Ultimate hydration: introducing Glycerin
— introducing Glycerin
We explore this common-place skin care ingredient and for it’s super-hydration status.
✎ Tash Havos
Contributing writer /
Chances are Glycerin has already made its way into your skincare routine, whether you knew it or not. It’s everywhere. Glycerin is a natural component of healthy skin, and one of the most common ingredients found in cosmetics, particularly in hydrating products such as moisturisers.
For anyone that suffers from dry or dehydrated skin, you’d have bought hydration products containing Glycerin – and I bet your skin felt like silk afterward. Glycerin is found in all-natural fats from vegetable or animal sources, and the process of extraction is through hydrolysis of fats and fermentation of sugars.
It’s an odourless, colourless, viscous liquid known as a humectant – a substance that reduces the loss of moisture, hence its ability to moisturise and hydrate effectively. The way that Glycerine can do this is by drawing moisture from the air around us and help keep it in the skin, essentially like a sponge that pulls water to the outer skin layer. Once glycerine is applied, it also has the ability to signal superficial skin cells (on the surface) to mature more rapidly, and thus increasing cell turnover for fresher, softer skin.
Glycerin has also been shown to mimic the skin’s natural moisturising factor (NMF), hence its compatibility with all skin types. The NMF is a group of hydroscopic molecules, like Glycerin, that are naturally present in the skin and protect it from severe drying. NMF depletes with age and exposes your skin to more environmental damage, hence why replenishing the NMF is really important to take care through topical application to keep the skin’s surface intact and supple.
Other than its intense hydrating properties, Glycerin is also beneficial for…
Protecting the skin from harsh environmental factors causing irritation
Working with emollients and oils to restore dry skin
Stimulating and strengthening skin’s precious moisture barrier
Enhancing the penetration of other ingredients into skin’s uppermost layers
Improving skin’s resiliency
Although there are many beneficial uses for this magic moisturiser, there are some restrictions around the use of it. It’s advised to not use Glycerin in hot or dry weather, particularly if the air has less than 65% humidity. This is because the outer layers of the skin will replace drawing moisture from the air to drawing moisture from the lower layers of the skin to hold it onto the surface, causing dehydration in some cases. Because of this, Glycerin is best combined with other emollients (fats and oil based ingredients), to improve application and help create a barrier against water loss to stop moisture evaporating from out of the skin.
We recommend these products containing Glycerin:
For a cleansing balm rich in Glycerin and Baobab Oil, resulting in clean, calm and hydrated skin, try Gentle Cleansing Melt by Evolve $44.95
For a renewing and firming skin moisturiser, try Pestle & Mortar’s lightweight Hydrate Moisturiser $79.95
For a highly concentrated yet lightweight moisturising treatment mask perfect for dehydrated skin, try Nuori’s Supreme Moisture Mask $129.95
Co-Design Your Activated Essentials —
Here at Noéma, we’re busy researching the best ingredients - so that we can make the best activated essentials for you, with you. We’re taking a radically new direction in skincare; we use you as the key ingredient.
By collaborating with industry experts such as naturopaths, biochemists, product specialists and formulators, our aim is to create an Activated Essentials product range with the best ingredients, formula and design.
We’re taking applications from our diverse community to contribute to co-designing an essential micro-range of products right for them. Get involved in upcoming events and workshops covering wellness, self-care and design.