Glycerin is kind of probably one of many oldest skincare components in existence. We’ve got documentation of it getting used for hygiene relationship again so far as the late sixteenth century. Chances are high, in case you choose up a private care product, you’ll see glycerin someplace on the ingredient record. Glycerin is such a magnificence staple, however for a very long time, nobody gave it a second thought. It was drowned out by the hype over different hydrating components regardless of being simply as efficient. Prior to now couple of years, I’ve observed glycerin getting extra recognition for the powerhouse that it’s. On this publish, I’ll break down the historical past of glycerin, why it’s so useful on your pores and skin, and the way it stacks up in opposition to different hydrating components.
What’s Glycerin, and The place Does It Come From?
Glycerin, also called glycerol, is a fatty alcohol. Individuals are typically stunned by this due to the pervasive perception that alcohol in skincare is unhealthy. That is actually solely true of drying alcohols. In reality, most of the skincare components you realize and love could be labeled 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 additional 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 fundamental corn, soy, or flax to one thing extra unique, like Karanja weed. If it may be became 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.
How Does Glycerin Profit the Pores and skin?
Glycerin is included in a category of components often called humectants (you’re in all probability already aware of hyaluronic acid, the preferred humectant). This implies it attracts water molecules like a magnet to extend water content material within the pores and skin. That is an extremely essential perform as a result of it helps forestall dehydrated pores and skin (to not be confused with dry pores and skin). Dehydration can segue into an entire host of different pores and skin points, together with wonderful traces, crepey or tough texture, and sensitivity.
The extra hydrated your pores and skin is, the higher will probably be in a position to mirror mild. This implies humectants like glycerin may assist pores and skin seem extra glowy.
In smaller percentages, glycerin can be used as a stabilizer or to enhance the feel of a product. Chemists love this ingredient as a result of it’s efficient, ample, and cheap.
Who Can Use Glycerin?
Along with being efficient, glycerin is a really innocuous ingredient. This implies virtually anybody can use it, and it’s additionally applicable for all pores and skin sorts. It’s so mild that it may be used every single day (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, you want oils to create a barrier that retains that water in. This implies 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, however mixture or dry pores and skin sorts (like Skin Types 5-9) will need to attain for one thing a little bit richer.
BTW, consuming water gained’t hydrate your pores and skin (however these three issues will).
The one time I’d advise in opposition to utilizing glycerin (or some other humectant for that matter) is in case you’re in a really dry surroundings, like an airplane. Since there’s no water within the air for the glycerin to draw, you run the danger of it pulling water away from the deeper layers of your pores and skin as an alternative.
Will Glycerin Make Me Break Out?
Since glycerin is derived from oil, some persons are involved it’s going to clog their pores or trigger them to interrupt out. This isn’t the case—you would need to apply it at a focus of just about 100% for it to change into comedogenic, and that is by no means the way it’s utilized in merchandise. Glycerin is definitely an awesome 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 one of the best hydrating, skin-plumping advantages from glycerin, flip to leave-on merchandise. This isn’t to say glycerin can’t be an awesome 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 purpose is to enhance the water content material of your pores and skin and pull in as a lot moisture as doable, a leave-on product is the way in which to go. Attempt reaching for a toner or a serum (I just like the Vitamin C&E Treatment or Skin Drink Concentrate).
Moisturizers with glycerin can be very useful. Many moisturizers will use a mixture of humectants, like glycerin, together with extra emollient components to provide the full spectrum of moisturization.
Study the distinction between humectants, emollients, and occlusives (plus, how one can discover the appropriate moisturizer on your pores and skin sort).
How Does Glycerin Stack Up In opposition to Hyaluronic Acid?
It’s simple to be seduced by the large quantity of PR hyaluronic acid has gotten over time—and don’t get me unsuitable, it’s an awesome ingredient! However this has additionally led to the misperception that it’s superior to different hydrating components. 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 essential upsides of glycerin—it’s a smaller molecule than hyaluronic acid, and it’s cheaper to formulate with. Smaller molecule measurement means it’s in a position to penetrate extra deeply into the pores and skin, which is the place will probably be only. Hyaluronic acid could be chopped up into smaller molecule sizes as nicely. However because it doesn’t begin out that approach 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 components (and the place hyaluronic acid has the higher hand), is texture. Larger-end, well-formulated hyaluronic acid tends to have a silkier texture than glycerin, which might 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, value, and client desire.
Subsequent, try my 7 favourite hydrating components (they’re all assured to provide you plumper-looking pores and skin).
Celeb Esthetician & Skincare Professional
As an esthetician skilled in beauty chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching pores and skin, educating her viewers, and constructing an award-winning line of merchandise. Her hands-on expertise as an esthetician and trusted skincare skilled has created a real-world answer — merchandise which are formulated for nine different types of skin so your face will get precisely what it must feel and look its greatest. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives across the globe, her huge real-world information and fixed analysis are why Marie Claire calls her “essentially the most passionate pores and skin practitioner we all know.”