Does glycerine dry the skin?

Gly­ce­rine, as well as urea, belong to NMF (natural mois­ture fac­tors) of the skin.

It is a com­po­nent of many vege­table and animal fats. Syn­thetic deri­va­tion from petro­leum is pos­sible as well. Since gly­ce­rine is a 'by-pro­duct' of the pro­duc­tion of bio-diesel, vege­table gly­ce­rine has gained sig­ni­fi­cance in the last years. Gly­ce­rine can be also derived from palm oil, which can be eco­lo­gi­cally pro­b­le­matic again.

In dry win­tery air, skin-pro­duced gly­ce­rine com­pen­sates a deficit of mois­ture by dra­wing it from the connec­tive tissue so that the skin does not dry up. Gly­ce­rine in a cream has the same effect: It binds the mois­ture from the skin if the pro­duct does not pro­vide enough water or if the gly­ce­rine con­cen­t­ra­tion is too high in pro­por­tion to the water con­tent of the cream. For this reason, it is recom­mended that the con­cen­t­ra­tion of gly­ce­rine in a cream should not exceed 10 %.

That's why it is most com­monly recom­mended that the INCI decla­ra­tion of a pro­duct should not begin with gly­ce­rine because the ing­re­di­ents must be listed there in des­cen­ding con­cen­t­ra­tion.

Unfort­u­na­tely, the INCI decla­ra­tion does not really allow con­clu­sions on the con­cen­t­ra­tions of indi­vi­dual raw sub­stances to be drawn, as the fol­lo­wing example shows. In addi­tion, raw sub­stances con­tained in con­cen­t­ra­tions below 1 % can be declared by the manu­fac­turer in any order.

For example, a pro­duct con­tai­ning water, jojoba oil, gly­ce­rine, gel makers, emul­si­fiers, active sub­stance, pre­ser­va­tive, must be declared in this very order accor­ding to INCI. Here you would almost ine­vi­tably assume a high con­cen­t­ra­tion of gly­ce­rine.

In rea­lity, however, the fol­lo­wing con­cen­t­ra­tions often result:

Water                         56%
Jojoba oil                   30%
Gly­ce­rine                     5%
Gel makers                 4%
Emul­si­fiers                 3%
Active sub­stance     1.8%
Pre­ser­va­tives           0.2%

We use gly­ce­rine con­cen­t­ra­tions below 10 % and with suf­fi­ci­ently high water con­tent so that Belico pre­pa­ra­tions have a mois­tu­ri­sing and non-drying effect.