Glycerin: Why It's Really, Really Good For Your Skin
May 20, 2022
Don’t mind us, but we’ll start with a very strong sentiment: Dull is not a word that you want or need in any aspect of your life, especially when it comes to your skin. You want radiant, plump skin, and it can be achieved with the help of a very underrated ingredient, glycerin.
Glycerin may be considered an old-fashioned ingredient, but trust us, there’s nothing old-fashioned about its power moves. Glycerin is a humectant that naturally occurs in the skin and acts as a strong moisturizing agent, working to pull water from deeper layers of the skin to outer layers, providing hydration and imparting a plump appearance.
But before we sing its praises, let’s pause and go over the difference between humectants, emollients, and occlusives, and their different roles.
Humectants, emollients, and occlusives, and why they’re important
Humectants work in a way that attracts water into the stratum corneum, the outer layer of your skin, from the skin layers below. This improves skin hydration and promotes normal skin cell turnover. Glycerin, as a humectant, however, has the power to attract water not only from the lower skin layers but also water from the air. It also has a molecular weight of 92 daltons, and there’s a rule of thumb in skincare that any ingredient with a molecular weight lower than 500 daltons can cross the skin barrier and move through the deeper layer. When glycerin attracts water from the air, it grabs it and moves it into the lower layers, not letting go of it so easily. So, when we say it thoroughly hydrates your skin, we truly mean it.
Butters, oils, esters, lipids, and fatty acids are all considered emollients. Their role in skincare products is to repair and smooth over the cracks in the skin barrier, not unlike repairing cracks in a dam, thus helping in the reduction of water evaporation through the skin, also known as transepidermal water loss (TEWL).
Occlusives prevent water evaporation through the skin by forming a film over the surface, trapping the water inside the outer layer by sealing in the humectants.
A 2016 study by the Indian Journal of Dermatology proclaims glycerin the best humectant, which we wouldn't dare to argue with. And let us explain why.
Glycerin is a star ingredient, here’s why
The range of this powerhouse ingredient doesn’t stop at just its humectant propensities, but it also has antibacterial and antiviral properties that help protect the skin. It’s odorless, tasteless, and colorless, making it suitable for all skin types, including the most sensitive complexions.
What does glycerin do?
As we already mentioned, thanks to its water-attracting abilities, it quenches skin, leaving it softer, smoother, and dewier.
Once it attracts water, it has the ability to hold onto it, not allowing it to evaporate easily. Glycerin helps to improve the skin barrier and protect against irritants. It also pairs well with all other ingredients, especially hyaluronic acid.
Find glycerin in these Goodhabit products
We really, really love this jack of all trades ingredient, so we put it in all of our products. Yes, really. Head over to our website and just try them all. Remember, being curious is a good habit, too.
And don’t forget to head over to @goodhabitskin on TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook for more skincare tips.