In the realm of moisturizing ingredients for skincare, there exist the prominent players you’ve likely encountered — such as hyaluronic acid, shea butter, and squalane — that receive prime placement in product names and on labels. However, there is another underrated moisturizing ingredient that performs just as admirably for your skin. Allow us to introduce you to glycerin, a hydration ingredient that is extremely common yet often overlooked. It’s about time we shine a spotlight on this unsung hero.
Are you puzzled by the name and wondering what exactly glycerin is and how it aids in treating dry skin? You’re not alone. Ahead, leading dermatologists explain the virtues of glycerin and what you should know about incorporating it into your skincare routine.
What Is Glycerin?
Glycerin is a colorless and odorless sugar alcohol that can be sourced from animals or plants or derived synthetically from petroleum. This is explained by cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Michele Green, based in New York City. It is a prevalent ingredient in numerous personal care products and is also used to add sweetness in food. In the realm of beauty, glycerin derived from plant oils, also known as vegetable glycerin, or from sources like cane sugar and soybeans is most frequently used, according to Dr. Green.
The Advantages of Glycerin for Skin
How does glycerin assist with dry skin? The key lies in moisturization. Glycerin functions as a humectant, which means it draws in moisture from the environment into the outermost layer of your skin and retains it there. This is elucidated by dermatologist Dr. Kenneth Howe, M.D., based in New York City. It performs this task so effectively that it is often referred to as a “moisture magnet,” as noted by Dr. Green. In fact, when applied topically, glycerin operates similarly to the substances found in the skin’s outermost layer and aids in strengthening the skin barrier, ensuring it remains healthy and well-hydrated, she adds.
Glycerin is also a common ingredient in nourishing lotions and creams, such as Gloves in a Bottle for hands or O’Keeffe’s for Healthy Feet.
It is additionally included in certain body lotions with retinol and can even be discovered in deodorants.
Despite glycerin being utilized as a potent moisturizer, the skin-care component is still highly lightweight (interpretation: It won’t feel burdensome or greasy on your skin) and is non-comedogenic, which means it won’t obstruct your pores. You’ll also discover it in a variety of facial products, such as the soothing Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask.
Another astounding advantage of glycerin? It’s also secure enough for sensitive skin types. “Glycerin is marvelous because it doesn’t obstruct pores and is also exceedingly mild, making it fitting for all skin types,” says Chicago dermatologist Emily Arch, M.D. In other words, regardless of whether your complexion is oily, acne-prone, dry, or sensitive, you can feel secure utilizing glycerin.
How to Employ Glycerin
Glycerin is found in most moisturizers, where it’s often combined with other potent constituents that aid in trapping its hydrating advantages in the skin, elucidates Dr. Arch. Her selection: EltaMD Barrier Renewal Complex (Buy It, $56, dermstore.com), which leaves skin extraordinarily silky and supple and possesses the additional benefit of reducing redness, she indicates. Dr. Howe also suggests the Glossier Hydrating Face Moisturizer (Buy It, $24, glossier.com) because it contains glycerin and hyaluronic acid.
Another everyday skin-care product that showcases glycerin? Your cleanser. In facial cleansers, glycerin operates by upholding the moisture of your skin and safeguarding against irritation and dryness, notes Dr. Howe. Give a try to La-Roche Posay Toleriane Hydrating Facial Cleanser (Buy It, $13, dermstore.com), a go-to for both Dr.
Arch and Dr. Green, who admire the soft but impactful formula.
Glycerin: The Versatile Skincare Solution
Glycerin is an incredible product that can be utilized on the entire body. If you have dehydrated skin anywhere on your body, it’s highly recommended to have Aquaphor Healing Ointment (Purchase It, $6, target.com) readily accessible. This can effectively address dry and chapped lips, as well as soothe burns and sores, according to Dr. Arch.
If you examine the ingredient list of any skincare product you currently use, you’ll likely find glycerin included. However, if you want to truly experience the advantages of glycerin, you can directly purchase vegetable glycerin (Purchase It, $4, walmart.com) and apply a small amount to extremely dry areas or cracked spots like elbows and heels.
Glycerin is a universally admired and effective hydrating ingredient suitable for everyone. Fortunately, it’s likely already present in your current skincare products. However, if it’s not, make sure to acquire it promptly.