Let’s talk skincare ingredients people. Turn over to the ingredient list of 90% of the products out there and you are likely to find something very close to the top of the list: Glycerin. We’re all putting this bad boy on our face in one form or another so it’s about time we know what it is and how it’s effecting our skin. Read on to find out more!
What is Glycerin? Glycerin is a humectant that is naturally present in all animal and vegetable fats. Let’s back up because you’re probably saying, that’s awesome, but what’s a humectant? Excellent question! Humectants are ingredients that attract water to the skin and then hold onto it. You’ve probably heard of the buzz word, Hyaluronic Acid. This is another example of a humectant.
So why is glycerin such a great humectant? It occurs naturally in our own bodies, so it's easily absorbed by the skin. And it not only draws water to your skin but then balances the water amounts between the air and in the skin. There’s no doubt this can be a serious help to hydrating your skin! But here are a couple cautions to consider.
For one, humectants are great when they pull water form the surrounding air. But, in their pure form, they can pull water from the deeper layers of the skin to hydrate the skin on the surface. This can lead to worse dryness later on. Fear not, skincare products never use glycerin in its purest form, but usually a concentration. However, this is good to keep in mind before you’re headed for the natural foods store to pick up pure glycerin and slather it on your face.
Another factor to consider is comedogenicity. This is a large word with a simple definition. The Comedogenicity of a ingredient will tell you how likely that ingredient is to clog your skin. For example, jojoba oil has a comedogenicity rating of 0 while Coconut Oil has a comedogenicity rating of 4. If you have very tight, dry pores this will not be a huge factor for you. But those of you out there with oily skin need to keep the “clogging” factor in mind.
Glycerin has a comedogenicity rating of 0 but in other forms, it may be clogging. So if you see Glyceryl Stearate (with a rating of 3) you may want to steer clear.
Overall, Glycerin can be an excellent hydrating additive to your skin care routine. So happy shopping!