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What Does Glycerin Do and Why Is It Used in Skincare?

What Does Glycerin Do and Why Is It Used in Skincare?

One of the most underrated elements of skincare is understanding the ingredients of the products you are using. Remember, part of being your best self means raising your standard and only using what is best for you. 

An absurd amount of skincare products are made using harmful chemicals and acids that you can’t even pronounce. Without being educated on these ingredients, it is understandable for any person to fall into the trap of trusting these products and applying them to their skin health. 

Unfortunately, this often results in damaging your skin even further.

Skin care is a lifelong journey and, if not approached as such, can become overwhelming. For this reason, let’s take it one step at a time and keep today’s focus on one common and coveted skin care ingredient: glycerin.

Glycerin is a sweet-tasting colorless, odorless, viscous liquid that occurs naturally in plant matter. Glycerin is classified as a humectant carbohydrate that attracts and retains water. Several properties have cosmetic and health benefits, making it a common ingredient in skin care products.

Benefits of Using Glycerin

One of the biggest appeals of glycerin in skin care is that it is a natural ingredient. Several skin care products on the market are formulated with harsh chemicals that harm your body more than good. It is understandable for consumers to want to stay away from these products. 

Antimicrobial Properties 

Glycerin is a naturally derived compound that can also be manufactured synthetically. The ingredient itself comes with benefits and performs as a natural humectant. Most recognizably, it has antimicrobial and antiviral properties. 

For this reason, it is used in several FDA-approved treatments. This mark of approval from the FDA contributes to the product’s popularity as it provides users with security when applying it to their skin.


On the topic of glycerin acting as a natural humectant, this particular property is a huge draw for the ingredient. As already briefly explained, humectants are substances used to reduce moisture loss and keep things moisture-laden. This means that, when used in skin care, glycerin is consistently successful at offering users total skin hydration and preventing their skin from drying out.


Whether it is used in creams and lotions or as a cleanser, glycerin is an effective moisturizer. It helps to improve and protect the skin’s barrier, which is the outermost layer of your skin. One of the central functions of this barrier is to defend your body against external threats and to protect your hydration levels. 

Glycerin can help the barrier with both of these tasks by locking in moisture and keeping out irritants. On a cosmetic level, this leaves your skin looking smooth and fresh.


Another appeal to the product is that it is considered lightweight. When something is lightweight, it is typically safe for anyone to use. Therefore, lightweight products are especially coveted because of their accessibility.

Works For All Skin Types 

This property of glycerin makes it safe for all skin types to use. Your skin type is determined by genetics and is defined by its characteristics. 

The five skin types consist of:

  • Normal skin
  • Dry skin 
  • Oily skin 
  • Combination skin
  • Sensitive skin

Generally speaking, it can be challenging for those with oily and sensitive skin types to find the right moisturizer for them. Those with oily skin have an excess amount of oil on their face,  giving them a shiny complexion and making them more prone to pore clogging and pimples. 

Sensitive skin is exactly what it sounds like, sensitive, and is easily irritated, resulting in redness, dryness, and itching. This is especially true if it triggers irritation, and oily skin cannot afford to use thick substances with there already being a naturally thick layer of sebum on their face. 

Thus, lightweight options are typically the way to go. This means you can use glycerin as a viable option for even those with sensitive or oily skin.   

Supports Aid Against Acne

Acne occurs when sebaceous glands secrete sebum into hair follicles, but the pores become clogged, interact with bacteria, and result in skin irritation. The irritation can present itself as whiteheads, blackheads, papules, pustules, or cysts.

To avoid such blemishes as these and to avoid exacerbating acne production, you must use products that have a low chance of clogging your pores. Glycerin is known not to clog pores because it is lightweight, making it popular among those looking to avoid developing new blemishes.

Tips for Using Glycerin

As previously mentioned, one of the strengths of glycerin is that it is a nontoxic ingredient that is safe for just about everyone to use. As with most skin care ingredients, it is typically not advisable to use the pure form of glycerin on your skin to avoid any chances of irritation. 

Products that contain glycerin, however, should prove to be both safe and beneficial. If your skin becomes irritated by a product containing glycerin, it is unlikely that the glycerin is causing harm unless you have a rare allergic reaction to the substance. 

As with any negative reaction to a product, stop using it immediately and treat the irritation as soon as you can. Consult a physician if necessary.

It is safe to use products containing the substance every day for those who do not have a sensitivity to glycerin. Suppose you prefer to have direct control over how much glycerin is being applied to your skin and would rather concoct your own product at home. 

In that case, we recommend adding drops of glycerin to some other skin-friendly ingredients like coconut oil or rosewater before application.

Conversely, if you are looking for a simplified solution and would prefer to use professionally made skin care products containing glycerin, there are many options available to you. You can find glycerin in moisturizers, shaving creams, toners, sunscreen, and more.

The Resetter 

The Resetter is a perfect example of a product that harnesses the benefits of glycerin to produce the best results for its users. The Resetter is a water-based two-in-one facial cleanser and shaving gel that uses all-natural ingredients to offer every man a smooth shave and deep but gentle cleansing. 

Used by clean and classy men everywhere, the product intends to improve your cleansing and shaving experience. Rather than leaving your skin feeling stung and puffy like so many store brand oil-free cleansers have the tendency of doing, The Resetter uses ingredients that will leave you feeling smooth and fresh.

One of the key ingredients of The Resetter is coconut oil that is infused with glycerin. 

Glycerin-infused coconut oil was carefully selected for this product because it is full of antioxidants that help to preserve one’s dry skin condition. Its main function is to create a barrier on the skin’s surface that can reduce dryness by helping to decrease the loss of moisture.

MadeMan also uses glycerin in its moisturizer, The Refresher. 

The Refresher uses anti-foaming additives derived from silica to help smooth out your skin, retain moisture, and offer you a hydrated appearance. Additionally, the product is formulated to be able to act as a protectant against harmful ultraviolet rays and pollution. Just like with The Resetter, this product is water-based and uses all-natural ingredients.

The central function of any moisturizer should be to, you guessed it, moisturize the skin barrier. Moisturizing your skin can reduce the chances of developing skin problems like dryness, breakage, and breakouts, making it an important part of everyone’s skin care routine. 

In order to render the best results from your moisturizer, it is smart to select one that uses ingredients that will provide you with long-term skin enhancement. Since it is a natural humectant, the product can preserve and reduce the loss of moisture in the skin.


All in all, glycerin is an incredible ingredient for improving your skin. It is featured in several skincare products for a good reason. If you are aiming to take control of your life and appearance and want to be more conscious of what you are applying to your skin, looking out for glycerin in products is a great place to start. 

We here at MadeMan aim to be a voice for healthy and positive masculinity through the lens of self-care. We believe that if you know how to take care of yourself, you can care for others. 

Learning to take care of yourself means being willing to invest time and energy into raising your standards for what methods and products you use on a daily basis. 

We offer a space for all men searching for mentorship and commit ourselves to guide you to discover your own sex appeal and self-confidence through proper skin care. 


Glycerol and the skin: a holistic approach to its origin and functions | PubMed

Glycerol and urea can be used to increase skin permeability in reduced hydration conditions | Science Direct

Safety Assessment of Glycerin as Used in Cosmetics | PubMed

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