Glycerin is hailed as a powerhouse ingredient, which is often used in moisturisers and skincare products. Combined with other active ingredients, beauty products containing glycerin will help keep your skin well-hydrated and plumped with moisture so you look fabulous all year round.

But what exactly is glycerin? And how could incorporating products containing glycerin into your skincare routine change the way our skin feels all year round? Read on for our full low-down on the wonders of glycerin.

What is glycerin made of?

Glycerin is a natural component of healthy skin. It’s also known as glycerine and glycerol. Glycerin is a humectant and it works by drawing moisture from the deeper levels of the skin and from the air around us to the skin’s surface and locking it in. It’s an odorless and colourless compound that’s derived from a variety of plants.

But, it can also be synthetically produced. Other examples of humectants that work like this include propylene glycol, AHAs such as glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid, sodium hyaluronate, and sorbitol.

How does glycerin work?

Glycerin, being a natural humectant, helps to hydrate the skin by attracting water from either a very humid atmosphere or, more normally, from the lower levels of the skin. It draws water from the dermis (second layer of the skin) to the epidermis (top layer of the skin), which keeps the moisture within the stratum corneum, the layer of cells that comprise the outer most level of the epidermis. Glycerin improves your skin’s water content to ensure your skin is well hydrated.

It really works its magic on those dry, rough patches that pop up on our skin from time to time. So, if you do suffer from dryness, moisturisers containing glycerin are a great way to increase and lock in the moisture that your skin so desperately needs.

Which skin types use glycerin for face and body care products?

Glycerin is often contained in moisturisers, which are particularly beneficial for either dry or oily skin. Glycerin tends to mimic what’s known as the skin’s natural moisturising factor (NMF) meaning that it is generally compatible with all skin types across all ages. As we get older, or when we are exposed to environmental factors our skin’s NMF becomes depleted so it is important we replenish it with products containing ingredients such as glycerin. You can also find it in a range of other beauty products.