How Do You Know If You Have PG Allergies When Vaping?

How Do You Know If You Have PG Allergies When Vaping?

Propylene Glycol, commonly referred to as PG, is a chemical non-toxic compound used in a wide variety of everyday products, from shampoos and medicines to food products. Since vaping began, nicotine e-liquid and CBD manufacturers have used both PG and VG (Vegetable Glycerin) as the base that mixes with sweeteners, extracted cannabis or nicotine depending on the type of vape juice you purchase.

As a colourless alcohol liquid, PG is slightly sweet but not as strong as VG in terms of flavour, while also creating the throat hit with nicotine that vapers love as a relatable equivalent to smoking. However, it does have some drawbacks with some vapers, who could have a potential reaction, whether that’s an allergy or an intolerance. Vsavi looks at the possible symptoms that may signify if you are allergic and what you should do next.

Symptoms of PG Allergies

There is a range of mild symptoms that can typically occur when inhaling PG, with the most common being a cough or sore throat. Other more concerning symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Itch and rashes
  • Hives
  • Other skin reactions, causing dry and flaky skin
  • Swollen gums
  • Sinus issues

Note that in most cases these are very minor allergies or reactions that often go away after the first few days of using e-liquids containing PG. But if the problem persists, it’s important to consult a doctor. Other names for PG that you may or may not find on vape e-liquid ingredients but should still be wary of include Isopropylene glycol, 1,2-Propanediol, 1,2-Dihydroxypropane and propane-1,2-diol.

What You Can Do to Combat or Prevent PG Allergies

The most obvious way to combat the problem is to not vape any PG. You can find nicotine e-liquids and CBD products that contain no Propylene Glycol whatsoever, meaning no potential skin issues, headaches, sore throat or cough. What you won’t get is the throat hit you’re used to but for the sake of your health, it’s important to do what’s best for your body. 

A patch test performed by a medical professional can quickly tell you within a few days after examination whether you’ve had an allergic reaction to PG. But as we said before there are other reasons for symptoms relating to vaping. Nicotine also produces a few varied side effects depending on the person and their reaction to nicotine. Dehydration may lead to a dry throat, which could make PG irritations more dominant. 

Therefore, it’s about testing and seeing how your body reacts to both compounds when inhaling an e-liquid. Try both together initially and then slowly remove one or reduce the amount. You could try an 80% PG- 20%VG combination first and see how you get on. If a chemical reaction still occurs, drop to a 50/50 ratio or a low PG amount. Should irritation persist after that, you probably have a tolerance or allergic reaction to PG and with conclusive testing, will need to remove it not just from vape products but check all everyday medicines, chemical products and foods that contain Propylene Glycol.


To summarise, PG can be an issue for some vapers but only around 1-2% of those who use e-cigarettes to vape CBD or nicotine e-liquids. What’s important to recognise for anybody that does react is the symptoms, how long they last and then finding a solution. If it’s related to the skin, an allergic reaction to PG is the likely cause. Or if it’s mild symptoms such as a sore throat or cough that goes away or reduces after a couple of days, you may just need to lower the PG levels.

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