Glycerin is sort of presumably one of many oldest skincare substances in existence. Now we have documentation of it getting used for hygiene courting again so far as the late sixteenth century. Likelihood is, when you decide 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 substances regardless of being simply as efficient. Previously couple of years, I’ve seen glycerin getting extra recognition for the powerhouse that it’s. On this submit, I’ll break down the historical past of glycerin, why it’s so useful in your pores and skin, and the way it stacks up towards different hydrating substances.
What’s Glycerin, and The place Does It Come From?
Glycerin, also called glycerol, is a fatty alcohol. Persons are typically shocked by this due to the pervasive perception that alcohol in skincare is unhealthy. That is actually solely true of drying alcohols. Actually, lots of the skincare substances you recognize 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 may very well be something out of your fundamental corn, soy, or flax to one thing extra unique, like Karanja weed. If it may be was 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 substances often known as humectants (you’re most likely already acquainted with 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 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 superb strains, crepey or tough texture, and sensitivity.
The extra hydrated your pores and skin is, the higher it will likely be capable of mirror gentle. This implies humectants like glycerin may also assist pores and skin seem extra glowy.
In smaller percentages, glycerin may 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, plentiful, 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 acceptable for all pores and skin sorts. It’s so mild that it may be used on daily basis (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 simply 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 just a little richer.
BTW, ingesting water received’t hydrate your pores and skin (however these three issues will).
The one time I’d advise towards utilizing glycerin (or another humectant for that matter) is when 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 a substitute.
Will Glycerin Make Me Break Out?
Since glycerin is derived from oil, some individuals are involved it is 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 turn into comedogenic, and that is by no means the way it’s utilized in merchandise. Glycerin is definitely an excellent 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 most effective hydrating, skin-plumping advantages from glycerin, flip to leave-on merchandise. This isn’t to say glycerin can’t be an excellent ingredient in rinse-off merchandise like cleansers. As I discussed, it could 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 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 may 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, learn how to discover the appropriate moisturizer in your pores and skin kind).
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 over time—and don’t get me improper, it’s an excellent ingredient! However this has additionally led to the misunderstanding that it’s 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 important upsides of glycerin—it’s a smaller molecule than hyaluronic acid, and it’s inexpensive to formulate with. Smaller molecule measurement means it’s capable of penetrate extra deeply into the pores and skin, which is the place it will likely be only. Hyaluronic acid could be chopped up into smaller molecule sizes as effectively. However because it doesn’t begin out that approach and wishes 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. Larger-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 right down to advertising and marketing, value, and shopper choice.
Subsequent, take a look at my 7 favourite hydrating substances (they’re all assured to present you plumper-looking pores and skin).
Celeb Esthetician & Skincare Skilled
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 knowledgeable has created a real-world resolution — merchandise which are formulated for nine different types of skin so your face will get precisely what it must feel and appear its greatest. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives across the globe, her huge real-world data and fixed analysis are why Marie Claire calls her “essentially the most passionate pores and skin practitioner we all know.”