Proof Glycerin Is The Skincare Superhero You Should Be Using

For the majority of us, daily skincare routines are something that is simply not to be missed — and with good reason — since they are our only hope of keeping acne at bay. If we do skip our skincare routine for some reason, there's a good chance that we'll see those pesky little bumps and blemishes on our faces the next day. Some of us know all too well the horror of waking up to an annoying pimple on our nose. It's bad enough when it happens on a regular Tuesday, but when it happens right before a bestie's wedding, a date, or a night out that we've been looking forward to for a long time, it can feel like the whole world is ending. So we adopt a daily skincare routine to try our best to keep the worst from happening. A good skincare routine can help keep acne and wrinkles at bay while giving you plump, glowing skin that makes you look like a million bucks. 


The most basic skincare routine goes cleanse, moisturize, and use sunscreen. Most of us religiously perform cleansing and sunscreen application; but, unfortunately, moisturizing can too often fly under the radar. In this article, we are going to be talking about this often-neglected step. More specifically, we're going to talk about a not-so-secret super ingredient that should be a part of your moisturizing routine: glycerin.

Why you should always moisturize

First, let's talk about why moisturizing is so important. Due to a multitude of reasons — ranging from climate to genetic conditions — our skin can lose some of its moisture, leading to that nightmare condition known as dry skin. This is a big no-no because, in addition to many other problems, dryness causes the skin to produce more oil, which can clog our pores and give us acne (via CeraVe). 


This issue is one that is easily avoidable through moisturizing, however. Dr. Ellen Marmur, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of MMSkincare, told Healthline: "Moisturizing your face helps to protect the skin's barrier from irritation. It also helps to reduce the development of dryness, or helps you to revive your skin from dryness."

According to Burke Williams, moisturizing can also boost the skin's ability to repair itself and replace dead skin cells, reducing its vulnerability to UV damage. Too much UV damage can make the skin more prone to the development of cancer (per Cancer Research UK); moisturizing might potentially help reduce that risk. 

So, it's important to make it a habit to moisturize our skin regularly. We believe that glycerin is best suited to help with that.


What to know about glycerin

Moisturizing techniques have evolved a lot since Cleopatra discovered the magical effect olive oil had on her skin. Even though such natural moisturizers are still being used by some people, most of them have since been substituted for more effective man-made moisturizing solutions with a mixture of ingredients that help the skin retain its moisture better. Glycerin is one such ingredient that has quite extraordinary hydrating capabilities


Glycerin, or glycerol, is a natural compound derived from plant and animal fats but can come from synthetic sources, too. It is also naturally present in our bodies. The glycerin used in skincare is usually derived from plant fats. It is also one of the most popular ingredients in modern moisturizers due to its hydrating properties. And it's not just in moisturizers; it can also be found in serums, creams, cleansers, and body lotions.

All moisturizers have three basic types of ingredients: namely humectants, emollients, and occlusives. Glycerin belongs to the first category in that list. Here's how it works.

How glycerin moisturizes your skin

Glycerin is a humectant — that is, a moisturizing agent that pulls water from the inner levels of the skin and the air around us into the outer skin. It basically grabs and holds onto moisture. Hyaluronic acid is another such humectant.


In moisturizing products, glycerin is often paired with an occlusive like petroleum jelly to trap the moisture inside our skin after drawing it from the air. Since it also pulls water from the inner layers of our skin, it perfectly manipulates our skin's ability to self-moisturize.

Shereene Idriss, founder of the PillowtalkDerm skincare line and a board-certified dermatologist based in New York reveals: "With glycerin-based products, the skin stays hydrated longer even after use. For example, a glycerin-based chemical exfoliant is top-tier, in my opinion, because you get the benefit of exfoliation while the skin remains hydrated" (via Harper's Bazaar).

In addition to being a perfect 10 when it comes to moisturizing our skin, there are a number of other benefits that come with using the skincare superhero glycerin.


What glycerin's perks are

One such benefit is how it helps us to avoid oily skin. Glycerin is oil-free, meaning fewer clogged pores and skin blemishes and less acne. It also contributes to the process of exfoliation of our skin, naturally brightening and making our skin look radiant.


It also has anti-aging properties. Alongside moisturizing, glycerin can reduce the appearance of wrinkles, giving us youthful, dewy, and alluring skin. Its capabilities in skin brightening won't hurt this cause either.

The tendency of glycerin to prevent skin irritation and dryness is well utilized in cleansers. Soap and body wash liquids containing glycerin do well to help us avoid the tight, dry, uncomfortable feeling that sometimes comes after using them.

As if all that wasn't enough, glycerin also protects our skin by replenishing and restoring it and helping maintain its natural moisture barrier. It accelerates the wound-healing process as well (per The R+F Source).

How to use glycerin

Now that you know why you should definitely start using glycerin, here's how you should use it.

Even though glycerin is easily accessible as an ingredient in many skincare products, you might wish to use pure glycerin on your skin. Even though this is perfectly safe, according to Skinkraft Laboratories, this can cause skin irritation in some people. So pure glycerin is best used if diluted with water or rose water beforehand.


When using glycerin as a cleanser, you should first rinse your face well with water. Then use a cotton swab to hold a small amount of diluted glycerin and apply directly onto your face while ensuring it doesn't get in your eyes or mouth. Rinse it off well with water after a few minutes to ensure it gets absorbed by the skin.

When using it as a moisturizer, you have to make sure you use a cleanser beforehand. Then all you have to do is apply the moisturizer with glycerin all over your face while avoiding the eyes and mouth.

It can also be used as a toner, a lip balm, or even as a nourishing facial mask.

What precautions you should take

The benefits of glycerin are widespread. It will do wonders for your complexion and give you rosy, glowing skin that is to die for. The pros of using it far outweigh the cons, which are virtually non-existent if you take the necessary precautions.


To elaborate more on this, glycerin usage in skincare has no known side effects, but it may cause an allergic reaction if used in high concentrations. Julia Tzu, the founder and medical director of New York's Wall Street Dermatology talking to Byrdie says, "In general, glycerin is a super safe skincare product. However, as with any product, allergic reactions or irritation are possible, albeit rare."

Also if you're worried about how glycerin is produced — since it can be derived from animal fats as well as plants — it is possible to obtain products that are vegan and cruelty-free, and most personal-care products contain plant-based glycerin (per Spongelle). However, you do need to do some research into each individual product that you are using if you want to be certain.


Regular use of glycerin is the ultimate life hack for flawless skin. Don't take our word for it; try it for yourself.