No one likes dry skin. Not only can it cause discomfort, it can become chapped, itchy and ultimately irritated and red. One way to combat dry skin is by using products with moisturising and hydrating ingredients, such as glycerin. Beside water and fragrance, glycerin is one of the most used ingredients in cosmetics.
But what is glycerin? And how is glycerin good for the skin? Read on to learn more about glycerin.
In this guide:
- What is glycerin and what does it do for skin?
- What are the skincare benefits of glycerin?
- How often can you use glycerin?
- Simple ways to add glycerin to your skincare routine
- Can glycerin be used for hair?
What is glycerin and what does it do for skin?
Glycerin, it’s a clear, colourless liquid that can be used for a variety of things, including food sweeteners and preservers, oral and topical medicines, and more.
In skincare, glycerin is a type of humectant used in skincare specifically for dry, itchy skin6a. Dry skin conditions are caused by a loss of water in the upper layer of the skin6a. Humectants work by drawing water into the outer layer of the skin.
According to a 2016 study, gylcerin is the ‘most effective humectant’. Therefore it’s frequently used in skincare, alongside other popular humectants such as hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, and alpha hydroxy acids.
What are the skincare benefits of glycerin?
There are several benefits glycerin brings to the skin. In fact, the beneficial effects of the chemical on the skin have been recognised for over 75 years.
Here are a few benefits of glycerin for skin:
Moisturises your skin
Glycerin has excellent skin moisturising properties and is often used in moisturisers to address dry, rough, flaky, and itchy skin. This is because it acts as a humectant. Humectants are substances that draw water from the lower level of the skin.
Increases skin hydration
Glycerin helps retain water in the outer layer of skin by preventing the lipids that make up your skin barrier turning from liquids to solid crystals. It can also absorb water from the air or from deeper in the skin to keep the skin hydrated.
Strengthens your skin barrier and supports skin functions
Glycerin helps to restore the skin’s protective barrier, which is your body’s first line of defence. This can help support the skin in the repairing process. Glycerin -based products are also suitable for dry skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis
How often can you use glycerin?
Glycerin is a nontoxic, non-irritating, odourless ingredient, so it can be used regularly. You should apply glycerin to the skin only. For best results, follow directions on the label carefully.
Most moisturisers work better on hydrated skin, so you should apply products with glycerin straight after washing or showering while the skin is still damp. For very dry skin, you may want to soak the area before applying the product.
Simple ways to add glycerin to your skincare routine
Looking for simple ways to incorporate glycerin into your skincare routine? Here are some skincare and cosmetic products glycerin can commonly be found in:
Hand and nail creams
Hand and nail creams formulated with glycerin can be used to target dry hands. NEUTROGENA® Norwegian Formula Concentrated Hand Cream provides instant relief from dry, chapped skin, thanks to its nourishing formula, rich in glycerin. Simply use the product every time you wash your hands and keep applying it throughout the day.
Body creams and lotions
Given its skin moisturising properties, glycerin is often found in creams and lotions4. NEUTROGENA® Norwegian Formula Deep Moisture Fast Absorbing Body Lotion, enriched with glycerin, maintains moisture levels for up to 48 hours, and protects against skin-drying environmental aggressors.
Glycerin can also be found in facial washes, exfoliators, toners, serums and masks.
Can glycerin be used for hair?
If you’re wondering if you can incorporate glycerin into your haircare routine, the answer is yes. Glycerin can also be used as a hair conditioning agent.
What does glycerin do for your hair?
It works as a humectant in products like leave-in conditioners, drawing water to the hair and improving hydration. This can be especially helpful during the winter months when dry scalp conditions lead to itching and flaking.
NEUTROGENA® T/Gel® Anti-Dandruff Shampoo for Dry Hair contains added conditioning agents, including glycerin, and works to relieve flakiness and irritation caused by dandruff, and leaves your hair feeling soft and shiny in just one step.
Glycerin can be particularly beneficial for those with thick, curly, and dry hair. This is thanks to its function as a hair conditioning agent and humectant to help keep the hair moisturised. Just make sure it suits your hair type. In humid climates, glycerin can pull too much moisture from the air and cause the hair to frizz.