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Glycerin Skin Benefits: How to Use

By: Christina Davies
Updated on: August 16, 2023

Hyaluronic acid often takes the spotlight when discussing hydration superheroes in the skincare realm. 

But allow us to introduce you to its equally potent yet less glamorous sibling – Glycerin. 

It might already be cozying up in your skincare products, quietly working its magic. 

Let’s embark on a journey to understand the world of Glycerin, guided by the wisdom of skincare experts.

What Is Glycerin?

Glycerin isn’t just a fancy term to toss around – it’s an essential element that deserves a place in your skincare glossary. 

Imagine Glycerin as a magnet for moisture, beckoning it from the air into the top layer of your skin, called the stratum corneum. 

Now, here’s where it gets intriguing. Glycerin isn’t content with surface-level engagement with a molecular weight of around 92 g/mol. 

It delves deep into the skin, reaching the dermis and continuing its moisture-pulling mission. 

Skincare specialist Polowyj says, “Glycerin works as a humectant, attracting moisture and replenishing the skin’s hydration.”

So, what’s the source of this skin-saving ingredient? Dr. Engelman highlights its origin: “Glycerin is a naturally occurring compound in the body. In skin care, we derive it from plants.” 

Benefits of Glycerin for Your Skin

Picture this: Your skin is dehydrated, yearning for a surge of hydration. Enter Glycerin, the reliable companion that comes to the rescue. 

As Polowyj eloquently says, “Cosmetic chemists incorporate glycerin into most formulations due to its unparalleled moisturizing process.” Dry, dehydrated, or cracked skin? Glycerin is your ally, bestowing moisture wherever it’s needed.

Moreover, Glycerin is like a shield against the harsh onslaught of products on your skin. 

Polowyj reveals its secret life in pharmaceutical creams endorsed by doctors to address extreme dryness and restore skin elasticity. With the prevalence of abrasive cleansers that strip away natural oils, glycerin steps in to maintain the skin’s suppleness, preventing moisture loss.

A key differentiator between glycerin-based and non-glycerin-based products lies in their function. Oils and serums seep through the skin barrier, getting absorbed. 

On the other hand, products enriched with Glycerin embrace the skin’s outer layer, bolstering the protective barrier. These products keep water from escaping the skin, allowing natural oils to nourish and repair.

Side Effects of Glycerin

Amid the beauty buzz, Glycerin stands as a beacon of safety. There’s no record of adverse effects when used as a skincare ingredient. 

However, like with any product, allergies or irritation are a remote possibility. But for the most part, Glycerin takes center stage as a super-safe skincare component.

How To Use Glycerin

Glycerin’s versatility knows no bounds – it’s the jack of all trades that complements every step of your routine. 

From the moment you wake up to your nighttime ritual, Glycerin can find a spot.

Glycerin is often already blended with other ingredients, forming the base of moisturizers or other skincare concoctions. 

While dabbling in DIY chemistry might be tempting, it’s best left to the professionals – cosmetic chemists who meticulously balance ingredient ratios for optimal results. So, sit back, relax, and apply your glycerin-infused moisturizer on slightly damp skin.

As a testament to this affinity, Glycerin finds its way into many skincare products – moisturizers, cleansers, serums – offering a swift route to velvety-smooth, moisturized skin sans the hassle of multiple products.

Finding the Right Concentration of Glycerin

When scanning ingredient lists, it’s like playing a game of hide and seek with Glycerin. You should spot it around the third or fourth ingredient, with a usual concentration of about 10 percent. 

I was wondering why it’s not hogging the limelight at the top? Dr. Polowyj shares the insider scoop: “Glycerin can be a tad sticky. Placing it too high on the list could affect the product’s texture.” 

So, when hunting for skincare treasures, remember that Glycerin might be a bit coy but is undoubtedly worth the chase.

Best Products of Glycerin

Let’s dive into a treasure trove of skincare products that boast the magic touch of Glycerin, delivering a nourishing embrace for your skin.

Aquaphor Healing Ointment 14 Ounce

When glycerin teams up with Aquaphor, you know you’re in for some serious TLC. 

This Healing Ointment is a masterstroke for dehydrated skin. Glycerin’s moisture-attracting prowess combines with Aquaphor’s healing touch, creating a dynamic duo that your skin will adore.

ELEMIS Exotic Cream Moisturizing Mask 

Elevate your skincare routine with ELEMIS’s Exotic Cream Moisturizing Mask, where Glycerin indulges your skin in a spa-like experience. 

This mask doesn’t just moisturize; it transports you to a realm of tranquility, leaving you with a dewy, refreshed glow that’s hard to miss.

The Ordinary Mini Natural Moisturizing Factors

In the realm of skincare, The Ordinary needs no introduction. The Mini Natural Moisturizing Factors combine the power of Glycerin with a minimalist approach. 

Don’t let the “mini” fool you – it’s a giant when it comes to delivering the dose of hydration that your skin craves.

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream 

Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream lives up to its name, and Glycerin is one of the show’s stars. This anti-aging, whole-body moisturizer is a testament to skincare wizardry. 

Let Glycerin’s moisture-retaining charm and Charlotte Tilbury’s expertise weave their magic on your skin.

Dove Intense Care 2pc Bundle 

Dove knows a thing or two about pampering, and their Dove Intense Care 2pc Bundle is a symphony of hydration. 

Enriched with Glycerin, this duo takes your skincare routine to luxurious heights. Bid farewell to dryness and embrace supple, moisturized skin – the Dove way.

Fast Facts

DefinitionGlycerin is a humectant that attracts moisture, promoting hydration and smoother skin.
Cosmetic UseIt’s widely used in moisturizers, cleansers, and serums to improve skin’s hydration.
Impact on Skin TypesSafe for all skin types, including sensitive and acne-prone skin.
Potential BenefitsMoisturizes, smoothes, and imparts a dewy appearance.
Potential DrawbacksRare allergic reactions or irritation in high concentrations.
Recommended UsageCan be used daily.
CompatibilityWorks well with other moisturizing ingredients like rose water or hyaluronic acid.
Precautions/RecsAvoid high glycerin concentrations. Do patch test for sensitivity.
Who Should UseSuitable for everyone seeking hydrated and radiant skin.
How Often to UseTopically multiple times a day.
Works Well WithOther moisturizing ingredients.
Don’t Use WithNo known interactions, but avoid high glycerin concentrations.


What does Glycerin do for the skin?

Glycerin acts as a humectant, attracting moisture from the air to hydrate the skin’s top layer and deeper dermal layers. This results in moisturized, smooth, and dewy skin that’s the envy of all.

Is Glycerin good for the skin every day?

Glycerin is good to use every day. It’s good for all skin types, so you can enjoy its hydrating benefits daily without worrying.

Is Glycerin good for skin whitening?

While Glycerin doesn’t directly lighten skin, its moisturizing prowess can improve skin tone and texture. Glycerin indirectly contributes to a more radiant appearance by keeping your skin well-hydrated and healthy.

Does Glycerin make skin glow?

Glycerin can make the skin glow with its capability to lock in moisture and maintain the skin barrier leading to a natural, healthy glow. Regular use can leave your skin looking luminous and full of life, like a radiant masterpiece.

Final Thoughts

As we bid adieu, let’s recap Glycerin’s enchantment on your skincare journey. It’s not just a moisture magnet but a humectant hero that penetrates deep into the skin’s layers, reviving hydration. 

Glycerin’s portfolio includes moisturizing might, protection against harsh elements, and prevention of moisture loss. And the best part? 

Its unassuming nature creates a haven for your skin – no known side effects, just a burst of moisture.


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