Polyoxyethylene (POE) is a synthetic polymer manufactured from ethylene oxide. POE is also known as poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) or poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) and has the following structure:


Polyoxyethylene refers to oxyethylene oligomers and polymers of any molecular mass, and linear POEs are commercially available from 300 g/mol to 10,000,000 g/mol


PEO is a water soluble polymer widely used in cosmetics (at low molecular weights), and has similar properties to polyoxymethylene. At high molecular weight, it is a white waxy solid.


Four major classes of non-ionic surfactants have been evaluated for their ability to enhance permeation across biological membranes. These include polyoxyethylene / polyoxypropylene(Block co-polymers) along with polysorbates, polyethoxylated allyl phenols, and esters.

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