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Understanding the PG Allergy

Understanding the PG Allergy

 

As vaping has became more prominent in recent years, people have become curious about what was in the e-juice they were inhaling, and how it would affect them. Unfortunately, for some this concern came through a rough experience: a burning, scratching sensation taking over their throats. This constant discomfort made some feel that vaping was more painful than smoking, and eventually, they just decided to revert back to cigarettes.

 

Although it may seem scary, this issue is pretty common. But it may not be because you haven’t got the technique down or are vaping at too high a wattage - it’s possible that you may have an allergy or sensitivity to propylene glycol (PG), one of the most common ingredients found in e-liquid.

 

PG is colorless, odorless, and near-tasteless. Its first reported use was in the mid-19th century, where it was found in a variety of different medicines. It’s non-toxic and is generally regarded as being safe for ingestion.

 

Aside from being non-toxic, it’s also pretty useful. It’s a solvent which allows water to mix with oily liquids. It’s also a preservative and a moisture-retainer. These qualities cause it be found in food preservatives, food coloring, food flavoring, deodorants, shampoos, moisturizers, conditioners, suntan lotion, lipstick, and many more everyday products.

 

In e-liquid, it remains a main ingredient, aside vegetable glycerin, or VG. The quantity found in each juice varies, its percentage ratio relative to VG is commonly found on the liquid’s container.

 

PG allergies, though, do exist. Just like other allergies, this one can be confused with various sensitivities, as well. An allergy is directly associated with your immune system and creates a specific reaction to let your body know that what you’re ingesting is a threat. A sensitivity, though, isn’t associated with your immune system at all.  If you’re unsure what the difference between an allergy and a sensitivity, or intolerance, is, here’s a <a href=“http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/food-allergy/expert-answers/food-allergy/faq-20058538”>more thorough explanation by Dr. James T C Li.</a>

 

When it comes to PG, the line between an intolerance and an allergy is pretty thin. A true PG allergy is pretty rare, while an intolerance is more common. Just like common food allergies, everyone reacts to chemicals differently and it really just depends on you.

 

In order to tell the difference between a PG intolerance and a PG allergy, here’s a few pointers.

 

When it comes to vaping, experiencing a cough and a sore throat is quite common. This could happen for any number of reasons, including a PG sensitivity. For some, this problem eventually does go away. If it doesn’t, it might be best to increase your VG percentage and lower your PG intake.

 

Most people who have reported an allergy to PG, though, have discovered it through skin contact. Since PG is found in various everyday products, you’ll probably have known about it before you started vaping.

 

The obvious sign of the allergy is a rash, even just a patch of redness, sometimes containing small lumps on the surrounding area. Since you’re inhaling PG when you vape, this rash is most likely to appear around your mouth and nose. The rash can even cause a stinging, burning sensation.

 

The only issue with this, though, is that the symptoms of the allergy are very similar to a simple PG skin irritation, causing confusion. Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos had conducted <a href=“http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/11/4/4356/htm”>a test associated with this</a> and found that 1.8% of over 19,000 vapers reported these types of allergic reactions.

 

The benefit of this being the PG allergy revealer, though, is that the chemical is found in everyday products. If you experienced this rash after using a deodorant containing the product, it might be best to ask your doctor to confirm that it’s an allergic reaction to PG. That way, you’ll be able to keep away from PG the next time you vape.

 

For most vapers, though, it’s the sensitivity, rather than the allergy, that causes most problems. For the most part, there’s an obvious difference between PG skin contact irritation and PG inhalation irritation. According to <a href= “http://www.ecigarette-politics.com/pg-sensitivity.html”>Chris Price at E-Cigarette Politics</a>, PG sensitivty can be classified into two main groups: a skin sensitivity and an inhalation sensitivity.

 

Price says about 1 in 10 vapers have some sort of sensitivity to PG, which is usually a dry throat and an irritation to the upper airways. Classifying this as a true sensitivity is hard to say, since the symptoms often fade away once you get used to vaping. Ex-smokers also experience this as well, since they are unaware of the slightly different technique of inhaling that comes with vaping.

 

New smokers are also subject to confuse a PG sensitivity with symptoms that come from quitting cigarettes. “Quitter’s flu” is a common issue for ex-smokers, which involves some flu-like symptoms. Longtime smokers will recognize this primarily through the early-morning, phlegmy cough they’re used to becoming more intense for a few weeks after quitting before it begins to subside and eventually fades completely. While some may initially blame this on vaping, it’s less likely that PG is actually the culprit. Ex-smokers may also suffer “quitter’s zits.” Some people do develop acne after quitting cigarettes. Again, people do blame vaping for this, but it’s more likely the stress of the transition that is causing the acne. These “quitting” symptoms are also something you should keep in mind when you think you may have a PG allergy.

 

The serious cases of PG intolerance are found to affect around 1 in 100 vapers. These people experience a very sore throat, as well as a burning, stinging sensation, when vaping higher-PG liquids, making vaping unattractive.

 

So what should you do to avoid any type of intolerance or allergy symptoms due to PG? Your best best is to switch to VG-based liquids. Many vapers have reported that as long as they keep their PG percentage down, the symptoms go away. This does vary, so it’s best that you experiment with higher levels of VG and find which ratio works for you.

 

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