Have you recently begun vaping and are experiencing some issues which are affecting your enjoyment? If so, you might be wondering whether you’re experiencing sensitivity or allergy to one of e-liquid’s ingredients or components.
The good news is that allergic reactions to PG (propylene glycol) or VG (vegetable glycerin) are fairly rare, and while they are possible, there could often be another cause of your discomfort.
When you give up smoking, you can experience symptoms which are surprisingly close to those you’d experience if you were sensitive to PG. Therefore, if you’re having symptoms like nausea, headaches and bringing up phlegm, you might not be allergic at all.
Instead, your body could just be clearing out all the toxins which the tobacco smoke has left in your body.
Another possibility is that you’re using an e-juice with too high a concentration of nicotine, or even that you’re not vaporizing the e-liquid properly.
With all of this in mind, we’ll tell you more about PG allergies as well as the symptoms and signs to look out for to determine whether or not you are actually experiencing an allergic reaction to Propylene Glycol.
If it turns out that you are, we’ll also tell you what you can do about it.
What is PG (Propylene Glycol?)
Propylene Glycol, or PG, is an odourless, colourless and virtually tasteless liquid which makes up a major component in the production of e-liquids.
Together with Vegetable Glycerin, or VG, PG is recognised as being generally safe for human consumption.
It is non-toxic and used widely in a number of foods and household products that you probably already have at home.
Usually, if you’re allergic to PG, you’d already be aware of it long before ever trying an e-juice with a PG base.
Why is PG Used in E-Juices?
When producing e-juices, PG comes in handy for several reasons. First of all, PG is ideal for suspending and carrying flavours in any e-liquid, and it does this job better than vegetable glycerin.
Secondly, PG is instrumental in providing a throat hit – something which many vapers and ex-smokers crave.
For these two key reasons, PG is widely used in most e-juices at a concentration of at least 50%.
Is It A Sensitivity To PG Or Just ‘Smokers Flu’?
It’s pretty rare to experience sensitivity or allergy to PG or VG. Therefore, if you’re experiencing any kind of discomfort from vaping e-liquids, it could well be that the problem lies elsewhere.
Only about 1 out of every 1000 people has a VG sensitivity. Around 10% of people have a slight sensitivity to PG, however, this usually only exhibits itself in the form of dryness in the throat.
The “Smokers Flu”, which is a term used to describe the signs of giving up smoking, produces a number of symptoms which are very similar to those experienced by those who have a PG sensitivity. These symptoms include:
- Coughing up phlegm
- A sore throat
- Stomach ache
- Mouth ulcers
If you’re having this kind of symptoms, it’s highly like that your body is just detoxifying itself, getting rid of all the chemicals which were found in the tobacco smoke.
It’s possible that you may also be having signs of using an e-liquid with too high a strength of nicotine.
If you’re having pain in your throat and are using an e-juice with a high nicotine concentration, you should experiment with using the same e-liquid in a lower strength of nicotine to see if you feel any differences.
Many people mistake this problem for an allergy to PG.
Since VG and PG both attract moisture, you’ll find vaping dehydrates you. This too leads to sore throats and a dry mouth if you fail to stay hydrated properly.
It’s important to always drink lots of water when you vape.
Symptoms Of A PG Allergy
There are several symptoms which could indicate a true PG allergy. These include:
- Dry Throat – about 10% of new vapers have a slight sensitivity to PG. This will cause them to have upper respiratory tract infections or dryness in the throat. The effect probably won’t be severe, and most vapers find that their symptoms disappear over time.
- A Sore Throat – around 1% of people have a stronger PG sensitivity. They will develop a painful sore throat if they use an e-liquid with a high PG content.
- Swollen Gums – if you’re using an e-juice with a high PG content and develop painful, swollen gums, this is another sign of an allergy to PG.
- Skin Problems and rashes – about one in every 5000 vapers are very sensitive to PG and have a true allergy. They will experience a range of problems with their skin which could range from severe itching to extreme dryness, hives and rashes. If you’re experiencing a rash on your neck, lips and face you should immediately stop using PG e-liquids and visit your GP.
- Sinus Problems – another common symptom of a sensitivity to PG is the development of sinus problems if using an e-liquid with a high PG content. If you feel tingling or burning in your sinuses or nose while you vape, you may be allergic to PG.
What Do I Do If I Have An Allergy Or Sensitivity To PG?
If you discover you’re allergic to PG, you don’t need to worry. It’s still possible to enjoy vaping, however you’ll need to change your vaping style.
First, you’ll have to switch to a PG-free e-liquid. There are lots of 100% VG e-liquids on the market today, so you needn’t feel restricted.
VG has a thicker consistency than PG, and its natural taste is sweet, allowing it to blend perfectly with many popular e-liquid flavours.
There are many different brands to choose from, and as long as you choose one which is reliable and reputable, you’re sure to still have a fantastic vaping experience with none of the unwanted symptoms of your PG allergy.
If you think you may be sensitive or allergic to PG, visit your doctor to get the right treatment for you.
Archy is the founder of e-cigreviews.org.uk. He is an ex-smoker and a person that loves everything related to tech world – from vape pens to tesla cars. He’s always testing newest products to give his readers up-to-date reviews.