Ingredient Spotlight: Vegetable Glycerin

Ingredient Spotlight: Vegetable Glycerin


What is vegetable glycerin?

Vegetable Glycerin, or glycerol, is a clear, colorless and odorless thick liquid produced from plant oils (palm, soy or coconut oil) that has a remarkably sweet taste. It has the consistency of syrup. In cosmetics and skincare, vegetable glycerin is used as a solvent (sometimes in place of alcohol) and humectant (meaning its able to retain moisture). It is a popular choice as a natural source ingredient with emollient properties which soften and soothe the skin. Vegetable glycerin is used in cosmetics and body care products to help retain moisture and helps to attract oxygen into the skin. It gives a cooling effect to skin and has become a prevalent ingredient in many skin care products and soaps.

How is vegetable glycerin made?

Vegetable glycerin is made using extraction through a process called hydrolysis. During hydrolysis, oils are subjected to pressure, temperature and water. The ester bond breaks and the glycerin splits from fatty acids and is absorbed by water. Then the vegetable glycerin is distilled for purity.

The benefits of vegetable glycerin.

There are many benefits to vegetable glycerin.

Skin care – Vegetable glycerin is primarily used as a moisturizing agent in skin care products. Its hypo-allergenic and non-comedogenic which makes it great for those with sensitive skin or acne.  It deeply moisturizes skin and also attracts oxygen into the skin giving it anti-aging benefits.

Acne - Vegetable glycerin is hypoallergenic and won’t clog pores, so acne sufferers can use it without worrying that it will make their acne worse. It has antibacterial properties and can actually help prevent breakouts by keeping pores free of bacteria. It can speed up healing of existing acne lesions too. It does not cause an inflammatory response in skin and is non- irritating, unlike harsh chemical additives.

Skin conditions - Vegetable glycerin can soothe irritation and itching associated with eczema and psoriasis unlike traditional moisturizers which are often ineffective or end up actually aggravating the situation. Its pure, non-irritating and super moisturizing properties can help ease the discomfort of skin conditions. Its antibacterial properties can help protect skin from infection. For skin conditions, use pure vegetable glycerin, not just a product containing it as the other ingredients in the formula may irritate sensitive, raw skin. Never apply vegetable glycerin to infected skin that is oozing.

Hair – Vegetable glycerin is a wonderful moisturizer for dry, brittle hair. It can be applied directly (like a mask) for extra deep hydration and relief from dry, flaky scalp. It also helps to strengthen hair reducing breakage and split ends.

Eco-Friendly – Vegetable glycerin is an all-natural, earth friendly product that has no negative impact on the environment through the manufacturing process or with end use.

Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics database rates vegetable glycerin a 0 on a scale of 0 to 10 (10 being the most hazardous).

Vegetable glycerin is an all natural, safe and effective ingredient that has many benefits in cosmetics, skin care and medical applications.