Ever heard of Glycerin? And no, we’re not talking about the sweetener used in your food, but the glycerin found in skincare. It's probably the main ingredient in a lot of the products you'll find in your bathroom cabinet, mainly cleansers and moisturizers. But what does it do, and what are the benefits of using glycerin?
Glycerin is a humectant (see our previous blog to find out more about these) which can be used on all skin types, including oily skin. It’s often used to treat oily skin conditions, like acne, skin infections, and wrinkles. It’s considered a humectant because it draws moisture to the skin, from lower layers, and from the humidity in the air around you. It's also an emollient, meaning it causes the skin to be softer and smoother to the touch.
A lot of beauty products have glycerin in them already, (also known as glycerol) but you can buy and apply pure glycerin straight on to the skin, too. Here are the main benefits of using glycerin:
This one may seem obvious, but it acts as a very effective moisturizer. As a humectant, it causes your skin to absorb water from the air around, reducing dry and dull skin. This means it’s a great product to have in winter, when the air can be dry and heating causes the skin to lose vital moisture. It will also work as an anti-inflammatory, so any rough dry skin or eczema will be improved with glycerin.
By acting as an emollient, glycerin will not only keep your skin moist, but it’ll also be soft and supple. This means your skin will look healthier, giving you a youthful glow and even skin tone.
By attracting water from the air around you, glycerin can retain water in the skin and minimize water lost through evaporation. This keeps your dermis hydrated on an intercellular level.
Studies have shown Glycerin is an effective antibacterial agent. It's been suggested that by using glycerin on wounds, there was less bacterial growth and a better healing outcome.
It has also been proven that on the treated wounds, there are fewer myofibroblasts. These are the cells which help heal wounds, and an overproduction of the myofibroblasts cause scarring, so by using glycerine, you can minimise any scarring occurring.
Glycerin makes your epidermal layer (the top layer of your skin) thicker and more resilient. It means that it keeps harmful chemicals and environmental elements away from the skin, and locks the moisture in. When the barrier is damaged, it can leave skin prone to inflammatory problems, such as psoriasis and eczema.
Because it’s gentle on your skin and very moisturizing, glycerin can be used for dry skin anywhere on your body, including your feet and hands, to keep cracked heels at bay and to soften your cuticles.
Whether you suffer from dry or oily skin, including glycerin in your skincare routine is highly recommended. Many variables can dry our skin out, so keeping your skin protected and moisturized is key for a great complexion. Look out for glycerin in your skincare products, and apply every morning and night.