Glycerin is a common cosmetic product and in the last couple of decades has been extensively used in shampoos, hair conditioners, creams and in face packs. It’s a very safe and sweet tasting substance which is purely natural and hence has no side effects. This is the reason even the baby products use glycerin for keeping the baby’s skin soft and helps the skin from getting dry. Dermatologists prescribe glycerin based soaps and cosmetics for sensitive skin as it is a good moisturizer. Glycerin has numerous application in the cosmetic industry and is used as a solvent and as a sweetening additive in drugs such as cough syrups and mouthwashes. It is the chemical product of Glycerol and is commercially made by the soap making process where glycerin is formed. But glycerin is removed from soaps that are made commercially to be used in other products. Glycerin is hygroscopic in nature which means it absorbs moisture from the air. This could be partly be the reason for it to keep the skin soft and moist. Another interesting fact is that glycerin was used to make nitroglycerin which was used in the production of Dynamite but glycerin itself is not an explosive material.
Glycerin is also called glycerol. It is a blend of oils and fats. The fats when digested by the body produce fatty acids and glycerin. It is hence a natural food substance which is non toxic, a good preservative and serves as a better solvent for herbal constituents. It is naturally sweet to taste but does not increase blood sugar when eaten. Due to its sweet taste herbs taste pleasant when prepared by using glycerin.
Glycerin prepared from vegetables or palms and coconut is a colorless, clear and odorless liquid having a consistency like thick syrup. It is highly versatile liquid which is soluble both in alcohol and water and that is the reason why it has gained so much popularity in the manufacturing sector. It is purely natural and possesses emollient like qualities which helps in keeping the skin soft and smooth due to which the upper epidermis can hold moisture in the skin. It pulls oxygen in the skin and also acts as a cooling agent. Glycerin has low shelf life (14-24 months) as compared to alcohol (4-6 years).
Liquid glycerin is most prominently used in cosmetics and also in body care products for adding moisture to the skin and providing oxygen. It has a cooling,hydrating effect on the skin and hence is an important ingredient of soap and skin care products. You can buy a chunk of solid glycerin from the drug store, heat it into liquid form and then put it in a soap mould to get glycerin soap for moisturizing and cleaning your body. Apart from providing moisturizer, glycerin also heals the wounds very quickly and hence is used for cuts and wounds. It forcefully extracts the water from the thriving bacterial cells around the injury and fastens the recovery. It is best used with jojoba oil as a moisturizer especially in winter season when you suffer from chapped lips and tightening of skin.
Apart from being an important cosmetic ingredient glycerin also has several other uses.
With many incidents being reported on adulteration of glycerin worldwide where ditheylene glycol is being added as an additive to glycerin to lower the costs of making glycerin, USP has introduced new standards on glycerin in Aug 2009. A recent incident in Nigeria has sparked enough interest for USP to introduce this new standard for safety of the consumers. According to this all drug product users of glycerin have to conduct a specific identity test for DEG(diethylene glycol) and EG (ethylene glycol) on all containers and lots of gylcol. DEG is used as an antifreeze and is poisonous if ingested