Glycerin 101

BARE Skincare
2 min readOct 15, 2020

With the harmattan/winter season slowly approaching, you’ll want the best moisturizers around; we’re talking the juiciest ingredients you can get your parched hands on. We’ve already spotlighted a couple, with our most recent one being the skin loving ingredient panthenol and lined up 3 of our favorite panthenol-infused products for you to add to your shopping cart. Panthenol isn’t the only babe around though and today we are bringing you another ingredient to keep an eye out for; one you probably already know of, glycerin.

Moisturizer basics

Moisturizers typically contain three types of ingredients; there’s occlusive moisturizers, which help to form a protective barrier over the skin to lock in moisture. Then there’s the emollients, which smooth any rough cells and finally there’s humectants of which our glycerin is a prime example of.

What is glycerin?

Glycerin is essentially like a sponge that pulls in water to the outer skin layer. It can attract water from the deeper skin layers or even the air in humid environments.It also helps slow the evaporation of water from your skin which is great for fighting off the harmattan/winter dryness.

Glycerin is also an incredibly effective moisturizer when used in a cleanser. When cleansing the skin, it is important to remove dirt and oil, but maintain the health of the outer skin layer. Humectants like glycerin can help maintain hydration and prevent skin irritation during the cleansing process.

Where can I get some?

Chances are glycerin has already made its way into your skin-care routine — it’s everywhere. You can look for products containing glycerin in every step of your skin-care routine to really maximize the skin hydrating effect of this powerhouse ingredient, especially if it’s combined with other moisturizing ingredients like panthenol.

Is it 100% safe?

Yes, if used properly. As with any other ingredient there can be some negative side effects but only if misused.

Glycerin can irritate your skin only if you’re in a hot, dry environment with low humidity (under 65%, which also includes airplanes) or suffering from internal dehydration. Since glycerin pulls water from its surroundings, when there isn’t moisture in the environment it will pull it out of the skin and evaporate into the air which will cause even more dehydration.

However, most formulas don’t use glycerin in high concentrations because of this. Generally, glycerin is used 2% to 5% and is combined with emollients to offer other water-binding benefits.

If you’re the extra cautious type though, just stay hydrated and spritz your face with some water every once in a while and you’ll be perfectly fine.