Structural formula of glycerin


What is it?

“Glycerol (/ˈɡlɪsərɒl/;[4] also called glycerine or glycerin; see spelling differences) is a simple polyol compound. It is a colorless, odorless, viscous liquid that is sweet-tasting and non-toxic. The glycerol backbone is found in all lipids known as triglycerides.” Wikipedia

What are the effects?

This substance belongs to the groups:

This substance may be derived from animals.

When glycerin is derived from animals it is most commonly sourced from tallow. Tallow usually refers to fat sourced from beef and mutton but could it can also include fat from pigs and lards.

However, glycerin may also be vegan as it can be found in vegetable fats and oils, for example in soybeans or palms. Glycerin can also be synthetically manufactured.

No matter how it is sourced, vegan or non-vegan, this ingredient is often named the same. To know if the product is free from animal biological parts, look for “vegetarian” or “vegan” stamps on the product or in the product description. In some cases you may even have to ask the manufacturer to know how the ingredient is sourced.

How is it used?

Glycerin can be found in all kinds of products and applications, and there are numerous derivatives containing this substance.

The nonprofit organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have found this substance in “cosmetics, foods, mouthwashes, chewing gum, toothpastes, soaps, ointments, medicines, lubricants, transmission and brake fluid, and plastics.”

It functions for example as a solvent, hygroscopic (can absorb or adsorb water from surrounding area), filler, humectant (holds and retains moisture) and lubricant in the different kind of products.

After water, glycerol is reportedly the most common ingredient found in cosmetics, according to the FDA’s Voluntary Cosmetic Reporting Program.

We use the European Commissions definition of Cosmetics:
“Cosmetics range from everyday hygiene products such as soap, shampoo, deodorant, and toothpaste to luxury beauty items including perfumes and makeup”.

Did you find this ingredient in a product?

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