Nasties: Glycerin





I’m probably going to get a few hisses & boo’s from people who swear by the unknown virtues of so-called ‘good glycerin’, when indeed I am positive that there are none.

Glycerol (or glycerin, glycerine) is a simple polyol compound. It is a colorless, odorless, viscous liquid that is widely used in pharmaceutical formulations. Glycerol has three hydrophilic hydroxyl groups that are responsible for its solubility in water and its hygroscopic nature. Glycerin can be dissolved easily into alcohol and water but not into oils. The pure chemical element is called Glycerol, which indicates that it is an alcohol. The impure commercial product is called glycerin.

Glycerin can be produced by saponification of fats, e.g. a byproduct of soap-making. Raw materials used to make glycerol and glycerin include animal fats, such as beef tallow, and vegetable oils, such as coconut and soybean.

In food, Glycerin acts as a bulker, thickner and a preserving agent.

Glycerol is found in medical, pharmaceutical and cosmetics, mainly as a humectant (absorbs water). It is found in allergen immunotherapies, cough syrups, elixirs and expectorants, toothpaste, mouthwashes, skin care products, shaving cream, hair care products, soaps and water-based personal lubricants.

In cosmetics it is mainly found in the form of denatured alchohol (a natural skin dehydrator)  or from sodium castorate (from castor), sodium cocoate, sodium tallowate, sucrose, and water. Sometimes one adds sodium laureth sulfate, or essential oils for fragrance.

Scarily, Glycerin is also used in the form of nitroglycerin, to create dynamite!!!

Watch out for Glycerin & its derivatives in:

– Soaps                         – lotions              – toothpaste

– unnatural balms      – face wash         – mouthwash



One thought on “Nasties: Glycerin

  1. When you say “The pure chemical element is called Glycerol”, I would like to point out that there is no “element” glycerol. And also, I didn’t see a list of any negative effects in this post. There is a list of products that use it, but nothing saying why not to use it.

    Just because glycerin may be used in making dynamite as you say, does not make it harmful. You can say “Dihydrogen monoxide is dangerous! It’s found in all types of cancer and acid rain!” But that doesn’t make H2O harmful.

    I am against using animal products due to the terrible process that the United States has of obtaining most of them, so I could understand not wanting to use animal derived glycerin. As long as it is vegetable derived, what’s the harm?

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