Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist - Written by Aheli Sen (Fashion & Beauty Expert) on 06th Jan 2021
Here's How You Can Add Glycerin To Your Skincare Routine
There is a particular ingredient that we have grown up with from ancient times, and we can easily associate this with winters. We have seen our grandparents use it, our parents use it too, and growing up, even we used it. What is this crystal clear, almost water-like liquid, the smell and feel of which is far from foreign to us? A hint, it came in a glass bottle with pink packaging. Ring a bell?
One of the most used products in the skincare industry falls right behind water and fragrance. A spectacle of a kind, it has been such a glorious product that we have used it solely, and it has worked wonders for our skin. Yes, we have turned to the most boujee products for dry weather and dry skin, but nothing compares to this particular element that is a match made in heaven for our dry weather skin.
Yes, you have guessed it right! It is glycerin. The feel of it, the smell of it is as nostalgic as ice popsicles we enjoyed as kids for the summer. Lotions and body butter have been introduced to us, but glycerin is here to stay.
So what is glycerin?
It is an organic compound that is sourced from both plants as well as from animals. It is thick, clear, has a sweet taste, heavy to feel, and is emollient. It is also termed glycerol and is a byproduct of soap. It mainly comprises sugar and alcohol. Glycerin is considered a humectant. It is an element that can attract moisture and water to it.
Thus, it means that when glycerin is applied to the skin, due to its presence, the skin is nourished with moisture and water from its immediate surroundings, making the skin look plump and feel hydrated. We literally live for these two characteristics in dry wintery weather! I mean, there are great parties for Christmas and New Year, but do they even matter if the skin is looking dull and dehydrated?
Glycerin is often termed as a moisturizer that attracts moisture. Other humectants include glycol, Hyaluronic acid, aha, sodium hyaluronate, etc.
Glycerin is a hydrating element that studies have shown to have the most natural consistency to that of the skin's natural moisturizing factor. As we age, the skin loses a lot of its capacity to keep itself plump and hydrated and thus has to be satiated from the outside. Glycerin being the closest inconsistency to our natural moisturized state, works wonders on the skin.
What are the benefits of using glycerin on the skin?
1. Moisturizer –
the most obvious benefit would be its capacity to moisturize. It penetrates the deepest layers of skin due to its texture, similar to the skin's natural hydration. This ensures that skin is hydrated from within as the formula glides through the layers without separation. This provides the skin a hydrated look and feel.
2. Anti-aging –
why does the skin become all wrinkly as we age? It happens because as we age, our capacity to produce the skin's natural moisture is lost. Thus, the skin loses its power of elasticity. As the skin loses its elasticity, it stays in the position it gets stretched to the most. This is how wrinkles form. The fine lines tell us that the skin is losing its power of elasticity from lacking enough hydration level. Glycerin helps the skin plump up by hydrating the skin and attracting hydration to the skin. Thus, it brings back the skin's lost elasticity and helps the skin stay younger.
3. Barrier –
we have heard a lot about how many moisturizers contain ceramides that help the skin set up its barrier. Glycerin helps the skin repair its barrier to protect itself from the sun's harsh impact, pollution, and the environment. Although glycerin alone cannot cope with the uva rays or the sun's UVB rays, it for sure prevents the skin from getting directly affected by it. The skin sets up its water barrier to help it from drying out.
4. Exfoliating property –
while this is not exactly the truth, it does bear part of the truth. The fact that glycerin being humectants makes the skin hydrated. Hydrated skin is super easy to exfoliate, and the effects of exfoliation are also a lot more yielding than when it is dry. The skin's surface is smoother, and the cell regeneration is better when glycerin is applied to the skin daily.
5. Skin brightening –
what happens when the skin is super hydrated? It seems plumper and feels nourished and fresh. When this happens, the skin in itself produces a natural glow. How? A smooth surface bounces off light better and, thus, glows better, unlike a rough, uneven surface. The same applies to the skin. The plumpness makes the skin smooth, which then ricochets the light off better to give the skin a more illuminated look. Also, skin that is hydrated exfoliates better. As the skin regenerates better, the newer cells appear as it used to when we were younger; this in itself gives skin a brightening effect.
6. Helps heal –
glycerin has healing properties. This is the big reason many creams and emollients meant to heal scars have glycerin in them. Likewise, the element can thus heal scars from acne and fade spots. This is also quite evident from the fact that moisturized skin can be exfoliated better, and what happens when you can exfoliate better? You can rid your skin of the dark age and sunspots as well as scars left behind by acne.
How do we add glycerin to our daily skincare?
- We could use glycerin all by itself as for years we have seen our previous generations do that. The older generations have always been astute in taking good care of the skin and have always used natural ingredients like turmeric, lemon, etc., in their skincare routine.
- Mixing it in with lotions, moisturizers, body creams, butter, serums, etc., would also mean that the treatment would be more compact. For example, hyaluronic acid serums are a great way to impart and lock in moisture to the skin. However, when mixed with glycerin, the serum becomes more potent than by itself, and so does glycerin. Combining glycerin to your favorite moisturizers would only mean the best hydration for your skin.
- Mix it with other emollients or balms. If you have extremely dry skin, mixing a balmy texture and glycerin would help snakeskin be at bay.
- Often, when we use a cleanser or an oil or micellar water to get rid of our makeup, the skin feels stripped, tugged, and usually feels irritated afterward. There are many reasons for this. The number one reason being that none of these are in a format close to the consistency of the skin's natural moisture, which irritates the skin. However, when we use glycerin, its serum-like consistency helps remove makeup without any tugging or irritation. Thus, this is yet another way to make good use of glycerin in skincare.
The Last Word
Age-old methods and ingredients are ancient and yet in practice for an excellent reason, and thus, glycerin is a great way to help the skin out. It helps the skin go from zero to a hundred real fast! From hydration to brightening the skin, it helps the skin protect and prevent itself from scarring. What else could one ask for?