The safety assessment of pentylene glycol (PG) has been based on a bioavailability extrapolated from those of other 1,2-glycols or an assumed 100% absorption. To make a better safety assessment and an accurate calculation of the margin of safety (MoS), the skin penetration of PG present in a commercially available sunscreen was measured in pig skin at different exposure durations. The mass balance of PG decreased with increasing exposure durations, from 98% (1 h) to 29% (24 h) and the amount of PG detected in the skin wash decreased over time from 93% to 3%. The decrease in mass balance was attributed to an unexpected volatility of PG, which was confirmed in additional experiments. The maximum bioavailable amount of PG was 123 μg/cm2 after 24 h and was considered to be worst case scenario (10 mg/cm2 i.e. 5-fold the recommended application standard dose, 2 mg/cm2). MoS values for the application of a standard dose of sunscreen after 1–24 h exposure were 140–671 in adults and, if calculated for children ratios, 87–217 Based on the available toxicological data for PG in comparison to the amounts determined to be potentially bioavailable, PG in the test sun protection product SPF 50 + does not show any safety concerns for daily usage at the recommended dosage of 2 mg/cm2 or lower.