Vegetable glycerin is also called glycerine or glycerol. Whatever you call it, it’s a clear liquid that is usually made out of coconut, palm, or soybean oils. It’s odourless but has a mildly sweet taste that has a consistency like syrup. Vegetable glycerin is especially popular within the cosmetic industry, although it has a number of other uses too. It might even provide some health benefits, which can range from healthier skin to improved hydration and a stronger gut. Keep reading to learn about the uses, advantages, and side effects of vegetable glycerin.
Just What Exactly Is Vegetable Glycerin?
Glycerin is a particular sugar alcohol that gets derived from petroleum, plants, or animal products. Vegetable glycerin is the specific variant sourced from plant oils. It’s purportedly an accidental discovery from over two hundred years ago when a mixture of lead monoxide and olive oil was heated. However, it didn’t become industrially or economically significant until the late 1800s. At that time, it started seeing use in the production of dynamite. Vegetable glycerin gets made from heating vegetable fats rich in triglycerides, like coconut, palm, and soy oils, either under pressure or collectively with a strong alkali like lye. This will cause glycerin to get split away from the source of fatty acids, so they mix together with water, resulting in the formation of an odourless syrup-like liquid that tastes sweet which is often pumped into containers using air operated diaphragm pumps.
Vegetable glycerin gets used widely in the cosmetics, food, and pharmaceutical industries. For example, it’s frequently added to foods in order to help the mixture of oil- and water-based ingredients, which means the final product is moistened or sweetened. It also gets used for the prevention of ice crystal formation in frozen foods, like ice cream, low-fat frozen yoghurt, and other desserts. Glycerin is also a common ingredient in many pharmaceutical drugs, like suppositories, anaesthetics, cough remedies, and heart medications. Also, you can even find vegetable glycerin in your toothpaste, since it helps with the prevention of hardening or drying out in the tube. Even more, it is commonly added to makeup, lotions, soaps, candles, and deodorants.
Vegetable glycerin gets touted as a product with a number of potential health benefits. Having said that, only a handful of these benefits are currently supported by science, so the related studies are small and not high in number. Be mindful that more research is needed on the actual health benefits. The following benefits are the ones that, at the time of writing, have the most available research behind them:
Might Moisturise Skin
Vegetable glycerin is a relatively popular treatment for skincare given its moisturising power. Research indicates that the application of glycerin to your skin might gradually result in improvements in the suppleness and smoothness. As a matter of fact, using creams that contain glycerin might increase skin hydration in just 10 days.
Might Promote Healthier Skin
Vegetable glycerin might lead to improved skin health with by soothing skin irritation and protecting against infection while promoting wound healing. Studies indicate that the application of glycerin-containing products might protect your skin from microbes and irritants and also soothe wounded or inflamed skin. On top of that, vegetable glycerin might act like a barrier that safeguards your skin from elements such as cold and wind.
Might Boost Hydration and Even Athletic Performance
Glycerin might also boost hydration which could enhance your athletic performance. A great strategy for avoiding hydration is drinking sufficient liquids both in advance of and during your exercise. On the other hand, it can be quite impractical to drink while doing particular kinds of physical activity. In cases like these, consuming plenty of liquids in advance is crucial. In a different study, glycerin drinks proved more effective than even water or sports drinks in the improvement of hydration in athletes that lost substantial volumes of water through their exercise sweat.
Possible Side Effects
Vegetable glycerin is typically thought of as safe. Having said that, you might experience allergic reactions when it gets applied right onto your skin. As such, it’s better of to start with small amounts in order to see what kind of reactions your skin has. When ingested, vegetable glycerin might cause dizziness, vomiting, headaches, excessive thirst, and nausea in certain people. Since glycerin is a kind of sugar alcohol which your body can’t absorb fully, then the consumption of too much, be it alone or just through foods, might also lead to things like gas and diarrhoea.