Glycerin, also know as glycerol, is a sugar alcohol that is an extremely popular ingredient that is found in many products. It has a simple molecular structure made of carbon atoms and hydroxyl groups, making it function like an alcohol group. Glycerin is an odorless, thick, gelatinous, syrupy liquid.
Functionality of Glycerin
Glycerin is a popular personal care and cosmetic ingredient, acting as a humectant with hygroscopic tendency. It’s moisturizing and healing properties are great for the skin and hair. When placed out in the open, the molecule will shift to become 80% glycerin and 20% water — this showcases it’s water attracting ability. It offers relief for skin irritation and small wounds. Glycerin also improves skin’s smoothness and moisture content.
- Humectant that attracts water for skin and hair
- Wound healing
Where to Find Glycerin
You can find glycerin in many cosmetic and personal care products. In all honesty… it’s everywhere, in almost every single product! Probably 80-90% of your products will contain glycerin. It is typically within the first few named ingredients because it is cheap, easily accessible, and it works well as a humectant.
You can also find glycerin in the pharmacy department of Wal-Mart and Target! You’ll find it labeled as Glycerin USP, which stands for U.S. Pharmacopeia.
This glycerin can be used as a demulcent for coughs, but I like to use it when my skin is lacking hydration and needs extra lubrication. It is generally very cheap! You can get a 6 oz bottle at Wal-Mart for about $4. The only downside is that straight up glycerin doesn’t have the best skin feel, but it doesn’t bother me since I know the benefits of using it.
Disclaimer: I would not use this glycerin if you are located in a dry environment or are flying. Because glycerin is a humectant and attracts water from the air or from the lower layers of the skin to the top layer, if the air is dry… it takes water from within, which leaves the lower layers lacking hydration. It would be best to use a moisturizer that contains oils and emollients for those in dryer environments and for those flying.