Aerosol gases: their function, utility and use

An aerosol is a pressurized container that uses gas to release the liquid inside. In the past, this point has crystallized controversies and highlighted the role of aerosols in the destruction of the ozone layer.

The various international climate agreements have radically transformed our industry. The use of fluorocarbon gases that damage the ozone layer is no longer possible in most countries.

However, the aerosol industry is making progress in communicating better with the general public. The purpose of this article is to give you a better understanding of the gases we use. Where do these gases come from? In which product is their use indicated or contraindicated?


LPG – the most common

Liquefied petroleum gas or LPG is a mixture of light hydrocarbons stored in the liquid state and obtained from petroleum refining (40% of world resources) and more generally from the processing of natural gas (60% of world resources).

LPG is made up of around 80% butane (C4H10) and 20% propane (C3H8). It is a so-called clean fuel, produced by refining crude oil.

Without doubt, we have here the gas most used for aerosols. You find it in the majority of products. For cosmetics, you will find it in the INCI list with the mentions of butane and propane.

Here are some examples of known products using this gas: shaving foam, deodorants, certain hairsprays, dry shampoo.

Did you know ? LPG is also the source of energy for vehicles with an LPG engine. It is a so-called “clean” biofuel.

Inci: butane, propane


Produced by the dehydration of methanol (the simplest alcohol, also known as methylated spirits, wood alcohol), Dimethyl ether is a colorless gas used primarily as a propellant in cosmetics, and in particular in hairsprays and styling foams.

It is a more powerful propellant than LPG. It is particularly handy in hair styling products for its role as a solvent. For example, for strong or extra strong hairsprays, which use a lot of resin to fix the hair.

We also use it for its role on viscosity. Concentration in DME helps to make a product more fluid or more viscous.

We use DME as well for sunsprays, or products with a high water concentration, like hydro alcoholic spray.

Inci: dimethyl ether


Nitrogen is produced from compressed air. Machines then separate the oxygen molecules from the nitrogen molecules in gaseous form.

It is a gas that we mainly use for thermal waters. It is one of the only gases that Ecocert accepts for cosmetic products

Inci: Nitrogen

COMPRESSED AIR or BOV: the cleanest *

Thanks to the pocket valve system, we simply use compressed air as the propellant.

We use it for shaving gels, sunscreens, but also thermal waters.

This technology offers remarkable properties, when used:

– 99% emptying of the aerosol

– 360º use of the aerosol

Here too, Ecocert authorizes this technology.

Note: it is difficult to identify a BOV product by the INCI list. Since compressed air does not come into contact with the formula, it does not enter the INCI list.


BOV Filling stages

CO2 *

Most of us know this gas for its impact as a greenhouse gas. It has an application in certain specific aerosol products. CO2 is mainly present for technical or industrial products. CO2,  in low concentration with another gas such as LPG, allows a stronger diffusion. It is the case for brake cleaner for example.

Specificity for the American market – VOC and 152A

The US regulations on volatile organic compounds require gases that are different from those we use in Europe. The products with 152A gas come mainly from the USA. These are American brands that export their products to Europe.

The 152A has no drawbacks in Europe. However, conditioners in Europe use LPG more. The purchase cost of the 152A is less competitive than the purchase price of our American colleagues.

152A is the result of adding hydrogen fluoride to acetylene.


Aerosol with non-flammable gases: HFO1234ZE

Again, we are talking about marginal uses of these gases for the aerosol sector. Until recently, 134A was the long-time gas to use for these products. Because of its impact on the ozone layer, HFO 1234ZE replaces it.

With zero ozone depleting potential and a greenhouse effect potential of only six, this new product is well below the threshold of 150 imposed by European F-gas regulations

It works as a propellant in aerosol applications, including electronic cleaners, dust removers, and cleaning / disinfection products used on board aircraft.


* Compressed gas. Good to know, these compressed gases require aerosol cans one size larger. For example, for a 150ml format, you need 270cc boxes instead of 210cc.







PROERSA AEROSOLES, S.A.U. is a European market leader in aerosol filling. Since 1969, we have dedicated ourselves exclusively to contract packaging.

We make the aerosol manufacturing process easy for you. We can offer you a turnkey solution (Full-service) or simply help you with specific operations. Our services include R&D, formulation, concentrate manufacturing, filling and assembly of components.


Above all, if you are in the process of developing a new aerosol product, please read our article explaining all the key stages in the development of an aerosol and how to set up an effective retroplanning. The 5 key stages of aerosol development and effective retroplanning.


Our technical team can help you with this job. We have the knowledge and expertise to provide you with reliable service.


In the end, if you want more details about aerosol filling, we also have an ebook with all the information, techniques and tips. It is available directly on the home page in the news section.


If this article has been helpful and / or if you would like to receive more information, please contact us at We will be happy to help you.


The PROERSA team