Products: Glycerine, also known as glycerol or glycerin, is a colourless and odourless moisturizing agent, typically supplied at 86% or 99% active level. It is present in all natural lipids (fats). Traditionally, glycerine is obtained by saponification of triglyceride oils (derived from animal or vegetable sources) in soap manufacturing.

Whether natural or synthetic, glycerine is a humectant and extremely hygroscopic, meaning it readily absorbs water from other sources. In part, glycerine works because of its ability to attract water from the environment and from the lower layers of skin (dermis) increasing the amount of water in the surface layers of skin. Another aspect of the benefit of glycerine is that it is a skin-identical ingredient, meaning that it is a substance found naturally in skin. In that respect it is one of the many substances in skin that help maintain the outer barrier and prevent dryness or scaling.

Dermosoft ® 1388 (containing aqua, glycerine, sodium levulinate, and sodium anisate) is a combination of fragrances of natural origin with a mild inherent odour and bio-stabilizing properties. It is useful for stabilizing surfactant products as well as emulsions and can be used in cold processing.


Glycerine is a unique and versatile chemical with numerous applications. After water, glycerine is the most common ingredient employed in the formulation of cosmetics, personal care products and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs.

Glycerine combined with other emollients and/or oils is a fundamental cornerstone of most moisturizers. Glycerine is also a natural preservative.

When properly formulated, glycerine strengthens the skin’s natural protection by filling in the area known as the intercellular matrix and by attracting just the right amount of water to maintain the skin’s homeostasis. There is also research indicating that the presence of glycerine in the intercellular layer helps other skin lipids do their jobs better (Sources: American Journal of Contact Dermatitis, September 2000, pages 165–169; and Acta Dermato-Venereologica, November 1999, pages 418–421).

High levels of vegetable glycerine, up to 15-20%, will have a preservative effect, similar to that effect obtained by the use of high levels of sugar. There is a downside to these high levels which is increased stickiness.


Glycerine’s long history of use and outstanding safety profile make it one of the most trusted chemicals in the industry. In Europe, glycerine derived from natural sources is listed as exempt from the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances (REACH) in Annex V, and in the USA, the FDA recognises glycerine as ‘Generally Regarded As Safe’ (GRAS).

Humectants such as glycerine have always raised the question as to whether or not they take too much water from skin. Pure glycerine (100% concentration) on skin is not helpful and can actually dry the skin and cause blisters if left on too long. So a major drawback of any humectant (including glycerine) when used in pure form is that they can increase water loss by attracting water from the lower layers of skin (dermis) into the surface layers of skin (epidermis) where the water can easily be lost into the environment. For this reason, glycerine and humectants in general are always combined with other ingredients to soften the skin (Source: Skin Therapy Letter, February 2005, pages 1-8).


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