Is glycerin soap good for your skin?
Posted on 26th May 2020 at 19:51
Is glycerin soap good for your skin?
In this article we will cover a few topics related to glycerin soap or glycerine soap as it is also known and why it's good for your skin, they include:
Is glycerin soap good for your skin?
Soap with glycerin in is good for your skin. The glycerin within the soap is a humectant, which keeps moisture locked into your skin.
Humectants draw moisture from the atmosphere towards it which is why you will often see a glycerin soap ‘sweating’.
This is because the soap is drawing moisture from the surrounding atmosphere towards it, and unlike skin, the soap cannot absorb it, so it looks like the soap is sweating.
We like to think of glycerin like a cactus. It will draw moisture in from around it in the most efficient way possible.
Glycerin is a humectant, similar to aloe vera gel but better. As we know Aloe vera (a species of cactus) is used in a lot of skin care products for its moisturising abilities.
According to this study glycerin is the most effective humectant which means that it is the best at pulling moisture from the air towards your skin. When you use a product with aloe vera or glycerin in these products should leave your skin moisturised.
When you have these humectants within skin care products, they will leave you moisturised, unless they have other ingredients counteracting them.
Ingredients such as sodium lauryl sulphate or other chemical surfactants can counteract the moisturising effects of glycerin with their skin drying qualities.
Natural ingredients used in a high proportion can also have an adverse affect on your skin. oils such as coconut oil and palm oil are natural cleansers and can be very drying to skin when the majority of the product is made with these oils.
When you have drying ingredients such as those we have listed your skin can be left very dry as these ingredients tend to strip away the natural grease our skin needs to retain moisture.
The glycerin within your product may counteract this, but only if there is enough of it included and in the majority of over the counter soaps, they contain large volumes of these drying ingredients.
With this in mind, it’s important to point out that glycerin and aloe vera are expensive ingredients and cleansers like sodium lauryl sulphate and palm oil are very cheap.
The likelihood is that the cheaper the product, the higher concentration of surfactants and cleansers and the lower the concentration of these amazing moisturising humectants.
Glycerin is listed on a lot of products which claim moisturising abilities, for instance you can find it on the label of most mass produced soaps or ‘moisture bars’, which is perfectly legal as it will probably contain a trace amount.
These soaps will only have a miniscule amount of glycerin in as the majority of it has been removed using the process we mention later on in this article.
One way to know if your soap has glycerin in it is to look out for one key ingredient. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about it in this section.
So, glycerin soap is good for your skin, but only if it contains a high content of glycerin, preferably no surfactants and a low concentration of cleansers.
Is pure glycerin soap good for your skin?
There are a couple of types of glycerin soap, there is the pure glycerin soap which is translucent and only made with pure glycerin. This soap is a good option but not the best.
The drawbacks to pure glycerin soaps are;
It is a very soft soap as it is made with pure glycerin which is a liquid. Soaps tend to last longer if they have hard fats incorporated into them, ingredients like cocoa butter and coconut oil are solid at room temperature and tend to make soap bars last longer.
One of the drawbacks of a glycerin based soap, as mentioned in this study, is that concentrations of between 5-20% deliver the best results and anything over these concentrations have very little added benefits.
Using pure glycerin soap is like taking vitamin C tablets, when you already get enough in your diet. It's an expensive habit and most of it is doing nothing. Luckily our soaps fall within the effective range and contain lots of other skin loving ingredients.
Pure glycerin soap will dissolve if left in water, so make sure you have a soap dish which has draining holes in the bottom or you may find your bar has disappeared overnight.
So to answer the question is pure glycerin soap good for your skin, the answer is yes it is but you can get the same effects from a soap with high glycerin content plus the added benefits of all the other ingredients in the soap other than glycerin as we will explain below.
The other type of glycerin soap you can buy is a natural soap that states that it has glycerin in it.
Natural glycerin soap will contain at least 5% glycerin, if none has been removed. Larger companies that produce soap and natural soaps tend to remove the glycerin from their bars.
The trick to distinguishing whether glycerin soap contains a lot of glycerin or just trace amounts is to check the label for sodium chloride. Sodium chloride is salt and is present in the salt water used to separate the soap from the glycerin.
Sodium chloride has no real beneficial properties in soap apart from speeding up the curing process, but even this ‘benefit’ is relatively small and may only reduce curing time by a day or two.
If you can see sodium chloride present in your soap bar then it’s a pretty good bet the glycerin has been removed and sold on or used in the company’s other products.
Another benefit to soap, not pure but with high glycerin content, is if it contains hard fats like coconut oil and cocoa butter it will last for a much longer time than pure glycerin soap.
It will also have other oils, fats and butters incorporated that have beneficial skin benefits. Our soap range includes olive oil, cocoa butter and hempseed oil, which are emollient’s for the skin, leaving it moisturised.
When you add the high glycerin content in the soap, to these skin loving ingredients, you get a bar that moisturises your skin while washing and after use as the glycerin will benefit your skin all day or until your next wash.
Benefits of glycerin soap for skin
Glycerin soap can be hugely beneficial to those of us with dry skin and even help those with dry skin conditions such as eczema. The specific benefits of glycerin soap are listed below.
Moisturising- Glycerin is a natural humectant, when using a glycerin soap the glycerin is transferred to your skin and will continue to attract moisture towards it. This is why soap with glycerin in is the best soap for moisturised skin.
Gentle on skin- Glycerin is very gentle on skin because it is a neutral pH 7. Meaning it has the same pH as water. Soaps that contain glycerin have lower pH’s and are generally more mild and gentle on skin. Glycerin soap can be great for use on the face as the skin in this area is thinner and needs a gentle soap.
Heals Skin- When skin is dry and cracked, glycerin can help to repair the skin by drawing moisture towards it and allow it to heal faster. This is why glycerin soap is the best soap for dry skin and other conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
Safe- Glycerin has been classed as a safe ingredient in the use of cosmetics and food. There are zero restrictions from the EU cosmetics regulations on the use of glycerin as it is one of the safest ingredients you can use in products for the skin.
Great for dry skin conditions- Glycerin soap is the best soap for dry skin you can use. This is because of its ability to attract moisture from the surrounding environment towards your skin.
Prevents damage to skin- Soaps that use drying chemicals such as sodium lauryl sulphate can damage the skin by removing the oils that ties our skin cells together, preventing moisture loss. Glycerin soaps without chemicals do not strip our skin of the natural oils we need to keep our skin moisturised.
Cold weather- Glycerin soaps are particularly useful in winter. When the weather is cold and dry our bodies loose more water to evaporation. A glycerin soap is the perfect solution to prevent dry skin in winter.
As you can see there are many benefits of glycerin soap and they are great for dry skin conditions, but they can be used by anybody for more moisturised skin. They may even save you some money by not having to moisturise your skin with expensive moisturisers.
How is glycerin made from soap?
Glycerin is a bi-product from the soap making process. It is made from vegetable and animal fats. Within these fats are molecules called triglycerides, cells which are made up of one glycerin cell attached to 3 fat cells.
During the soap making process, also called saponification, the fat cells and glycerin are separated. The fat cells are turned into salts (soap) and the glycerin is left floating within the soap mixture.
Saponification is the process of soap making and in basic terms is mixing oils, fats and butters with a lye solution. The fat cells are turned into salts (soap) and the glycerin is left floating within the soap mixture.
The glycerin is now within the soap, but can be separated as they are not chemically bonded to the soap mixture. The process for removing glycerin or glycerine as it is also known is very simple:
Simply add the soap to a pot of salted water.
The soap will then separate from the glycerin, in which the soap will float in curds on the top of the water, and the glycerin will sink to the bottom.
Then remove the curds which can be compressed back together to form a soap bar with trace amounts of glycerin.
To get the glycerin out you will now have to pour out and boil off the salt water and you will be left with pure glycerin
Removing glycerin from the soap seems like a ridiculous thing to do considering the amazing benefits it has for your skin, but it is an extremely valuable ingredient.
Glycerin is highly prized in the cosmetics, food and pharmaceutical industry.
In the food industry it is used in ice cream and other frozen products to stop ice crystals from forming in the freezing process, it can also be used as a thickener, solvent and emulsifier.
It is a common ingredient in heart medication as it widens the arteries of the heart and lowers the heart rate, reducing the workload on the heart.
Most commonly glycerin is used in moisturising creams and lotions because the humectant qualities of drawing moisture towards your skin, this adds huge benefits to a moisturising cream or lotion.
Large companies that mass produce soaps will remove the glycerin naturally produced in their soaps and add them to their own moisturising creams and lotions.
So this is how glycerin is made and removed from soap. In our next section we'll tell you why this moisturising ingredient they remove is great for dry skin!
Is glycerin soap best for dry skin?
Glycerin soap with between 5-20% glycerin content is the best soap you can use on your skin if you suffer with dry skin, eczema or psoriasis.
Glycerin is the most effective humectants at drawing moisture towards it, so by using a soap with a good amount of it in, the results will be the best and more moisturising than typical bars you would pick up at the supermarket or pharmacy.
Highly cleansing soaps made with large concentrations of palm oil, like the vast majority of soaps you can buy at the pharmacy or supermarkets tend to be very drying and therefore are unsuitable for dry skin.
Similarly liquid soaps made with drying chemicals such as sodium laureth sulphate are also unsuitable for dry skin, as these ingredients are very drying for skin.
For the best glycerin soap, you should look for additional ingredients to aid the glycerin in moisturising the skin.
Some of the best emollients in soap are olive oil, hempseed oil and cocoa butter. These emollients when used in glycerin soap are fantastic additions that benefit the skin with extra moisture for the skin.
That’s why we used them in our soaps when we were formulating our recipe. We know that they provide the highest benefits to dry skin conditions.
So yes, glycerin soap is the best for dry skin, eczema and psoriasis and for the best results avoid palm oil based soaps and liquid soaps such as shower gel all together.
Can glycerin soap be bad for your skin?
Yes, it can be, but luckily not in the UK. Glycerin’s humectant and moisture drawing ability can be dangerous in certain circumstances.
One circumstance in which we would recommend not using glycerin soap is in very hot and dry climates. This is because there is very little moisture in the air for the glycerin to draw to your skin.
Examples of areas not to use glycerin soap would be Death Valley in the USA and the Sahara Desert in Africa.
In this case glycerin will try to draw moisture from somewhere and that somewhere is from the lower layer of skin also called the subcutaneous tissue.
By drawing moisture from this layer of skin it can leave you dehydrated which is dangerous in any circumstance but especially so in a warm dry location.
If you are travelling to somewhere hot and dry, our advice would be to not use the soap unless you are sure you are going to be staying well hydrated throughout the day or you will be around somewhere with moisture for instance a swimming pool.
Other than in these circumstances, glycerin in soap is perfectly safe and will leave your skin feeling soft, supple and moisturised which in itself is a massive health benefit.
To conclude, Glycerin is one of the most effective humectants that you should have in your skin care.
Using a soap or any other wash product that doesn’t contain glycerin, or claims to but has had it removed (salt) is likely to leave you with dry skin.
Pure glycerin soap is like paying for vitamin c supplements whilst eating 5 oranges a day! Plus it is super soft and you'll likely burn through it at a quicker rate.
Using a glycerin soap with a range of skin loving ingredients, such as emollients will give better results than just glycerin alone.
Glycerin soaps are completely safe for use throughout the majority of the world. The only exceptions are extremely dry places where there is no moisture in the air.
Glycerin soaps have some great benefits for skin and can aid your journey in the pursuit for soft, moisturised skin. You will probably find you save money as well as you won’t need to moisturise with a cream after your bath or shower.
Thank you for reading our article all the way to the end. If you are looking for a place to buy a bar of soap with high glycerin content and skin loving ingredients then you should look here.
I hope you have enjoyed this article, and we have plenty more on our blog if you want to read more about why natural glycerin soap is so great.
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