Myth “Glycerin dries out the skin” – what’s true?
For years, glycerin has had a reputation for drying out the skin. Is that correct? Yes and no . As with so many ingredients, the right concentration and combination are important.
So that you can understand this, let me briefly explain the function of glycerin to you: Glycerin is hygroscopic and attracts water like a magnet . It is a humectant and is often used in cosmetics (and food).
A special feature of glycerin is its small molecules . This means that glycerin is easily absorbed into the epidermis and works deeper in the skin than hyaluronic acid (also a humectant), which has larger molecules and is less able to penetrate the skin.
This is how glycerin works on the skin:
- increases skin moisture
- reduces water loss from the skin
- promotes skin elasticity
- smoothes the skin
- stabilizes the skin's barrier function
We firmly believe that glycerin is one of the best moisture binders of all and is essential for a good moisturizing skin care product.
Then where does the rumor come from that glycerin is said to have a drying effect? As I said, glycerin loves water. The glycerin doesn't really care where the water comes from, as long as it is easily available. It can come from three sources:
- Water from the ambient air (at high humidity)
- Water from other ingredients in the product
- Water stored in the skin
Maybe you already have an idea from which source the glycerin should not be used? Exactly, from source 3: water from your skin! As soon as glycerin does not get enough water from other sources, it pulls water from the deeper layers of the skin up to the surface of the skin. The drying effect occurs. Two factors prevent this from happening: the right formulation and the right concentration.
Glycerin should be accompanied by water-containing ingredients
The glycerin may not care where it gets its water from, but of course your skin doesn't. It is therefore important that glycerin is always accompanied by moisturizing ingredients. Then it doesn't bind water from your skin, but instead uses the water from the product. In this combination, glycerin moisturizes your skin deeply and for a long time.
By the way, high humidity is great in connection with glycerin, i.e. vacationing in a warm, humid climate or a good humidifier at home. A good moisturizer
can then work even better!
Do you have to worry that your product with glycerin will dry out your skin? No. Today, cosmetic products are formulated with this knowledge. So there's no need to panic , because in high-quality moisturizers and serums, glycerin is dosed and combined in such a way that it shows itself at its best.
☝️ Tip: Recognize water-containing substances on the INCI list: At least one water-containing ingredient should appear before the glycerin. Best in first to second place. For example Aqua , Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice or ...Flower Water.