Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist -  Written by Shreya Singh (Pharmacist)  on 15th Oct 2020

Glycerin and its benefits for skincare. Here's more on this miraculous ingredient

Glycerin benefits for skincare

Why it could be your best bet to amp up your beauty routine

We often get tempted by the fact that "fair skin is glowing skin," but in reality, the lit-from-within-glow is determined by how hydrated and healthy your skin is and not by your skin color.  

Why hydration is important 

Sometimes you could be struggling with dry, dehydrated, flaky, and parched skin that can take a toll on your skin's health and make it appear less appealing. This is when you might consider incorporating some skin-savior hydrating ingredients in your beauty arsenal. 

What can help with hydration?

Besides the well-known hyaluronic acid, glycerin is another hydration-boosting superstar that can quench the thirst of all your skin cells to tackle dullness and keep your skin forever plump and hydrated.

It is perhaps the unsung hero ingredient in skincare that has failed to draw attention towards itself and is inconspicuous in every skincare product list. Just flip over any cleanser or moisturizer bottle, and you can spot it as one of the key ingredients on the label.

Today we are uncovering to enlighten you on the ample benefits offered by glycerin for your skin and how to incorporate it into your skincare routine. Read on to find out! 

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What is glycerin? 

Glycerin has long been praised as an incredible ingredient that provides moisturization as well as hydration to your skin while keeping it beautifully soft, radiant, and younger-looking.

It is deemed an "oldie but a goodie" by most skincare experts because of its ability to be easily accessible, high quality, and clinically proven ingredient.

Glycerin, glycerine, or glycerol; call it whatever you want. It is a transparent, colorless, odorless, and sweet-tasting alcoholic liquid extracted from animal fat and vegetable oils, palm, coconut, or soybean oil. It can also be manufactured synthetically from propylene.

It is classified as a humectant that can draw water molecules from the surrounding environment into the outer layers/topmost layers of your skin, making it an amazingly hydrating ingredient when used in cosmetics and skincare products. 

Fun Fact:

According to a Cosmetic Ingredient Review published in 2014, glycerin is the third most frequently reported ingredient in skincare after water and fragrance.

Benefits of using glycerin for the skin 

There are endless benefits of using glycerin on the skin. It is the reason why it is extensively used in the formulation of every other beauty product. Whether you have oily, dry, or sensitive skin, glycerin can work wonders with all skin types of all ages. Some of the primary benefits of using glycerin include: 

(1). Acts as a moisture magnet:  

Being a natural humectant, it pulls water from the atmosphere and locks it into your skin, preventing it from evaporating out.

Research has shown that the regular application of glycerin can significantly enhance and restore the overall moisture levels of your skin and ultimately lead to plumped up, dewy-looking skin.

Another comparative study published in the Asian Journal of Beauty & Cosmetology concluded that glycerin is the "most effective moisturizer" compared to several other moisturizing ingredients. It was found that the creams, including both glycerin and silicone oil, showed the highest moisturizing value and ability to hold hydration for the most extended duration compared to the creams that did not contain these ingredients. 

Pro Tip:

Dry skinned beauties must get their hands on this ingredient to prevent their skin from turning excessively dry as dessert. 

(2). Retains youthfulness of the skin: 

Glycerin is useful in boosting hydration to the skin, which helps to smooth out the appearance/look of fine lines and wrinkles.

Research suggests that its long term use can slow down and prevent premature aging of the skin, improving skin's resiliency and youthful look.  

(3). Improves skin's barrier function: 

Glycerin has been proven to repair and strengthen the compromised epidermal lipid barrier function and mechanical properties of the skin.

A 2003 study published/printed in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology revealed that glycerin could help young skin cells from the deeper layers come to the skin's surface and form the skin's protective barrier, thereby helping in the overall maturation of the skin cells.  

(4). Protects and heals: 

Glycerin can shield your skin against the harmful environmental aggressors, including the dreaded UV rays, while sealing in the moisture at the same time.

It is also known to protect the skin from various irritants and accelerate the wound-healing process

(5). Gently cleanses the skin: 

Glycerin acts as an excellent ingredient in various cleansers and moisturizers. It helps in flushing off the excess oil and dirt without stripping away the natural moisture levels from your skin. Hence, making it an ideal ingredient for dry skinned babes to soothe and cleanse out their skin.

(6). Non-comedogenic and non-toxic: 

Glycerin is characterized as non-comedogenic, meaning it doesn't clog up your pores, making it the safest bet for oily and acne-prone skin.

It has even been proven to be compatible with all skin types with no typical side effects or irritation.  

(7)Penetration enhancer:

Research shows that glycerin acts as a penetration enhancer to support the effective absorption of other beauty ingredients deeper into the skin. It is included in most of the skincare products. 

Does glycerine have any side effects on skin?

Numerous research studies have concluded glycerin to be exclusively safe for every skin type.

The only warning sign would be overusing it in dry climates with dropped humidity levels. As in such conditions, it can pull out water from the deeper layers of your skin and strip away the underneath hydration.

Also, excessive glycerin use can lead to overhydration in oily skin and water loss in dry skin.

The topical glycerin application has no to minimal side effects with some tingling, burning, redness, irritation, or stinging sensation reported in few rare cases.

If such symptoms occur after its application on the skin, stop using it immediately, and seek your dermatologist's or medical professional's advice. 

Minimalist's Advice:

1. Although glycerine is safe and gentle on the skin, it can cause an allergic reaction in some rare cases. Thus, it is highly advised to perform a patch test before its full-fledged use.

2. Refrain from using raw, undiluted glycerin on your skin. Always make sure to dilute it with clear water or rose water before applying it on your face.

3. Never leave it on your face for longer than required, and avoid using it overnight as it can cause severe effects on your skin.

4. Glycerin is known to increase sun sensitivity. Thus, it is advised to use it in the PM and, if used in AM, ensure that your skin is adequately equipped with proper sunscreen before heading out. 


Wrapping up: glycerin is undoubtedly an ultra-moisturizing, hydration powerhouse ingredient in the beauty and skincare world. It can benefit and treat everything from dry, patchy to dehydrated skin.

Being non-comedogenic, this could be the go-to ingredient for those who want to hydrate their skin but not at the cost/price of clogged pores.

Being an extremely gentle ingredient, it has found its excessive use in most cosmetics, including baby products.

Moreover, it is always advisable to perform a patch test before starting with this ingredient to avoid allergic responses.