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Is Glycerin Good for Your Skin? Yes, and It Can Do Wonders!

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Glycerin is the third most used ingredient in skincare products. It’s only natural you want to know how safe it is for your skin. Is glycerin good for your skin? Yes, and then some! According to studies, glycerin is a potent compound for skin hydration, elasticity and it plays a role in epidermal barrier repair. It even has anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory effects, according to other scientific data. So here’s all you need to know about it! 

1. What is glycerin?
  1.1 Can glycerin be vegan?
2. Is glycerin good for your skin? What are its benefits? 
  2.1 Does glycerin have side effects?
  2.2 What are the uses of glycerin?
3. Who should use glycerin-based products?
  3.1 Is glycerin safe for dry skin and cracked skin?
  3.2 If you have an oily face should you use glycerin?
  3.3 What are the effects of glycerin on aging skin?
  3.4 Is it safe to use glycerin for sensitive skin?
  3.5 Should you use glycerin for acne-prone skin?
  3.6 Should you leave glycerin overnight?
  3.7 How often should you apply glycerin?
  3.8 Can you use glycerin on your face?
  3.9 Can you use glycerin on your lips?
  3.10 Should you wash with glycerin soap?
  3.11 Is glycerin safe for skin conditions?

1. What is glycerin?

Glycerin, also known as glycerol, is an alcoholic liquid found in animal fats and vegetal oils. And when it comes to protecting and moisturizing your skin, glycerin is quite a multi-tasker. While it’s classified as a humectant, boosting the skin’s hydration, glycerin has many other benefits! In cosmetics, glycerin is used with occlusives to trap the moisture that it draws into the dermal layers. As a humectant, glycerin is considered to be even more potent than hyaluronic acid and alpha-hydroxy acids.

1.1 Can glycerin be vegan?

Glycerin results from the hydrolysis of animal fat or vegetal fat. So, yes, vegan glycerin exists and is derived from plant sources. There’s also synthetic glycerin, but we recommend you stick to natural ingredients. 

2. Is glycerin good for your skin? What are its benefits?

What are the benefits of glycerin in skincare? This syrupy ingredient was discovered in 1778. But there is evidence of Sumerians creating soap from animal fats since the third millennium B.C. At present times, there are other ways to obtain this potent skincare ingredient, without animal sacrifice. And thank the beauty gods for that! Glycerin is known to have many benefits for your skin:

  • Glycerin has humectant properties and protects the skin from environmental aggressors, inflammation, and irritation. It boosts the skin’s protective layer.

  • Due to its moisturizing properties, glycerin is effective in keeping the skin soft, supple, and hydrated. It can attract moisture from the environment and keep it in your skin. It also pulls moisture from the lower layers of the skin to the epidermis, enhancing the skin’s mechanisms of self-hydration. 

  • Glycerin has antimicrobial properties and may help alleviate certain skin conditions. It’s known to improve dry skin, acne, even wounds, eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis. Its calming effects help reduce skin discomfort.

  • Glycerin has anti-aging properties, aiding in wrinkle reduction and keeping the skin plump and firm. It can help with mature skin, since it tightens it and makes it look fresh.

  • Glycerin helps your skin maintain a smooth texture.

  • Glycerin can act as an exfoliant, helping remove dead skin cells and making your complexion more radiant and bright.

  • Glycerin is non-comedogenic, which means it doesn’t clog the pores. 

2.1 Does glycerin have side effects?

Although glycerin doesn’t have many adverse effects, it can cause irritation and blistering when not properly used. 

  • Make sure to stop using glycerin if you notice rashes, irritation, itching, or redness since this can mean you are allergic to it. 
  • If you’re not necessarily allergic to it, but it does cause irritations, make sure to dilute pure glycerin to avoid this. You can use vitamin C or Vitamin E to dilute glycerin and enhance its beautifying effects. According to studies, there is a great way to harness glycerin's powers, and that is to dilute it with rosewater. This combination hydrates the skin, shrinks the pores, and has antioxidant effects on the skin, making it appear younger and plumper. 

2.2 What are the uses of glycerin?

As already mentioned, glycerin is a humectant, aka an ingredient added to cosmetic products to help draw water into the skin. Other humectants are lactic acid and urea. You’ll often find glycerin in your skincare products along emollient ingredients such as jojoba oil, almond oil, lanolin. Together they offer what your skin needs. When it comes to glycerin, you’ll find it the majority of cosmetics because:

  • Glycerin can be used as a facial moisturizer.
  • Glycerin is potent enough as a body moisturizer. A touch of glycerin in your feet care and you’ll notice the difference.
  • Glycerin can be used as a cleanser. It purifies the skin, leaving it soft, and it doesn’t clog the pores. 
  • Glycerin can be used as a toner, making the skin plump, tight, and smooth. It leaves the skin fresh without leaving it sticky or greasy.
  • Glycerin can be used to remove make-up. It’s effective and delicate.

3. Who should use glycerin-based products?

Regardless of your skin type, glycerin can enhance your skincare routine. Here are the main benefits according to your skin type:

3.1 Is glycerin safe for dry skin and cracked skin?

Glycerin can be used in skin hydration routines. So if you have dry and cracked skin, you can benefit from its deeply moisturizing effects. Extra tip: add glycerin to your winter skincare regimen to keep away cracked skin and chapped lips. 

3.2 If you have an oily face, should you use glycerin?

Glycerin is non-comedogenic, so it will not clog your pores or worsen acne. It can help deliver moisture without causing breakouts.

3.3 What are the effects of glycerin on aging skin?

Glycerin is known to improve mature skin health. As the skin ages, it loses elasticity and becomes drier. Glycerin can boost hydration, making the skin firm and revitalized. It also helps improve wrinkles and fine lines.

3.4 Is it safe to use glycerin for sensitive skin?

Glycerin is gentle enough to calm flare-outs and it can even help with skin irritation and sensitivity in serious conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, or dermatitis.

3.5 Should you use glycerin for acne-prone skin?

Glycerin is gentle enough to handle acne-prone skin. It removes dead skin cells delicately and leaves the skin soft, smooth, and hydrated. Not to mention its anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial effects prevent irritation and breakouts. And, again: no pore-clogging.

3.6 Should you leave glycerin overnight?

If you’re using pure glycerin, you can apply it at night, before going to sleep, but only for about 15-20 minutes, otherwise it can end up drying up the inner layers of your skin and accelerate skin aging. So make sure to wash it out before going to bed. 

3.7 How often should you apply glycerin?

Products containing this active ingredient can be applied topically multiple times daily. 

3.8 Can you use glycerin on your face?

Glycerin is safe to use on your face. If you use it its pure form, make sure to dilute it, to avoid irritation. 

3.9 Can you use glycerin on your lips?

Yes! It moisturizes the lips and prevents them from chapping. It also helps with fine lines around the mouth and it keeps the skin around the lips smooth. And as a bonus: it makes a great natural lip-gloss. It works wonders when mixed with shea butter, coconut oil, or coconut butter.

3.10 Should you wash with glycerin soap?

Yes. It’s a common ingredient in soaps and body washes since it is gentle, moisturizing, and doesn’t dry out the skin. Glycerin soaps are even recommended for babies.

3.11 Is glycerin safe for skin conditions?

Glycerin has powerful effects, but is equally delicate with your skin. Its friendly nature makes it appropriate even for sensitive skin. It's one helpful option that shows improvement when treating psoriasis symptoms, for instance. According to scientific research, it can help relieve rosacea, dry skin, dermatitis (eczema), and even acne, soothing flaky, itchy, scaly, and deeply dehydrated skin. Still, glycerin is not hypoallergenic. So make sure to perform a patch test before applying it on sensitive and delicate areas. 

As you can see, glycerin is quite the pal! It mimics the skin’s natural defenses and moisturizing properties. It even matches the skin’s temperature leaving a warm feeling when applied. It leaves your skin damp and dewy without expensive costs. It’s such a potent ingredient, especially when it’s mixed with natural compounds. Make sure to stay away from ingredients such as sodium lauryl sulfate and other harsh chemical surfactants since they can diminish the effects of glycerin. Rosewater, vegetal oils and essential oils that are known for their beautification properties (rose, jasmine, tea tree) are glycerin’s best buddies.  

Iulia Claudia Dumitru

I feel happy when I get to tell meaningful stories. About people. About the world. About life. About what people need to feel good. Healthy food, a balanced lifestyle, a grateful approach to relationships with others and ourselves. That is how I keep myself grounded and purposeful. That is how I aim to contribute: striving to make ourselves the best we can. Creating life in the little things. Living every day with the joy, wonder, and curiosity of a child. Trying to #seeKbeauty. Inside and out.

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