Glycerin in Skin Care: Does It Work and Is It Safe?

glycerin and demodex

In the case of skincare products, we usually get excited by wordy and complicated names. Although we admit that otherworldly sounding components do not always provide amazing results, it seems that our brain likes to think so. This article introduces you to a compound with a short name and a tiny frame that has proven its effectiveness to every single skincare company in the world – Glycerin.

Now, glycerin in the skincare industry is not a new topic; it has a long history behind it.

Although you may not have bought it as a single product, it is probably present in your health care products. Glycerin is such an outstanding compound that most skincare companies have fused it with their ingredients.

To see if glycerin has made its way into your skincare routine, read the labels of your skincare products. I bet many of them contain this fantastic compound.

What Is Glycerin?

Glycerin is usually produced during normal metabolism. When enzymes break down dietary lipids, which are mostly triglycerides, glycine (also known as glycerol) is one of the final products. Each glycerin can usually combine with three fatty acids to make triglycerides.

Glycerin is soluble both in water and oil. It belongs to the family of natural moisturising factors and is considered a natural humectant.

Due to its low molecular weight, this fantastic compound penetrates into the deeper layers of skin. It can absorb moisture from the environment and transfer it into the skin.

Glycerin can be extracted from vegetable oil as well as animal lipids. Some kinds of glycerin are artificially made. The good news for vegans is that the glycerin in most skincare products is commonly extracted from vegetable oils.

Glycerin acts amazingly on your skin. It helps improve the skin elasticity as well as its texture and gives the skin a radiant glow. As a humectant, glycerin gets into the skin layers to replenish the lost moisture.

Glycerin is a sweet, odourless liquid that is the central part of most vegetable and animal oils. It is also abundant in your skin structure.

In 1779, Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele discovered glycerin through a chemical reaction including olive oil. Glycerin is also obtained as a by-product of soap making. It is not poisonous to living organisms, including humans.

But How does glycerin help the skin? Let’s find out.

Glycerin In Skin Care

Glycerin keeps The Skin Moisturised

Due to its low molecular weight, which is approximately 92 g/mol, glycerin can quickly penetrate into the skin. As mentioned, this compound is diffusible in both water and oil, absorbs moisture from the air and locks it down in the lipid layers.

[Note: Glycerin pulls moisture from its nearest environment. Accordingly, in a dry climate, chances are, this source is the deeper layers of the skin. Consequently, it is crucial to dilute glycerin to prevent possible damage to the skin. Rosewater seems to be a perfect diluent as it contains various antioxidants.

Mix glycerin with rose water, let it absorb moisture from the liquid and draw it into the deeper layers of the skin.]

Glycerin Is An Anti-Irritant Compound

When irritant compounds enter the skin, they trigger harmful reactions that lead to skin inflammation. Glycerin stops some irritants from penetrating the skin and thus minimises their harmful effects.

SLS, NaOH and DMSO are some of the irritants that can provoke skin inflammation. Some studies have confirmed that a mixture of water and 70% glycerol can remarkably prevent irritants from entering the wounded skin. 

Interestingly, glycerin has shown an advantage in its protecting functions compared to other potential anti-irritants.

Improving Skin Barrier Function

Uninjured skin ensures adequate security against external damaging agents. Any factor that negatively affects the skin barrier allows microorganisms to make their way through the skin, overpopulate and lead to symptoms.

Glycerin can protect skin barrier integrity by moisturising the skin and the stratum corneum lipids phase transition.

Promotes Skin Smoothness

Glycerin plasticises the external layer of skin cells – stratum corneum or horny layer – resulting in a smoother look skin.

One likely mechanism is horny layer cell shrinkage induced by glycerin. Apart from skin softening, this mechanism is an explanation for the anti-irritant effect of glycerin. When stratum corneum cells shrink, the stimulants cannot penetrate as before.

Optical Properties Of Glycerin

Some individuals claim glycerin lightens their skin tone like a natural whitener. This, however, has not yet been proven.

The complex structure of human skin consists of a combination of heterogeneous substances. Glycerin may decrease tissue light scattering and increase its transmittance. This potential mechanism may support the claim of glycerin whitening effect.

Moreover, glycerin includes exfoliating compounds. Thus, it may lighten the acne, blemishes, and eczema discolouration by removing dead skin.

Penetration-Enhancing Effect

Glycerin seems to improve some substances’ penetration into the skin. For instance, studies have shown enhanced penetration of nicotinic acid (vitamin C) in the vicinity of glycerol. The underlying mechanism is that glycerin, beyond its moisturising effect, can react with horny layer lipids to increase the infiltrative ability of some substances.

Wound Healing Effect 

Cells undergo mitosis to replace the missing ones and repair the wounds. As mentioned, glycerin is present in vegetable and animal lipids, including human skin. So, it is reasonable to conclude that glycerol supplement accelerates new cell generation.

Furthermore, cell division requires energy. Glycerol plays an essential role in providing cellular energy to ensure sufficient repair. Cellular glycerol is a critical determinant of cellular ATP energy.

Maintaining the skin barrier function and moisturising the skin is necessary for injury healing.

Antiviral And Antimicrobial Effect

Glycerin can prevent cell division in some bacteria, including Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and Bacillus subtilis. The antimicrobial impact of glycerin seems to be more prominent in normal human body temperature. This feature is related to its destructive effect on the cellular structure of bacteria.

Glycerin can induce enzymes that lyse viruses by damaging their genetic material.

Although glycerin is harsh on bacteria and viruses, it is entirely soft on the skin. That’s why it is a good option as a preservative in skin transplantation.


Glycerin And Demodex Mites

No research has so far been conducted to find out the effect of glycerin in killing Demodex mites.

Demodex mites are tiny beings that live in low density in the skin pores of human beings. It seems they are a part of our skin microbiome. However, if they grow in density, they may lead to various dermatological issues. Acne, rosacea, dermatitis, hair loss, alopecia, itching, and hair thinning are some of the issues linked to the Demodex outbreak. 

The treatment involves getting rid of them.

As stated, investigations have confirmed the antibacterial and antiviral effects of glycerin. Glycerin changes osmotic pressure across the bacterial membrane to break the wall. However, unlike bacteria, Demodex mites consist of more than a single cell. They are multicellular microorganisms with sufficient physiological mechanisms to maintain homeostasis and defend themselves against external threats.

Although we can not refer to a specific study to show the effect of glycerin on these mites, this compound can effectively reduce the Demodex outbreak. To be more specific, Demodex’s body is full of toxic microorganisms, including bacteria and viruses. A significant part of Demodex symptoms is related to these organisms. When a Demodex dies, the toxic bacteria and viruses that it carries spread across the skin surface and cause inflammatory reactions, leading to itching and dermatitis. Glycerin helps to decrease the Demodex-based problems by removing these microorganisms.

In effect, the anti-inflammatory effect of glycerin soothes irritated skin. It also prevents irritants from entering the deeper layers of the skin. In summary, glycerin alleviates the inflammation caused by Demodex and assists the healing process.

The loss of skin barrier integration facilitates pathogens diffusion and gives them an excellent chance to increase. Glycerin reinforces the skin barrier and maintains its health.

Glycerin – One Of The Magical Ingredients Of Ungex Products

At Ungex, we have designed a set of revolutionary products that are considered a breakthrough in the world of anti-Demodex products. They can play a prominent role in lightening Demodex-related symptoms.

Eliminating Demodex mites from the skin is a complicated process in which numerous compounds may act synergistically. Ungex products are fused with various powerful ingredients, each of which can uniquely counteract Demodex mites.

Some of the Ungex products can weaken and destroy Demodex mites upon direct contact. In addition, ingredients such as glycerin, coconut oil, and polysorbate 20 combat microorganisms to perform an essential role in soothing Demodex mite symptoms. 

As one of the Ungex products’ ingredients, glycerin soothes your skin, sanitises it, and prevents harmful bacteria and viruses from overpopulating. It decreases Demodex-related inflammation and restores your skin health.

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