December 4, 2023

Glycerin is kind of probably one of many oldest skincare substances in existence. We’ve documentation relationship again so far as the late eighteenth century. displaying that it was used for hygiene. Chances are high, for those who choose up a private care product, you’ll see glycerin someplace on the inci checklist. Glycerin is such a staple within the magnificence trade, however for a very long time, nobody gave it a second thought. It was drowned out by the hype about different hydrating substances, regardless of being simply as efficient. Up to now couple of years, I’ve observed glycerin getting extra recognition for the powerhouse that it’s. On this put up, I’ll break down the historical past of glycerin, why it’s so useful to your pores and skin, and the way it stacks up in opposition to different hydrating substances.

What’s Glycerin, and The place Does It Come From?

Glycerin, often known as glycerol, is a fatty alcohol. Individuals are generally stunned by this due to the pervasive perception that alcohol in skincare is unhealthy. That is actually solely true of drying alcohols. Actually, most of the skincare substances you understand and love might be categorized as fatty alcohols! They excel at moisturizing, softening, and conditioning the pores and skin. 

Glycerin is a byproduct of the oil trade. When oil is extracted from one thing and processed, glycerin is left over. Traditionally, it was derived from further animal fats and blended with wooden ash to create cleaning soap. So far as the beauty trade goes, a overwhelming majority of glycerin now comes from plant-based sources. This could possibly be something out of your primary corn, soy, or flax to one thing extra unique, like Karanja weed. If it may be become oil, it may be a supply of glycerin. On the finish of the day, one supply of glycerin isn’t superior to the opposite since you find yourself with the identical chemical compound both means. 

How Does Glycerin Profit the Pores and skin?

Glycerin is included in a category of substances often known as humectants (you’re in all probability already accustomed to hyaluronic acid, the proverbial celebrity of humectants). This implies it attracts water molecules like a magnet to extend water content material within the pores and skin. That is an extremely necessary perform as a result of it helps stop dehydrated pores and skin (to not be confused with dry pores and skin). Dehydration can segue into a complete host of different pores and skin points, together with wonderful strains, crepey or tough texture, and sensitivity.

The extra hydrated your pores and skin is, the extra gentle it will likely be capable of mirror. This implies humectants like glycerin may assist pores and skin seem extra glowy.

In smaller percentages, glycerin will also be used as a stabilizer or to enhance the feel of a product. Chemists love this ingredient as a result of it’s efficient, considerable, and cheap. 

Who Can Use Glycerin?

Along with being efficient, glycerin is a really light ingredient. This implies virtually anybody can use it, and it’s additionally acceptable for all pores and skin sorts. It’s so innocuous that it may be used daily (and even a number of instances a day). 

No matter whether or not your pores and skin is oily or dry, ALL pores and skin sorts want water. Our pores and skin cells can’t survive with out water! The important thing right here is that after you get water into the pores and skin, it’s essential create a barrier that retains that water in. This barrier is created with lipids (aka oils), and it’s the place your pores and skin’s moisture barrier comes into play—it retains the great in and the unhealthy out. Due to this, it’s important that you just apply a moisturizer after utilizing a humectant like glycerin. Naturally oilier pores and skin sorts (like Skin Types 1-4) don’t want so as to add a lot oil and might use one thing gentle. Mixture or dry pores and skin sorts (like Skin Types 5-9) don’t produce as a lot oil on their very own, in order that they’ll need to attain for one thing richer.

The one time I might advise in opposition to utilizing glycerin (or some other humectant for that matter) is for those who’re in a really dry setting, like an airplane. Since there’s no water within the air for the glycerin to draw, you run the danger of it pulling water out of the deeper layers of your pores and skin as an alternative.

BTW, ingesting water gained’t hydrate your pores and skin (however these three issues will)

Will Glycerin Make Me Break Out?

Since glycerin is derived from oil, some persons are involved it would clog their pores or trigger them to interrupt out. This isn’t the case—you would need to apply it at a focus of virtually 100% for it to turn out to be comedogenic, and that is by no means the way it’s utilized in merchandise. Glycerin is definitely an important ingredient for breakout-prone pores and skin as a result of it may be added to acne-focused formulation to make them much less drying. 

To Get the Pores and skin Advantages of Glycerin, What Sorts of Merchandise Ought to I Use?

To get all the perfect hydrating, skin-plumping advantages from glycerin, flip to leave-on merchandise. This isn’t to say glycerin can’t be an important ingredient in rinse-off merchandise like cleansers. As I discussed, it may well enhance the feel of a product and provides it moisturizing properties. But when your aim is to enhance the water content material of your pores and skin and pull in as a lot moisture as attainable, a leave-on product is the best way to go. Strive reaching for a toner or a serum (I just like the Vitamin C&E Treatment or Skin Drink Concentrate). 

Moisturizers with glycerin will also be very useful. Many moisturizers will use a mixture of humectants, like glycerin, together with extra emollient substances to provide the full spectrum of moisturization. 

Study the distinction between humectants, emollients, and occlusives (plus, the best way to discover the correct moisturizer to your pores and skin sort). 

How Does Glycerin Stack Up In opposition to Hyaluronic Acid?

It’s straightforward to be seduced by the massive quantity of PR hyaluronic acid has gotten through the years—and don’t get me incorrect, it’s an important ingredient! However this has additionally led to the misperception that it’s far superior to different hydrating substances. On the finish of the day, glycerin and hyaluronic acid each perform as humectants and have a really related impact on the pores and skin. 

There are two fundamental upsides to glycerin—it’s a smaller molecule than hyaluronic acid, and it’s cheaper to formulate with. Smaller molecule dimension means it’s capable of penetrate extra deeply into the pores and skin, which is the place it will likely be only. Hyaluronic acid might be chopped up into smaller molecule sizes as nicely. However because it doesn’t begin out that means and desires extra processing, you’ll often find yourself paying extra for a hyaluronic acid serum that has a number of weights of hyaluronic acid.

One other distinction between the 2 substances (and the place hyaluronic acid has the higher hand), is texture. Increased-end, well-formulated hyaluronic acid tends to have a silkier texture than glycerin, which may really feel a bit sticky or cheesy earlier than it dries down.  

On the finish of the day, it actually comes all the way down to advertising and marketing, finances, and shopper choice. 

Subsequent, try my 7 favourite hydrating substances (they’re all assured to present you plumper-looking pores and skin).