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What are the skincare benefits of glycerin?

  • 4 min read

Even if you’ve never heard of glycerin, the chances are you already own several skincare products that contain it.  

Glycerin is a naturally occurring ingredient found in many skincare products and is a natural component of healthy skin. It is derived from animal or vegetable sources and can also be produced synthetically. Glycerin is used to replenish the skin’s natural moisture and lock in hydration.

Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish which type of glycerin is used, and whether it is actually vegan. The type of glycerin derived from animal fats is not vegan, but the kind derived from vegetable sources is vegan. Here, we’re talking solely about vegan glycerin.

The glycerin skincare benefits are numerous – so it’s no wonder a recent study revealed it to be the third most popular ingredient used in moisturisers, eye creams, toners and face masks. Indeed, here at UpCircle, we use natural glycerin in our moisturiser, eye cream, toner, face mask and soon-to-be-released night cream. It’s wonderful stuff!

Read on to find out more about the skincare benefits of glycerin.

What is glycerin?

Glycerin is a clear, odourless, slightly sticky liquid that is found in all plant, animal and human tissue. It was once an ingredient that you’d find in a baker’s cupboard, hidden in a little bottle. Now it is being used more and more in skincare.

As well as being a naturally-occurring product, it can also be produced synthetically and is a highly effective humectant. This simply means that glycerin has the ability to retain water in your skin and hair – and in humid conditions can even draw moisture from the air to keep your skin or hair hydrated and glowing.

Yes, you read that correctly – glycerin is a skincare ingredient used in moisturisers that actually attracts more moisture. How cool (and hydrating) is that?

Humectants also act to prevent the loss of moisture in cosmetic products, and the addition of glycerin is incredibly efficient at stopping your favourite skincare products from drying out too quickly. When moisture is high on the agenda, it makes sense that glycerin gets in on the act.

Glycerin skin benefits

1. Keeps skin hydrated

Without enough moisture, your skin can become dry, dull and prone to irritation. We inherently know this and know that dehydration often lurks behind any skincare issue we may be experiencing.  Glycerin is a ‘super hydrator’ that penetrates each layer to protect against moisture loss and pollutants. 

Glycerin stops water from evaporating through the layers of your skin, which helps to combat dryness – particularly during the harsh winter months when your skin needs a little extra TLC.


2. Keeps skin looking youthful

By drawing moisture to the top layer of your skin, glycerin can help to reduce the appearance of lines and fine wrinkles to keep your complexion looking smoother for longer. It effectively plumps it out a little.

It is also thought that glycerin can improve overall skin function and slow the ageing process. With regular use, glycerin can make your skin feel and look younger. There’s more research needed here, but, combined with collagen, it would definitely appear to be instrumental to the ageing process.

3. Helps the fight against acne

There are chemicals in some skincare products that can play havoc with acne-prone skin. Harsh exfoliants, sulphates and highly fragranced creams and serums can cause further inflammation of already irritated skin and should be avoided.

Glycerin is a gentle moisturiser, which is oil-free and non-comedogenic. This means that it will not block your pores nor contribute to problematic acne breakouts. It can bring the moisturising that your skin desperately needs without the classically associated outbreaks and clogged pores.

4. It’s a highly effective cleanser and toner

When cleansing your face, you need a product that not only removes make-up and dirt but also acts as a barrier to keep the top layer of your skin in a healthy condition.

Ingredients like glycerin help to cleanse the skin gently and maintain hydration, while also adding a layer of protection for your skin from the rigours of everyday life. Our award-winning Cinnamon and Ginger Chai Soap Bar contains glycerin from an organic origin to purify and cleanse your skin and give your complexion a rejuvenating boost.

If you suffer from enlarged pores, you’ll be keen to know that another benefit of glycerin is the ingredient’s ability to reduce the size of open pores and tone the skin – especially if you have oily or combination skin. 

5. Soothes dry skin

The hydrating properties of glycerin are ideal for those with very dry skin or conditions such as atopic dermatitis and eczema.

Consistently applying a glycerin-based night cream can help to soothe and revive sensitive and dry skin while you sleep, for a visibly refreshed complexion when you wake up in the morning. Watch this space for our soon-to-be-released night cream which will contain glycerin.

6. Glycerin hydrates feet too

If you’re looking forward to hot summer days and strappy sandals – but are concerned about calloused or hard skin on your feet – glycerin can help to soften and reduce the appearance of cracked heels. 

Massage a glycerin-based all-over body cream into your heels before bedtime to help soften your heels. We recommend our 100% vegan, glycerin-based Soothing Body Cream with Date Seeds, which is fast-absorbing, so your feet will never feel greasy.

7. Great for the planet & cruelty-free

Organic glycerin skincare products have no detrimental impact on our environment. All the products we sell here at UpCircle use only pure vegetable glycerin, so you can rest assured that your skincare routine is not harming the planet, or any of the creatures that inhabit it.

Not only that, but we’ll also refill your empty product packaging, helping you to say no to single-use plastic – and save 20% with our Return, Refill, Reuse Scheme.

Reap the benefits of organic glycerin skincare products

It’s little wonder that this humectant is so widely used in skincare products, given the benefits of glycerin on the face and for the whole body. It’s gentle enough to be a key ingredient in many baby products, yet effective enough to alleviate skin irritations while locking in moisture.

All the glycerin used in our UpCircle skincare range is derived from organic origins to provide vegan and cruelty-free beauty products that relieve, revive, and rejuvenate your skin.