most cosmetic products: shampoo, cream rinse, hair spray, shaving lotion, body lotion, lipstick, deodorant, toothpaste, make-up, nail polish, and mouth wash. The purpose of this chemical is to inhibit microbial growths and extend shelf life . . . even though there are known allergic and toxic effects and even though this chemical is suspected of being a hormone disruptor.

Isopropanol is derivative of petroleum and is used in antifreeze as well as a host of other consumer products such as paint thinners and household cleaning products and disinfectants. It is easily absorbed through the skin and is twice as toxic as ethanol. The vapor is also dangerous. The side effects of inhalation of isopropanol include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, headache, and even narcosis and coma.

It is an ingredient in many medications such as Alka-Seltzer and aspirin; and unfortunately, it is also used as a solvent in the processing of some essential oils, which is why one wants to know as much as possible about the source and production of essential oils before buying them.

Propanol or propyl alcohol is similar to the above except that it is drying.

These unsafe chemicals are used for one main reason: they prolong shelf life by reducing the likelihood of bacterial contamination of products. The early research attesting to the safety of the additives was performed by Standard Oil, a Rockefeller enterprise.

"Health" Products

It has been a few years since several of my colleagues and I attempted to find cosmetics in health foods stores that did not contain any toxic ingredients. We failed absolutely and completely, even in the aisles of large stores carrying scores of different brands of "all natural" products.

Hulda Clark drew attention to the dangers of these additives and declared that all cancer patients have residuals of these contaminants in their livers. I would maintain that many people also have weakness of mucous membranes due to inhalation. This would be especially true of people working in places where solvents are used, such as paint stores, and especially where ventilation is poor. Clark felt that people would not get well if their exposure to these products continued. Eliminating them entirely without profound life style changes is almost impossible.

I am never one to jump on any bandwagon, and I have to admit that I have never warmed completely to the presentation in Clark's books. However, she threw a gauntlet and little by little, extremely well qualified scientists are concurring with her conclusions. Moreover, more and more practitioners are seeing beneficial results from reducing the presence of these toxins in the home. I have occasionally recommended career changes to people who suffer from repeated exposure and who have become chronically ill, sometimes due to allergies and environmental sensitivity and sometimes due to cancer or even AIDS.

Alternative Products

The point is one does not need propyl alcohol to extend shelf life. Essential oils, extremely high quality, essential oils are completely effective. I began a few months ago by making my own shampoo and was astonished at how quickly my thinking felt clearer. I shared this idea with subscribers but no one nibbled. Basically, I use a simple "blank shampoo." It has three ingredients, just imagine: water, coconut oil soap, and vegetable glycerine. When I first suggested this to people, I might have used a bad word, "expensive." Yes, the unscented shampoo is ridiculously inexpensive, but the essential oils are not. One can use a single essential oil such as lemon or chamomile or become quite exotic and make up one's own blends, but one bottle of essential oil lasts a long, long time. You only need a few drops of oil per 8 oz. bottle of shampoo.

I discussed some of these ideas with the supplier of my oils from India. She is in India now, but just before leaving, she sent some samples of shampoo and conditioner that she made up. She made up a shampoo with lemon and lavender and one with just lavender. These are pricey, $12 each, but the feedback I have received from those who got them as Christmas gifts was extraordinary.

However, for $4 you can get your own liquid soap/shampoo and then use whatever essential oils you want. I tried to be hugely creative. One always wants the brain to be clearer, so I used basil. I also wanted to feel more relaxed and to sleep well, so I used chamomile. Then, I wanted a fresh smell and chose lemon for that. For the solstice, I wanted to meditate and transcend so I used frankincense.

I have some really interesting ideas I want to try: oils with specific and known healing properties that will address illness in the body or aid detoxification. For instance, what if cilantro in shampoo helped mobilize heavy metals from the brain? I haven't a clue if it would work, but I have cilantro essential oil.  What about parasites? edema? So, I would like to propose that those who are experimental not only make their own shampoo but keep records of changes that occur when they change to a non-toxic product.


Return to Information Library


The information presented herein  is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


All Products
Facial Care
Body Care
Hair Care
Baby Care
Herbal Teas
Information Library
About Us
e-mail me