Glycerin, which is also called glycerol, is polyol compound. It is a monomeric polyol or an alcohol that contains three hydroxyl groups. It is an integral component of triglycerides. It is colorless and odorless, and has a high viscosity. It has a sweet taste. It is used in several pharmaceutical preparations such as cough syrups, tinctures, and elixir. It is also used in creams and ointments as a preservative or a softening agent. It is also used in skin care products such as soaps, lotions, and body scrubs due to its ability to retain moisture. It is suitable for all skin types. Unlike other skin care products that may cost a lot, glycerin is inexpensive. However, make sure that it is used in its diluted form. Glycerin must not be used in its pure or concentrated form as it may draw moisture from the skin.
Glycerin and Skin Care
As a Humectant
A humectant is a substance that facilitates water retention. These substances are often added to other products in order to help them retain moisture. Glycerin also acts like a humectant for the skin. It is hygroscopic in nature. It has the ability to attract or draw water from air. Being a humectant, it attracts moisture from the atmosphere into the skin. Water loss due to evaporation is also minimized. This keeps the skin moisturized and nourished.
It is believed that glycerol may play a role in cell maturation. Research has revealed that glycerol is transported through aquaporin 3, a channel expressed in skin cells. The interaction between glycerol and an enzyme called phospholipase D is believed facilitate skin cell maturation. A study was conducted on mice that were genetically modified so that they didn't have the channels through which glycerol is transported. When glycerol was applied topically or given orally to them, their skin problems were alleviated to a great extent.
It is non-toxic, which makes it safe to be used as skin products that are manufactured specifically for infants and children. It is also known to be the most versatile ingredient in beauty products because it does not lose its chemical stability when mixed with other substances. It can also prolong the shelf life of a product. Unlike certain skin care products that contain chemicals that may be harsh or may cause irritation or an allergic reaction, glycerin is unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. People with sensitive skin can safely use products that contain glycerin. However, one needs to make sure that these products don't contain additives that may cause an allergic reaction.
It improves and protects dry skin by filling up the intercellular matrix and also helps in building an even skin structure. Its humectant and hygroscopic properties make it the best product for dry skin. It attracts just the right amount of moisture required to hydrate dry skin. It also creates a barrier thereby preventing loss of moisture.
How to Use Glycerin
» Glycerin is extremely good for lips that are dry, chapped or sore. It can be applied directly on the lips, especially during the winter to prevent and cure chapped lips.
» Glycerin can be added to lip balms or mixed with milk cream and applied to the lips. Also, lipsticks that contain glycerin are found be more hydrating for the lips than others.
» Glycerin is very beneficial for oily skin. It may prove beneficial in treating skin problems such as acne. It can be used as a cleanser for best results. It also has the ability to reduce or slow down the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. It also guards against bacterial skin infections.
» Glycerin can either be applied directly on the skin or can be added to a moisturizer. You can add rose water to glycerin and use this as a moisturizer.
» You can also make a face pack using glycerin to fuller's earth. Mix these ingredients and add water to make a paste. Apply this paste on your face. Once it has dried, wash it off with cold water.
Soaps, body lotions and creams that contain glycerin can be safely used as glycerin is really gentle and has no side effects when used on the skin. It is also used as a cure for skin problems like psoriasis and eczema. It can be used directly on the skin as a moisturizer or it can be added to bathwater, creams, cleansers, or lotions. The skin will always remain hydrated and look healthy with the use of glycerin.