Have you heard of glycerine? Whether you have or not, you might be surprised to learn that it is one of the most used ingredients in the cosmetics industry. In fact, according to the Cosmetic Ingredient Review, it was the third most popular ingredient (after water and fragrance) used in cosmetic products in 2014. At this point, you might be curious as to what glycerine actually is.
Keep scrolling to discover all there is to know about this extremely common skincare ingredient.
Glycerine, which is sometimes called glycerol, is a natural compound that is derived from vegetable oils. You wouldn’t think much of it if you saw it, as glycerine is typically clear, odourless, and colourless. It has a syrup-like consistency and a sweet taste. But when it comes to your skincare routine, you’ll be less concerned with its taste and more concerned with the amazing benefits it can have for your skin.
First and foremost, glycerine is a godsend when it comes to moisture retention. It is frequently cited as one of the most powerful humectants on the market. A humectant is a substance that can draw moisture from the air and help your skin keep that moisture in, which is especially important for people with dry skin or those who live in colder climates. (This property might sound familiar as hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid, and sorbitol are also all humectants.) The result
is a soft, supple, hydrated complexion. Second, products with glycerine can smooth the skin, preventing it from becoming dull and rough as it naturally does with age. Glycerine will help fill in any tiny cracks that emerge, helping to even out your complexion. Third, this vegetable derived compound can improve your skin’s natural barrier, in turn, helping to better protect the outermost layer of skin from external damage caused by pollution or the sun. Lastly, we love glycerine because it is sort of like a form of natural medicine for the skin, whereby it can quickly heal any wounds or skin conditions. Do you have a scrape or a bruise on your body? Glycerine- based products can help repair the infected tissue and speed up the cell regeneration process.
Similarly, it can also act as medication for fungal infections, such as eczema or psoriasis.
Overall, vegetable glycerine is generally considered safe to use. In fact, it is suitable for almost all skin types as research has indicated that glycerine is able to mimic the skin’s natural moisturising factor (NMF). That said, dermatologists do advise those with sensitive skin or allergies to start with a patch test, as products that contain the ingredient can cause an allergic reaction in some cases.