The Benefits of Glycerine in Skincare A focus on glycerine skincare products As one of those unsung heroes of the beauty industry, the many uses of glycerine can’t be praised enough. In fact, it’s an essential ingredient in a variety of personal care products, from cleansers and toners, to serums and moisturisers – as it’s a natural component of healthy skin. The original version of this article was reviewed by Corey L Hartman, MD, USA Also known as ‘glycerin’ or ‘glycerol’, this widely used skincare ingredient can be derived from vegetable or animal sources, or made synthetically. In any of these forms, it is hygroscopic (or “humectant”), which means it can draw moisture from the air to hydrate your skin and help it maintain optimum moisture levels. Other well-known humectants include hyaluronic acid and sodium hyaluronate. What is glycerine used for? There are many other beneficial uses of glycerine for face and body skin, too. These include: Helping to shield skin from environmental irritants Working with emollients and oils to soften dry skin Helping to fortify and strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier Enhancing the penetration of other ingredients into the skin’s top layers Helping to improve skin resiliency and give a more youthful appearance Glycerine is also involved in the transportation and activity of aquaporins within your skin’s surface. Aquaporins are proteins that channel the flow of vital hydrating substances (including water and glycerol) to your skin’s top layers. They play a key role in maintaining moisture balance and helping skin to feel smooth and comfortable, even in drier climates. Is glycerine good for skin? Glycerine is suitable for all skin types because research shows it mimics what’s known as skin’s natural moisturising factor (NMF). As your skin ages and is subjected to environmental stressors, its NMF becomes depleted. Whether you have dry, oily, or even breakout-prone skin, replenishing it with glycerine makes your moisture barrier more resilient. Although it may sound counterintuitive, glycerine for acne can be very beneficial. As board-certified dermatologist Dr Corey L. Hartman puts it: “Glycerine is great because it appeals to a wide variety of skin types and works well with most skin regimens. It provides light moisturization that soothes sensitive skin, relieves dryness and doesn’t clog pores.” Is Glycerine safe for sensitive skin? Glycerine has a long history of safe use for skin and is considered a non-allergenic, fragrance-free ingredient. In 2019, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel evaluated relevant data and concluded that glycerine: “is safe as a cosmetic ingredient in the practises of use and concentration” – as described in the panel’s safety assessment. The report looked at maximum-use concentrations of up to 79.2% of glycerine in leave-on products and 99.4% in rinse-off products. Making glycerine an excellent choice for even the most sensitive skin types. Learn more about skincare ingredients.