Signs You Might Have A PG Intolerance

Experiencing throat discomfort or skin problems after vaping could be a sign of PG intolerance, a common reaction to propylene glycol, a key ingredient in E-Liquids. This introductory guide will help you identify tell-tale signs of PG intolerance and offer practical advice for managing this sensitivity.

Key Takeaways
·PG stands for propylene glycol, and is heavily used across the food, medical and personal care industries, as well as being one of the two key ingredients in vape juices.
·PG intolerance can lead to symptoms like a dry or sore throat, skin irritation, or swollen gums
·Diagnosing PG intolerance can be challenging; it may be confused with other conditions such as ‘quitter’s flu’ or reactions to specific flavours in E-Liquids.
·Vapers with PG sensitivity can switch to high VG or 100% VG E-Liquids, which are smoother and produce denser vapor, possibly reducing throat irritation.

What is PG?
Propylene Glycol, commonly referred to as PG, is a versatile substance that is used extensively in a variety of industries.

It’s used to absorb extra water and maintain moisture in certain medicines, cosmetics, or food products. It is also a solvent for food colours and flavours, and in the paint and plastics industries. Propylene glycol is also used to create artificial smoke or fog used in fire-fighting training and in theatrical productions.

PG is a primary ingredient in E-Liquids, acting as the ‘base’ that carries flavours and nicotine, while providing the throat hit associated with vaping.

Its low viscosity, compared to Vegetable Glycerine (VG), allows it to produce vapor when heated, providing users with a smooth vaping experience. Furthermore, its thin consistency enables it to penetrate deeper into the user’s lungs, enhancing the overall vaping experience.

For more information about what exactly resides in your typical vape juice, read our breakdown of E-Liquid ingredients.

PG Intolerance Signs
Symptoms of propylene glycol (PG) intolerance can manifest in various ways.
These symptoms often include a sore, or dry throat, skin irritation, and other related reactions such as body aches. Allergic contact dermatitis, triggered by PG, may lead to skin reactions, particularly affecting the face, and commonly presenting as hives or swelling upon skin contact.

In more severe cases, individuals might experience systemic contact dermatitis, resulting in a generalized skin reaction after ingesting substances containing PG.
For vapers, a common symptom of vaping-related skin irritation is a sore throat, but signs can range from rashes and itchiness to hives and flaky skin.

Interestingly, swollen gums may serve as a less common but significant indicator of PG intolerance. Additionally, individuals with PG intolerance might experience sinus issues, such as a faint burning or tingling sensation in the sinus or nose.

When do PG intolerance symptoms occur?
Symptoms of PG intolerance can manifest at different times, depending on the type of exposure and individual sensitivity, especially those associated with the upper respiratory tract. This means that you could experience symptoms immediately after vaping or after a delay.

In cases of systemic contact dermatitis attributed to PG, symptoms such as rashes typically emerge within a window of 3 to 16 hours following ingestion.

In fact, some individuals may only show symptoms when exposed to PG through ingestion, highlighting how reactions can be delayed and vary based on the mode of contact. Also, even if you have been vaping without any issues for months, PG intolerance might still develop. Sensitivity to PG can build up over time.

However, despite the potential health risks associated with PG, it is generally regarded as safe for human consumption.

PG intolerance is estimated to be the reason for suspected contact dermatitis in only 3.5% of individuals who are investigated for the skin problem.

A PG intolerance is more common than a PG allergy, which is rare. Moreover, if you have a PG allergy, you are likely to know about it even before you start vaping, as PG is present in many other everyday products such as cosmetics, personal care products, and food items.

How do I know I have a PG intolerance and not something else?

Identifying a PG intolerance can be a bit tricky. For starters, symptoms that occur when someone stops smoking and starts vaping, known as ‘quitter’s flu’, can be mistaken for a PG allergy.

Symptoms of a PG intolerance could also be a reaction to a specific flavouring used in a particular E-Liquid or even a reaction to the type of acid used in nic salts.

Standard food allergy tests may not detect sensitivities to PG, making it complex to identify a PG intolerance or allergy. To distinguish PG allergies from other conditions, healthcare professionals may perform specific tests such as skin prick tests or blood tests.

Therefore, if you suspect a PG intolerance or allergy, it is advised to consult healthcare professionals, especially as PG is present in many everyday products. This will help ensure a correct diagnosis and guide you in making the right adjustments to your vaping habits.

What should I do about my PG sensitivity?
If you suspect you have a PG sensitivity, there are a few steps you can take. To start with, consider switching to high VG or 100% VG E-Liquids and monitor for any improvement in symptoms. VG is generally better tolerated, and shifting to 100% VG E-Liquids could mitigate adverse reactions.

However, remember that PG intolerance can occur even after months of vaping without initial issues. This indicates that sensitivity to PG can build up over time, and simply switching to high VG E-Liquids might not be sufficient.

If your symptoms linger, taking further action becomes important. This includes visiting a healthcare professional to explore potential PG sensitivity or other causes. Persistent symptoms could be a sign of a more severe intolerance or allergy, and professional help should be sought to manage it effectively.

Vaping and PG Intolerance

Understanding propylene glycol intolerance is merely one piece of the puzzle. Selecting the right ratio for your E-Liquid can be a huge step in resolving propylene glycol sensitivity.

Vaping the wrong PG/VG ratio, such as an E-Liquid with a high PG ratio, can be dire for those with an intolerance. It is vital to know what kind of E-Liquid is best for your body.

We have a complete guide to VG/PG ratios, for those who need a better understanding of what is in their E-Liquid.

Let’s explore further into adjusting your E-Liquid and exploring PG-free vaping options.

Adjusting Your E-Liquid
If you’re experiencing discomfort while vaping an e cigarette, switching to a lower PG ratio or an 100% VG E-Liquid can minimize side effects.

However, keep in mind that VG is less effective at carrying flavours compared to PG. This means that 100% VG E-Liquids may have a milder and less distinct taste. This is a trade-off that you might have to consider while choosing your E-Liquid.

Ultimately, it’s about minimizing discomfort while maximizing your pleasure. The right E-Liquid is one that lets you enjoy your vaping experience without causing any adverse reactions.

PG-Free Vaping
For vapers seeking an alternative to traditional E-Liquids containing propylene glycol, 100% VG E-Liquids would be our recommendation. Completely free of PG, these E-Liquids utilize a pure vegetable glycerine (VG) base, making them ideal for individuals with PG sensitivities, allergies, or intolerances.

The absence of PG results in a thicker consistency, which may require specific equipment and techniques for optimal usage. Sub-ohm vape kits with low coil resistances are ideal for high-VG E-Liquids to prevent dry hits and a burnt taste

Vegetable Glycerin, characterized by its slightly sweet taste and considerably thicker consistency compared to PG, serves as an effective emulsifier in vape juices, and is generally recognized as safe by the USFDA.

Furthermore, the thicker nature of VG minimizes leakages from tanks, enhancing the practical benefits of its use in E-Liquids.

For vapers in the UK seeking all-natural options, a brand called Frugi stands out as the sole company producing E-Liquids free of artificial additives. Their Frugi All-Natural range, sweetened with stevia and made exclusively with natural flavourings, offers a pure vaping experience for those prioritizing low toxicity ingredients..

Also, look out for some E-Liquids marketed as ‘Max VG’ which means they contain only very small amounts of propylene glycol.

Note: It’s currently not possible for UK-made E-Liquids to be certified as organic. As a result, 100% VG E-Liquids made in the UK (like Frugi) cannot claim to be organic, even if they meet the criteria.

Consulting Healthcare Professionals
Sometimes, self-management may not be enough, especially in the event of a severe allergic reaction to PG, such as anaphylaxis, which can include difficulty breathing, facial or throat swelling, and a rapid drop in blood pressure. In such cases, immediate medical attention is necessary.

For individuals identified with a severe allergy to PG, we recommend the following:

·Carry an epinephrine auto-injector (EpiPen) for emergency use upon accidental exposure.
·Engage in continual symptom surveillance.
·For vapers, switch to 100% VG E-Liquids.
·For immediate relief of skin irritations such as rashes, one can apply hypoallergenic moisturizer or use over-the-counter topical corticosteroids after consulting with a healthcare professional.

Consulting a healthcare professional is advised if symptoms of PG intolerance continue even after switching to high/100% VG E-Liquids to rule out other potential causes.

Keeping a detailed record of all reactions is important to present to healthcare professionals, aiding in the diagnosis and management of PG allergy. For immediate relief of skin irritations such as rashes, one can apply hypoallergenic moisturizer or use over-the-counter topical corticosteroids after consulting with a healthcare professional.

Note: We are not professional healthcare advisors. But we are experts in the e-cigarette industry, and we can give our best advice to many vapers suffering from PG sensitivity as to what your best bet is.

E-cigarettes are great for those looking to quit smoking tobacco. However, understanding PG and its potential intolerance is crucial for any vaper. Recognise the signs of intolerance, such as:

·a dry or sore throat
·skin irritation
·swollen gums
·sinus issues

Understanding these signs can be crucial in helping you take timely action, while adjusting your E-Liquids and exploring PG-free vaping options can significantly improve your vaping experience.

However, should symptoms persist for a few days or should you experience severe allergic reactions, consulting healthcare professionals becomes vital. They can provide you with a proper diagnosis and guide you in managing your PG allergy or intolerance effectively. Remember, your health comes first, and understanding your body’s reactions can help you make informed choices about your vaping habits.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is PG in vaping?
PG in vaping refers to propylene glycol, which is commonly used as a base ingredient in vape juices to create vapor when heated. It also helps carry flavourings, colorings, and nicotine for a smooth smoking experience.

Can you be sensitive to propylene glycol?
Yes, you can be sensitive to propylene glycol, and this sensitivity can manifest as skin reactions such as redness, swelling, itching, and blisters. Confirming allergic reactions may require further testing for clinical relevance.

How do you test for PG allergy?
To test for a propylene glycol allergy, patch testing is used to diagnose contact allergy, although the concentration and reading intervals still need to be determined. Propylene glycol is included in some standard patch test series.

How many people are allergic to PG?
Dermatologists estimate that PG allergy ranges from 0.8% to 3.5%, but in aqueous solution, it is more likely to cause allergy, with rates ranging from 10% to 30%.