Glycerin- Overview, Types, Effect, Roles, Benefits, Precaution

What is Glycerin?

Glycerin is the oldest moisturiser. It is a colourless, transparent, sticky liquid with a high hygroscopic effect and sweet taste. It has moisturising ingredients that work for the cosmetic and ointments. It is easy to dissolve in the water and can be used with rose water, oil or serum, etc.

In the first place, glycerin is a relatively simple component in which oxygen is added to a compound of carbon and hydrogen, and it is called glycerol in academic fields. Glycerin is also known as Glycerol. It may be found in plants, seaweeds, animals, and the human body, where it bonds to other fatty acids, is stored beneath the skin and around internal organs and is utilised for energy as needed. Glycerin is an alcohol that is utilised in a variety of products, including medications, cosmetics, and food additives. The sweet taste of glycerin makes it used as a sweetener in food and beverages. Used as a moisturiser and fabric softener, it gives the skin a moisturised and moisturised feel. It enhances water retention and protects the skin from the dryness of the outside air. It is frequently used as a raw material for coating agents such as ointments, creams, and lotions to protect and soften the skin and mucous membranes due to its moisturising and slippery qualities. For constipation enema therapy, a 50 percent aqueous solution is added to the base of suppositories.

  • Definition: In the chemical formula, glycerin is trihydric alcohol (polyhydric alcohol)
  • Physical Characteristics: The physical characteristics of glycerin are as follows: Melting point- 18.07, Boiling point-290.5, Relative density-1.2613, and Refractive index-1.4746.
  • Distribution: Glycerin is found as a glyceride in the fats and oils of animals and plants, including humans, as an ester with fatty acids in nature.

Types Of Glycerin

Glycerin is roughly classified into "vegetable glycerin" and "synthetic glycerin" depending on its raw material.

Vegetable Glycerin: Vegetable glycerin or Naturally-derived glycerin is glycerin prepared from the plant like palm nuts, coconut oil and many more. In the cosmetic world, Naturally-derived glycerin is widely used. Vegetable Glycerin is obtained by decomposing and refining vegetable oils. While it has the impression that it is naturally derived and gentle on the skin, it also has the weakness that impurities that cause deterioration are easily mixed and it is difficult to ensure purity. However, there are no safety or toxicity issues. This is cheaper than synthetic in terms of cost. Vegetable glycerin comes with a purity of 98% and more by purification, which is called high-concentration glycerin or concentrated glycerin. Well, the price of high concentrated glycerin is high in cost. It is suggested to dilute the vegetable glycerin before using it on the skin directly. 

Synthetic Glycerin: Synthetic glycerin is pharmaceutical glycerin derived from petroleum. With the petroleum word, the impression is not good for skin health. But it is not toxic and there is no problem using it. It is characterised by higher purity and fewer impurities than natural or vegetable or plant-based glycerin. Synthetic glycerin is widely used in the pharmaceutical field because it has higher purity than plant-based products and there is no concern about deterioration. If it has been used for pharmaceutical purposes, then it is safer for the skin too.


What Are The Characteristics And Properties Of Glycerin?

Glycerin is prepared from the plants. seaweeds, animals, etc. But all types of glycerin hold the same characteristics and properties. It is often added to cosmetics and toners because of its easy-to-use properties. Here are the other properties of glycerin that you should know.

  • The melting point of glycerin is extremely low, about 18 degrees celsius. The melting point of a solid is the temperature at which it turns liquid. Glycerin can be used stably as a liquid form. 
  • Glycerin is water-soluble. It easily adapts to the water.
  • Glycerin has hygroscopicity, which is a moisturising effect.
  • When combined with hyaluronic acid or collagen, the moisturising effect is enhanced and the elongation and slipperiness are improved.
  • Glycerin has a warm property. When combined with water, it produces heat. 
  • Glycerin has a small molecular weight, even less than 100 daltons.

With these properties of glycerin, it is utilised for dry skin. It has been used in many cosmetics. Such properties eliminate dry skin and keep skin firm and shiny.

Effects & Roles Of Glycerin

The role of glycerin is not limited to cosmetics. It is also used as medicine, etc. Let's talk about the effect and role of glycerin.

Glycerin as a food additive

Naturally-derived glycerin from plants and animals is used as a food additive. Glycerin has a moisturiser that keeps moisture in dried foods and sweets. It is used in chewing gum for its softness, viscosity, etc. Glycerin also prevents the crystallisation of frozen desserts. Glycerin also has a "sweetener" because it has half the sweetness of sucrose. Furthermore, since it has bacteriostatic properties, it may also be used to improve shelf life. It is widely used in foods because of its very low toxicity and high safety. Many chefs and cafes use glycerin as a special ingredient.

Glycerin used as a medicine

Glycerin is recommended for heart patients. Nitroglycerin reduces the pain in the chest and supports heart problems. Nitroglycerin is a component made by reacting glycerin with nitric acid and esterifying it. This composition of glycerin is used for the angina problem. People who have coronary artery disease should add glycerin regularly.

Glycerin is also used as an enema at a concentration of 30% to 50%. This is because glycerin has the effect of safely stimulating the large intestine and encouraging peristalsis. It also dissolves in the faeces and softens them due to its high osmotic pressure and water absorption, making the stool slick and aiding evacuation.

Glycerin is also used as a base for eye drops and patches.

Glycerin as a cosmetic ingredient

Glycerin is the basic ingredient for cosmetic products and toners. You will find glycerin or concentrated glycerin words on every cosmetic product. It has high water absorption that boosts the effect and function of moisturising by adsorbing water for better skin. Every lotion, ageing care cream, etc contains glycerin as an important ingredient. In addition, glycerin is less irritating, meaning it does not cause any problems to sensitive skin, dry skin or even oily skin. Glycerin is suitable for all types of skin.

Glycerin is the best ingredient to prepare warm cosmetics. As said, glycerin has the property to generate heat when mixed with water and in the cosmetic world, it is used for warm cosmetics. Many warm cosmetics utilise this effect of glycerin and have a high concentration. Such products contain glycerin instead of water. Also, "hot cleansing," which uses the heat-generating effect of glycerin, is a popular cleansing agent these days. If you use a lot of these warm cosmetics at once, they may become excessively hot, so use them with caution.

What Is The Effect Of Glycerin?

Glycerin has been proven to have a variety of effects, including easing constipation, and diuresis, and providing a high level of moisturization. It is frequently employed as preparation for enemas, diuretics, intracranial pressure-lowering medicines, ointments, and wetting agents in the pharmaceutical industry, but it is also predicted to have a variety of cosmetic effects.

The moisturising effect of this chemical in cosmetics is something we'd like to focus on. Glycerin not only prevents water from evaporating but also pulls water from the environment, bringing moisture to the skin. Glycerin also penetrates deep into the stratum corneum since each molecule is so tiny. It also helps to moisturise the skin's interior (weapon layer) and boost the skin's barrier function. It's worth noting that it's long-term. While hyaluronic acid is a well-known fast-acting moisturising component, glycerin has been found to provide a longer-lasting moisturising impact.

Glycerin is also used in massage creams and cleansing agents because it has a soothing impact on the skin and a warming action that generates heat when it comes into contact with water.

Glycerin created by diluting 95 percent or more concentrated glycerin to roughly 84 to 87 percent is commonly used, although the higher the concentration, the more hygroscopicity, water retention, and penetrating power it has. Medical grade 99 percent pure glycerin with few contaminants, for example, has an excellent moisturising impact on dry skin and rough skin. It restores hydration to the skin, leaving it smooth and moisturised.

Glycerin Benefits

Let's jump to the amazing health benefits of the glycerin

Moisturising Effect: It is one of the most important features of glycerin. It has strong hygroscopicity which makes it perfect to provide moisture to the skin. Due to its moisturising ingredient, it is used in lotion, cream, etc. Glycerin can retain the water or moisture to the skin from the environment. It goes well with other ingredients like hyaluronic acid and gives better skin health.

Suppress Rough Skin: Glycerin can also help to smooth out rough skin. Rough skin, such as cracks, is assumed to occur when the amount of water contained in the stratum corneum( which is located on the outermost side of the skin) drops by 10% or less due to the impacts of UV rays and dryness. Glycerin has a moderate viscosity that gives a moist feeling to the skin and reaches the stratum corneum. It moisturises the skin with its high water absorption and suppresses rough skin. Glycerin is suitable for all skin types.

Warm The Skin: Mostly glycerin is used in the winter season, due to its warm properties. Glycerin generates heat when dissolved in water. Glycerin does not contain water, but when you use it over the skin. It reacts to the water and air to gently warm it up. WIth moisturising effect, glycerin also has a relaxing effect and promotes healthy blood circulation.

Healing Properties: Glycerin has the properties to speed up the healing process. It promotes the natural maturation of the skin cells. From old times, glycerin has been used on wounds, scratches or blemishes. The consumption of pure glycerin is also effective to speed up the healing in the body. 

Digestive System: Glycerin is used to stimulate the digestive system as well as a bowel movement. It is used as a laxative in the form of an enema. People suffering from constipation also prefer to use glycerin in their diet. This glycerin-rich delivery irritates the anal mucosa, causing the bowels to take in more water (hyperosmotic action), resulting in a smooth bowel movement.

Provide Hydration: Glycerin is perfect to prevent dehydration. The body part or skin exposed to the sun or external environment regularly causes loss of water to that area. Using glycerin provides hydration and protects the skin against drying out. After all, we're made up of more than 70% water, so being hydrated is critical.

Immune System: The use of glycerin is not limited to the skin, it is also good for the immune system. It boosts the protection of the skin from the harmful irritant toxins, and pathogens that degrade the immunity in the body. Hence glycerin helps to protect the immune system.

Cerebral Edema: Cerebral Edema is a condition where fluid is stored in the brain and causes stroke, tumour, etc. Glycerin helps in Cerebral Edema and prevents the accumulation of fluid. It relieves the brain from pressure. 

Physical Endurance: For years, Glycerin is given to athletes and sportsmen before they participate in sports to keep them hydrated for as long as possible. It also keeps their body temperature stable by reducing urine volume and increasing their sweating rate. Overall, it results in increased endurance and improved performance.

How Safe Is Glycerin?

Glycerin is a chemical that may be consumed as a food additive or used as an enema or lubricant in the body. It's been around for almost 50 years and is occasionally used to moisturise the skin of babies and adults. Skin issues may arise depending on the concentration of glycerin and other substances, so make sure about the concentration and your skin type.

What are the precautions when using glycerin?

As we know, glycerin is a famous beauty product. But if it is used improperly, it may cause problems to the body. Here are some precaution points that you should know when using glycerin.

Amount of glycerin: A right amount of glycerin is extremely important since it has highly hygroscopic properties. When there is a high concentration of glycerin over the skin, it will absorb the moisture of your skin as well as the moisture of the atmosphere, and there is a risk that it will dry out. Be careful when using glycerin content exceeding 10%. You can use more when using with another ingredient. 

Store tightly: It is important to store the glycerin tightly. If you forget to tighten the glycerin bottle, air will pass and the concentration of glycerin will decrease by absorbing the moisture. The initially viscous liquid changes further and the effect when used is significantly diminished. You can also check the storage method on the label.

Do not apply directly to the skin: It is not suggested to use high-quality glycerin directly to the skin. As said, glycerin has warm properties. Pure vegetable glycerin is super warm in nature. It is always suggested to use glycerin with rose water, oil and something else.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) on Glycerin

By using glycerin at night, you can keep the concentration of glycerin thick as well. Prepare a mixture of glycerin with some lemon juice. Apply it on the face or skin and wash it in the morning.

If you want to use glycerin for skin lightening, then mix some drops of pure vegetable glycerin with lemon and rose water. Keep rosewater quantity good about 20ml with 5 drops of glycerin. Use this mixture every day with your fingertips. You can give a light massage to your face with it.

There are two types of glycerin. You can apply glycerin to the skin for skin health or drink it for body improvement. It provides hydration to the skin and improves heart function.

It is ideal to use glycerin all over the skin or body. After washing your body, you can apply glycerin with a cotton pad or directly by hand. Make sure to dilute pure glycerin with some oil, toner or something.

Do not use glycerin as a pure form on your face directly. Dilute it with some oil or rose water. Wash your face, Apply a layer of glycerin mixture. Keep a thin concentration of glycerin to use over the skin.

Glycerin is made from natural components like vegetable oil (coconut oil, palm oil, etc) or animal fats. Well, synthetic glycerin is also available in the market.

The main purpose of glycerin is to use for skin health. It is also used in food addiction, heart problems, cosmetics and many more. Glycerin is prepared from a natural source or Synthetic. Naturally is good for the skin and synthetic glycerin for the heart and digestive problems.

No, glycerin is not hazardous to human health. It is safer to use on the skin or drink orally. It is non-toxic and improves many health benefits to the body.

No, glycerin does not cause the skin to be dark. It provides moisture to the skin and protects the— skin cell from getting damaged.

Vaseline is petroleum jelly, derived from petroleum. But glycerin is derived from vegetable and animal oil. In addition, glycerin is a type of alcohol and vaseline is a saturated hydrocarbon.

Yes, coconut oil contains natural glycerin. Plant-based glycerin is prepared from the oil of coconut, palm shea butter and other plant oils.

Glycerin is prepared from coconut oil. But the concentration and viscosity are different in coconut oil and glycerin. There is no problem to use coconut oil instead of glycerin but the health benefits and moisture effects may vary.

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