Is Glycerin Good For Your Skin? Dermatologists share the benefits
When it comes to skin care, there are a few trending ingredients like hyaluronic acid and retinol that tend to be in the spotlight most of the time. But there are others that go unnoticed, improving the health of your skin behind the scenes.
And glycerin is one of those unsung heroes. While you might not always see it advertised on the front of a bottle, you can find it quite high in the ingredient list of many of the hottest beauty products. This is the second ingredient in the mega-viral Peter Thomas Roth Instant FIRMx Eye Temporary Eye Tightener and CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser. But if you’ve seen the word and wondered what it actually does for your skin, you’re not alone. So we sat down with two leading dermatologists to find out why the underrated ingredient is a staple in the beauty world. (Hint: There is a very good reason for this.)
What is glycerin
Much like the powerful and hydrating hyaluronic acid, glycerin is a humectant. Dr Sejal Shah, a certified dermatologist in New York City, said it draws moisture from the environment and deep into the skin to boost hydration. You can also sometimes hear it talking about an emollient, due to its ability to soften the skin, she added. Although it can come from animal sources, the glycerin used in skin care products is generally synthetic or derived from vegetables.
Most often, you’ll find the ingredient in moisturizers, but it’s also added to cleansers to counteract potential dryness, Dr Angela Lambsaid the associate professor of dermatology at Manhattan’s Mount Sinai Hospital.
Apart from skin care, you may also see it on the ingredient list of other things like toothpaste as it can help prevent products from drying out and has a lubricating effect which can improve the feeling. of the formula, Shah said.
What are the benefits of glycerin for the skin?
Because of its moisturizing effects, it can improve the skin’s barrier function and help protect it from irritants, Shah said. It’s also a smaller molecule than hyaluronic acid, which means it can penetrate deeper into the skin. So while you might not see the benefits as quickly, it can provide long lasting hydration.
As an added bonus, it is generally well tolerated and safe for all skin types. It doesn’t tend to cause acne or weigh down the skin, Lamb said.
If you take a look at your favorite beauty products, you’ll probably find that some of them already contain glycerin. But if you’re looking for ways to boost your skin’s hydration, especially before the temperatures drop, here are nine dermatologist-approved products to try.
Aveeno Calm + Restore Triple Oat Serum
Dr. Lamb loves this hydrating serum, which contains ingredients like glycerin and a triple oat complex. Ideal for anyone with sensitive skin, the hypoallergenic formula can help soothe dry skin and strengthen the natural moisture barrier.
Aquaphor might not be the most buzzy product, but it’s a proven staple that can be used to help treat a variety of skin conditions, from chapped lips to dry, cracked hands and feet. And Shah said she generally recommends the ointment (which contains glycerin) to patients.
A Shop TODAY writer said this dermatologist-approved moisturizer has helped her say goodbye to days of dry skin. It’s an Amazon bestseller and contains two powerful moisturizers: glycerin and hyaluronic acid. “This stuff is amazing on my skin, it’s like a relief to put it on,” wrote one verified appraiser. “It’s not even slightly oily, absorbs almost instantly, and has the lightest, cleanest scent. Other heavier moisturizers left me with tiny clumps of new blemishes every morning (so frustrating), but it didn’t clog my pores at all and my skin felt soft and plumped.
Kiehl’s Ultra Squalane Face Cream
Kiehl’s best-selling moisturizer is recommended by Dr. Lamb. It’s formulated with glycerin and other moisturizing ingredients like squalane and the brand’s Ice Glycoprotein. It can be applied morning and night to provide dry skin with a much needed boost of hydration.
There are a handful of products from La Roche-Posay that Shah recommends for patients, many of which contain the moisturizing ingredient. And Toleriane Double Repair face moisturizer is one of them. The moisturizing face cream contains niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3 that is said to have many benefits, ranging from reducing moisture loss to minimizing the appearance of dark spots. As a bonus, the cream also offers broad spectrum UVA / UVB SPF 30 protection.
She also loves this branded retinol eye cream. In addition to hydrating glycerin, it contains pure retinol and caffeine to help reduce the appearance of dark circles and wrinkles around the eyes.
The cleansing process can sometimes remove some moisture from the skin, Shah said, which is why humectants like glycerin are often added to balance this out. She loves this moisturizing cleanser from CeraVe (she has worked with this brand before), which contains hyaluronic acid, ceramides and glycerin. The cleaner is a buyer’s favorite, with over 50,000 rave five-star reviews, and is endorsed by TikTok.
Dr Bruce Robinson, a dermatologist in New York City, previously recommended this facial cleanser for people with sensitive skin. “This cleanser contains glycerin which is super hydrating and ideal for patients with eczema, rosacea and psoriasis,” he said.
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