Myth "glycerin dries out the skin" - what's the truth?
For years, glycerin has had a reputation for drying out the skin. Is that even true? Yes and no. As with so many ingredients, the right concentration and combination is also important here.
So that you can understand this, let me briefly explain the function of glycerin: Glycerin attracts water like a magnet. This effect is desirable because it makes this ingredient the best moisturizerof all.
Where did the rumor come from that glycerin is said to have a drying effect? As I said, glycerin loves water. However, the glycerin doesn't really care where the water comes from, as long as it is easily available. It can come from three sources:
- Water from the ambient air (at high humidity)
- Water from other ingredients in the product
- Water stored in the skin
Perhaps you already know from which source the glycerin should not be used? Exactly, from source 3: water from your skin! As soon as glycerin does not get enough water from other sources, it draws water up from the deeper layers of the skin to the skin's surface. The drying effect is created. Two factors prevent this from happening: the right formulation and the right concentration.
Glycerin should be accompanied by aqueous ingredients
The glycerin may not care where it gets its water from, but of course your skin doesn't. So it's important that glycerin is always accompanied by other moisturizing ingredients. Then it doesn't bind water from your skin, but uses the water from the product. In this combination, glycerin moisturizes your skin deeply and for a long time.
By the way, high humidity is great in connection with glycerine, i.e. vacation in a warm, humid climate or a good humidifier at home. In the winter at home, on the other hand, you should be extra picky about a good moisturizing care
Do you have to be afraid that your product with glycerin will dry out your skin? no Today, cosmetic products are formulated with this knowledge. No reason to panic, because in high-quality moisturizing creams and serums glycerine is dosed and combined in such a way that it shows its best side.
☝️ Tip: Recognize water-based substances on the INCI list: At least one water-based ingredient should be present before glycerin. Best in first or second place. For example Aqua, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice or …Flower Water.
How do I know if there is too much glycerin in my cream?
The more glycerin the product contains, the higher the water requirement. If the concentration is too high, at some point it can no longer be compensated for in the recipe. Therefore, the dosage of the glycerin also plays an important role.
The drying effect occurs when a product consists of more than 10% glycerin.If you have already researched a bit online, you may have noticed that some sources only speak of a drying effect from 30% What is the reason for that? Well, the effect doesn't suddenly switch.
Concentrations of up to 10% are harmless in skin care. Above that, the effect gradually turns into the opposite until it becomes really critical from 30%. In skin care products, the glycerin content is usually 3–5%, which is well within the “safe” range.
☝️ Tip: Glycerin should not be in first or second position on the INCI list, because the ingredients are listed in descending order of the amount used. When glycerin is third, it is more likely that the concentration used is 10% or lower.