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Glycerin: The Forgotten Skincare Super Molecule

Glycerin (also known as glycerol) is a skincare supermolecule that appears to have lost its sparkle. The beauty industry is renowned for constantly pushing the newest and coolest molecules, and it looks like glycerin no longer cuts the mustard in this respect. So, in this article, we pay homage to a star ingredient that plays a vital role in keeping your skin moisture level correct and prevents drying. Glycerin may not be a headliner, but if you look closely at any skin lotion container, you will find it on the list of ingredients. Here we tell you why you should use it as much as possible.

What Is Glycerin?

Glycerin is a simple but powerful molecule that can hydrate all skin types. Just check the ingredients label of any skincare product, from creams to lotions and soaps, and you’ll find glycerin there. It’s a key ingredient in all these products due to its ability to moisturise the skin and keep it smooth.

While you can find glycerin as an ingredient in many products, some people still prefer to use the pure form of the stuff.

Pure glycerin is an odourless, colourless liquid that is derived from vegetable or animal fat. It has a smooth texture and a slightly sweet taste. It also has antiviral and antimicrobial properties.

Why Is Glycerin Such A Big Deal?

Glycerin is pretty much everywhere you look. For example, most facial treatment products contain up to 5 per cent glycerin in their formulations. Why is glycerin such a big deal as an ingredient in nearly every class of cosmetic products?

Firstly, its stability as an active molecule is due to its neutral pH of around 6 or 7. This brings it in line with the skin’s natural pH, meaning that it doesn’t cause any irritations.

Secondly, it’s a naturally occurring substance within the human body, so it’s unlikely to be treated as an invading substance. This should mean that it doesn’t trigger any allergic reactions or skin sensitivities. This factor alone makes it suitable for virtually all skin types.

Finally, glycerin is a humectant that attracts moisture to the skin. It can also lock in the skin’s natural moisture, making it a perfect addition to formulations targeting dry skin, acne or even eczema.

Glycerin Versus Other Molecules

Glycerin is often seen as the low-tech cousin to the molecule of the moment, hyaluronic acid. In comparison to hyaluronic acid, glycerin has a gooey texture. As a result, manufacturers combine it with polymers to refine the texture a little bit. However, glycerin is perhaps even better than hyaluronic acid in some respects. For one, it’s a smaller molecule in size, and so while hyaluronic acid will sit on the skin’s surface, glycerin quickly penetrates the epidermal layers of the skin, rehydrating it at a deeper level.

Benefits Of Glycerin On The Skin

Glycerin hydrates the skin because it has emollient, humectant and occlusive properties. Due to its ability to absorb many times its weight in water, glycerin mimics the skin’s natural hydration process. Once it absorbs the water, its occlusive properties kick in, making sure it seals the moisture within the skin, preventing it from drying out.

  • Like its anti-ageing cousin hyaluronic acid, glycerin helps to turn back time by enabling the synthesis of natural skin oils. This process improves skin tone and leaves the skin smooth.
  • The surfactant property of glycerin keeps the skin hydrated and smooth, making the skin supple, soft and comfortable.
  • Glycerin offers protection against environmental factors such as UVA rays, the cold, pollution and wind. The molecule is absorbed by the skin and forms a barrier against external factors while ensuring the skin retains its moisture and remains hydrated.
  • It combats acne scars and other blemishes and reduces the appearance of marks with subsequent applications.


Like many others, you’re probably more familiar with hyaluronic acid because it’s the anti-ageing must-have ingredient of the moment. You probably weren’t aware that glycerin often does an even better job, especially for topical application. Its hydrating and moisturising properties mean that it should still have a place amongst your beauty products.

There is no substitute for professional advice when it comes to your skin. Vinci Aesthetics offers a free consultation to all new clients, so there’s never been a better opportunity to bag some professional advice that’s tailored to your needs. Get in touch with us and book your appointment today!


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