Popularly used in making soaps since the 1800s, glycerin is a colorless, thick liquid that has a high boiling point and which freezes to a gummy paste. It is odorless but has a sweet taste. Sometimes called glycerol or glycerine, this substance is a simple polyol compound. Glycerin is considered a good solvent as many substances dissolve more easily into glycerin than into water or alcohol.
Glycerin is a natural by-product of the soap-making process. Traditionally, most commercial glycerin came from the candle-making industry. In 1889, a way to separate glycerin from soap was discovered and has since been widely used. This is still the most common source of glycerin today. Glycerin is sometimes used to make nitroglycerin, a necessary ingredient in the formation of dynamite. To separate glycerin from the soap during the soap-making process, manufacturers add salt to the mixture. This causes the soap to curdle and float to the top. Once the soap is skimmed from the surface, glycerin is left.
Many skincare manufacturers use glycerin in lotions and creams to enhance their moisturizing and skin-softening strength. Glycerin also continues to be a popular ingredient in many soap products. Because it is a natural humectant, glycerin attracts moisture to the skin. This helps skin to maintain a healthy balance of moisture, preventing dryness and loss of hydration to the atmosphere. This natural hydration improves the health, smoothness, and appearance of skin. Glycerin is also an excellent substance for improving skin’s moisture levels because it absorbs water from the air. This increases the level of natural moisture that your skin receives. Skin needs to absorb and retain water to achieve maximum health, making glycerin an excellent ingredient to look when the skin is dry and dehyrated.
Because of its moisturizing properties and the fact that other substances can easily be dissolved into it, glycerin is a common base for lotions, moisturizers, and other skin care products. Glycerin has an antiseptic property that helps to cleanse and purify skin while it hydrates. Glycerin soap is ideal for people with sensitive or easily-irritated skin. It moisturizes skin and prevents dryness. Pure or nearly pure glycerin can be used to treat burns, cuts, rashes, bites, calluses, psoriasis, and other skin irritations.
The "melt and pour" formulas used by hobbyists to make homemade soaps have a high concentration of glycerin. This makes them easy to melt and remold, but also means that soaps may disintegrate more quickly than store-bought brands when they encounter water. Despite this, homemade glycerin soaps pack the same moisturizing benefits as professional-grade soaps and are gentle enough for use by children.
Glycerin soaps are easily distinguished from other types due to their translucent appearance. The clear appearance is due to the alignment of the soap molecules in this type of soap. Glycerin can be included as a moisturizing ingredient in soaps that are not glycerin-based, but pure glycerin soap will always have a translucent appearance.
Glycerin is used for a number of other purposes. It can be used to preserve fruit or scientific specimens, due to its stability and its antiseptic nature. It is common in food and beverages, serving as a solvent, sweetener, and preserving agent. Glycerin is also a popular filler in prepared low-fat foods and is used in liqueurs as a thickening agent.
Glycerin is used to prevent freezing in hydraulic jacks and to lubricate molds in various circumstances. It was originally used as anti-freeze, but has since been replaced with a stronger chemical compound. Glycerin can be found in some printing inks and in cake- and candy-making. Glycerin is widely used in pharmaceutical compounds and personal care products. In these instances, glycerin acts as a lubricant and humectant, improving the smoothness of the product. It is common in cough syrups, expectorants, mouthwashes, toothpastes, skin care products, shaving cream, hair products, soaps, water-based personal lubricants, and more.
Some theater companies use glycerin on actors’ faces to achieve the illusion of tears. It is a very dynamic ingredient used in a wide variety of ways. In skin care, glycerin offers countless health benefits and powerful nourishment for skin. With regular use of glycerin soap, moisturizer, lotion, or other products, skin will become softer and healthier. It will also improve skin’s ability to maintain a healthy balance of moisture.