GLYCERIN: The underrated hero ingredient in skin care

GLYCERIN: The underrated hero ingredient in skin care

Original Author: Fira Syafiqah

Have you ever come across this ingredient in your skincare product? If you haven’t go and check. You will notice ALMOST ALL of your cosmetics product, be it skincare, hair care or personal care, glycerin usually comes after Aqua in the full ingredients list but this ingredient is still never getting the spotlight although it has done a great job in hydrating your skin!

What is Glycerin?

Naturally-occuring in all animals and plant matter in combined form glycerides in fats and oils or in intracellular spaces as lipids. In literature, glycerin is known as glycerol. In cosmetics industry, glycerin can be either derived from plants or animals and synthetic glycerin is usually formed from non-triglyceride sources. 

Glycerin is reported to function in cosmetics as a denaturant; fragrance ingredient; hair conditioning agent; humectant; oral care agent; oral health care drug; skin protectant; skin-conditioning agent – humectant; and viscosity decreasing agent.

Among all, glycerin is best known for its hydrating effect it gives to the skin despite being a “cheap” ingredient. It is known for its ability to retain moisture while also preserving the overall properties of the product at hand. People with dehydrated skin will need this ingredient to address their skin concern.

Fun Facts about Glycerin

Little did you know, this underrated humectant has recorded a pretty much history in the skincare world. In 2014, glycerin was the third most frequently reported ingredient in VCRP database (after water and fragrance).

On top of that, glycerin was reported to be used in 15,654 cosmetic products where, 

  1. 10,046 are leave-on products
  2. 5441 are rinse-off products
  3. 167 products are diluted for the bath.

These uses include

  1. 862 products for use near the eye
  2. 160 lipsticks
  3. 369 hair dyes and color
  4. 1259 bath soaps and detergents
  5. 7756 skin care products
  6. 244 suntan preparations
  7.  125 baby products. 

Maximum Concentration

Being widely used in cosmetic ingredient and even the second one up in the ingredients list, this ingredient has also its maximum concentration used in skincare product to avoid from irritating the users’s skin.

Glycerin is reported to be used at up to

  • 78.5% in leave-on products
  • 68.6% in rinse-off products
  • 47% in
    products diluted for the bath
  • 21% in baby products
  • 40.6% in eye lotions
  • 25% in perfumes
  • 47.3% in hair grooming aids
  • 68.6% in oral hygiene products
  • 78.5% in body and hand skin care products
  • 17.9% in suntan

Why Glycerin is underrated?

When talking about powerful humectant, people will always highlight Hyaluronic Acid as the key ingredient more than Glycerin although Glycerin was the second ingredient up in the full ingredients list. Both of them are undeniably provide intense hydration for your skin, leaving a plump and bouncy skin for an all-day healthy glow.

Generally, many products contain both glycerin and hyaluronic acid (just like our Brightening and Hydrating Facial Serum – BHS as well as our Repairing and Soothing Facial Serum). Till now, there are no research published on which ingredient is superior over the other but chemists do believe in the fact that the combination of both hyaluronic acid and glycerin in one formulation could provide more intense hydration as well as minimise the stickiness related to glycerin as it is more sticky and heavy as being a single ingredient only.

Glycerin is way cheaper than any form of hyaluronic acid but the hydrating effect it gives to the skin is so powerful that people don’t have any problem to include it in any formulation. Despite being cheaper, that does not imply that it is less effective than hyaluronic acid. Brands tend to highlight hyaluronic acid as the key ingredient because it is thought to be a more “premium” ingredient by consumers. Hence, most of brands can increase the price because of Hyaluronic Acid “premium” title. 

When talking about production costs, glycerin is way cheaper to synthesize as the production process only involves a simple chemical reaction by breaking apart triglycerides – the major component of vegetable oil. On the other hand, hyaluronic acid is more difficult to produce as the process requires biofermentation.

With this entry, we hope people will get clearer idea that glycerin is also powerful but people tend to not highlight it as it might not sound as premium as hyaluronic acid. No one is superior over the other. It’s up to personal preferences but we do believe hyaluronic acid and glycerin work in synergy as hydrating squads to give your skin an all-day hydration.

SHOP our Brightening and Hydrating Facial Serum (BHS) and Repairing and Soothing Facial Serum (RSS)  through our website now. 

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