Methyl gluceth-20 is a synthetic, water soluble ingredient that is produced from glucose and methyl alcohol. Methyl gluceth-20 is specifically used for its moisture retentive qualities, which is why it is often found in lotions, creams, after-shave products, bar soaps, bath products, and cleansing products. Methyl gluceth-20 is considered to be a very safe ingredient with low irritation potential, making it ideal for those with sensitive skin.
In cosmetics and personal care products, methyl gluceth-20 functions as an emollient and humectant. As an emollient, methyl gluceth-20 works to soften and soothe the skin. It is also a humectant moisturizer. A humectant is a hygroscopic substance that has a molecular structure with several hydrophilic (water loving) groups. This structure allows humectants to attract and retain the moisture in the air nearby via absorption, drawing the water vapor into or beneath the surface. Humectants improve moisture retention and may also help other topical skin care ingredients to perform better. Lastly, methyl gluceth-20 helps to improve the flow of cleansing products and reduces the tacky feel of formulations containing high levels of glycerine.