Because of its properties for moisturizing, cleansing, and soothing the skin, it’s no wonder why glycerin is such a prominent part of many of the skin care products that you use. Found naturally in vegetable oils, and also made as a byproduct of soap making, this ingredient is a type of sugar alcohol.
What Does Glycerin Do?
There are many uses for glycerin as it has so many benefits for your skin as well as your hair. First, it helps your skin absorb and retain moisture. A humectant (or hygroscopic in nature), glycerin helps take moisturize from the environment and lock it into the skin. It is important that your skin stays properly hydrated so that it doesn’t become dry and cracked, weakening the skin and possibly leading to skin wrinkles and fine lines.
Glycerin improves the skin’s outer layers, creating a barrier that locks in moisture by enlarging the thickness of your epidermis. This keeps hydration in while protecting against outside factors from your environment such as dirt, polluted air, and other free radicals.
There are also antioxidant properties, as it helps to remove dead cells from the skin which can clog pores. Glycerin breaks down the proteins that hold the skin’s cells together, preventing them from clumping which slows the process of ridding your skin’s layers of dead cells.
Another touted feature of glycerin is its healing powers. By promoting cell growth and maturation, glycerin has been used to fight infections like psoriasis and eczema. It does this by quickening the repair of skin cells and reducing bruising in skin tissue that has become infected.
Uses of Glycerin
Because of all of the properties described above, it’s obvious that you will find this substance in a wide range of products in the skin care market. Most commonly it is found in soaps to make it more mild and gentle and keep it from drying out the skin after washing and scrubbing.
It is also a prominent part of most facial cleanser products you will find. Good for use on both dry skin or oily skin, it is powerful in removing dirt and oils from the skin as well as removing makeup.
Obviously, with all the moisturizing properties previously mentioned, it is also an important ingredient in skin moisturizers and body lotions. It also is found, to a lesser extent, in cosmetics and lip balms.
Risks of Glycerin
When used as an ingredient in skin care products, this is generally a safe substance regardless of your skin type. It is noted, however, that in its pure form it can lead to a few issues. When used in hot and dry weather it can have the opposite effect of actually causing your skin to lose moisture. It is also advised to avoid pure glycerin in personal lubricants, as it can lead to yeast infections in women. Be sure to always seek glycerin in a diluted form, rather than pure form, to avoid any adverse reactions such as redness, itching or rashes.