How To Use Glycerin On Face – Benefits And Side Effects

Written by Arshiya Syeda

Glycerin is a colorless, odorless, clear, viscous, and water-soluble liquid and is also known as glycerol. This versatile compound has over 1500 uses (1). You can use glycerin on the face to improve your look and skin texture.

Glycerin also contains alcohol and sugar compounds derived from animal and plant sources. It is a byproduct of the soap-making process and can provide several benefits to your skin. If you wish to give it a try, it is best to have a clear idea of the ingredient. This article deals with glycerin and how you can use them in your skin care routine. Keep reading to know more about it.

Top 5 Benefits Of Glycerin For Skin

1. Helps Moisturize Skin

Glycerin hydrates the outer layer of the skin, particularly during dry and cold weather conditions. It is the most powerful humectant in comparison with hyaluronic acid, sorbitol, etc. (2). To use it as a moisturizer, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Add two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice to 250 ml of glycerin.
  • Step 2: Apply this mixture to your face every night before sleeping. You will wake up to dewy, hydrated skin in the morning.

2. May Reduce Signs Of Aging

Glycerin enhances the skin barrier function (3). It also may boost skin elasticity and reduce fine lines and wrinkles over time. Here is a DIY recipe you can try to leverage glycerins anti-aging benefits:

  • Step 1: Beat an egg white till it is frothy.
  • Step 2: Mix a teaspoon each of organic honey and glycerin.
  • Step 3: Apply the mixture to the face in an upward, circular motion.
  • Step 4: Let it sit for 20 minutes and wash with plain water.

3. May Help Reduce Acne

Glycerin could help protect the skin against irritants and may help prevent acne. However, more research is warranted in this regard. But glycerin is a moisturizer and may help in acne treatment (4).

  • Step 1: Mix a tablespoon of glycerin, half a tablespoon of borax powder, and a little camphor in a glass of distilled water.
  • Step 2: Stir till you get a smooth paste. Apply to your face and let it dry.
  • Step 3. Wash with ice-cold water. This closes the skin pores and may help in acne treatment.

4. May Help Heal Wounds

Glycerin helps accelerate wound healing. It has strong antimicrobial properties that may fight the infection around wounds (5).

  • Step 1: Mix 4 teaspoons of pure fullers earth and a teaspoon of glycerin.
  • Step 2: Add a little water to make a smooth paste.
  • Step 3: Apply the mixture to your face using your fingers. Do not apply near the mouth or the eye areas.
  • Step 4: Let it dry. Wash with plain water.

5. May Promote Skin Glow

Anecdotal evidence suggests that glycerin may help promote skin glow. Here is a homemade glycerin recipe that can help:

  • Step 1: Mix half a cup of water with one teaspoon of glycerin.
  • Step 2: Add one teaspoon of cold-pressed vegetable oil like sesame, almond, or apricot.
  • Step 3: Add a few drops of any essential oil of your choice.
  • Step 4: Cool the mixture in a refrigerator and apply it to your face with a cotton pad. Let it sit for about 20 minutes and wash off.

You may also mix vitamin E oil, Vaseline, and glycerin in equal parts and apply the mixture to your face before taking a shower. You can also use glycerin on your face in various other ways. We have listed them below.

How To Use Glycerin On Face: Top 4 Ways

A. Apply It Directly To Your Face:

  • Step 1: Wash your face with cool water and pat dry with a microfiber towel. Make sure your face is a little damp.
  • Step 2: Dab some glycerin on a cotton ball. Apply lightly onto your skin.
  • Step 3: Do not apply near the mouth or eyes.
  • Step 4: Leave it on for about 20 to 30 minutes and wash off.

B. As A Cleanser: Use this DIY glycerin cleanser recipe for cleansing your face.

  • Step 1: Mix three teaspoons of milk with a teaspoon of glycerin.
  • Step 2: Apply the mixture to your face at night and gently massage it. Wash off in the morning.

C. As A Dirt, Oil, And Makeup Remover:

  • Step 1: Mix half a cup of water with one-and-a-half tablespoons each of glycerin and cornflour.
  • Step 2: Bring the mixture to a boil until it looks clear.
  • Step 3: Dab your face with cool water.
  • Step 4: After the mixture has cooled, apply a little on moist skin and leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes. Wash with cool water.

D. As A Homemade Toner:

  • Step 1: Wash your face.
  • Step 2: Dilute a little glycerin with water and dab it on your damp face. This will help tighten your pores.
  • Step 3: Next, mix one-fourth cup of glycerin with one-and-a-half cups of rose water. Use this mixture as an effective toning solution.

Here is how you can use glycerin in different ways to promote your overall skin health. But does glycerin cause any side effects?

Side Effects Of Glycerin

Glycerin does not have any reported side effects as it is mild in nature. That said, there are certain precautionary measures you can take. Since it is a natural product, certain people with sensitive skin might have an allergic reaction. Do a patch test on the insides of your arm prior to applying it to your face. This is to ensure you do not experience

  • Redness
  • Blisters
  • Swelling
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Rashes

Stop using the product immediately if you observe any of the above-mentioned symptoms.

These are the other precautions you can take:

  • Read The Label: Before buying any product containing glycerin, make sure to read the ingredients label carefully to ensure it is of high quality.
  • Dilute The Glycerin: Dilute the glycerin with water or rose water before you apply it. Rose water has antioxidant properties and may further help promote skin health (6).
  • Wash Off Quickly: Do not leave glycerin on your face for too long as it tends to attract dust and pollution.
  • Wear Sunscreen: Glycerin can trigger sun sensitivity. Hence, it is important you wear a sunscreen lotion after applying it to your face.
  • You May Choose Vegetable Glycerin: Vegans may have issues using animal-based glycerin You can always use glycerin derived from vegetable oils (like palm, soy, or coconut oils). Make sure to read the label carefully.

Glycerin is an odorless and transparent water-soluble liquid that can easily be incorporated into your skincare routine. The benefits of using glycerin for your face may include moisturizing your skin, healing wounds, and reducing the signs of aging and acne. You can either use glycerin directly on your face or dilute it with water to use it as a cleanser or toner. Conduct a patch test before you use glycerin as it may result in redness, swelling, itching, or rashes. If you develop any of these symptoms, stop using it immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between glycerin and hyaluronic acid?

Both glycerin and hyaluronic acid helps retain water and seal skin moisture for up to 24 hours (3). The only difference lies in how they behave on the skin. Glycerin is made of small molecules and gets easily absorbed into the surface of the skin. Hyaluronic acid is made of larger molecules that sit on top of the skin and act like a hydrating cushion.

How long should I leave glycerin on the skin?

Do not leave glycerin on your skin for too long as it may attract dust and pollution. Leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes. If you wish to leave it on overnight, make sure to dilute it with rose water.

Is glycerin soap good for my skin?

Yes, glycerin soaps are good for the skin as they can hydrate your skin. They also are suitable for all skin types.

Key Takeaways

  • Glycerin is great for the skin as it retains its moisture.
  • This colorless and odorless liquid may hydrate the skin, reduce the signs of aging, and help prevent acne.
  • You can apply glycerin directly to your face or use it as a cleanser and a makeup remover.
  • People with sensitive skin may not react well to glycerin and experience redness, swelling, and itching.


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