Four Hidden Benefits of Glycerol

Glycerol or glycerine is a form of sugar alcohol of animal products, plants, or petroleum. For instance, you may use soybean, coconut, or palm oils among available plant products. It is a non-toxic, odourless, and colourless liquid. You may think it sounds synthetic, but it isn’t! In fact, it is present in all natural lipids including the skin.

This comes into form by heating a mixture of olive oil and lead monoxide more than two centuries ago. However, it became significant only in the 19th century in dynamite manufacturing. Today, factories make this by heating vegetable fats (such as palm, soy, or coconut oil) under pressure or with an alkalic substance. After that, glycerine separates from fatty fatty acids to combine with water. This creates a odourless, sweet and syrupy liquid.

You can also buy glycerol which is synthetically prepared. For instance, propylene glycol and PEG silicone can make your skin smooth and supple. Above all, it binds and holds moisture to the epidermis or upper layers of the skin. Thus, it keeps you free from skin irritation, rashes, and dermatitis. However, lower skin layers may be dry up if you leave the replenishment incomplete. So, make sure to combine glycerine with oils or other emollients. This provides a layer of protection to retain moisture.

This is a common substance in food, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. First, various foods add this to enable oil and water ingredients to mix and sweeten the final product. Similarly, it prevents the formation of ice crystals in certain foods such as frozen yogurt and ice cream. Secondly, pharmaceutical drugs which cures heart ailments, coughs, and aesthetics. Finally, it is present in toothpaste to prevent it from hardening or drying in the tube.


It is no surprise that glycerol houses multiple other health benefits. However, it is a rather new player in health and skincare. Thus, many of these benefits are not as well-known or work on small scale. Nevertheless, it is sure to brings you benefits if you use this regularly. You can find some of these below.


Vegetable glycerine has powerful moisturising properties. It can improve smoothness, suppleness, and hydration levels of the skin. For instance, one study finds that glycerine-based cream was more effective than hyaluronic acid at skin hydration and moisture loss. Similarly, another study recommends adding glycerine to a warm water bath to avoid skin irritation and moisture loss.

Further, glycerine can promote wound healing and provide protection against infections. It wards away irritants and microbes to create a clothing effect. In addition, it provides a safeguarding effect against wind and clod weather. For example, one study finds that glycerine may be more effective than placebos at lowering the symptoms of those with eczema. However, it seems to have limited or no effect on those with stinging, smarting, irritation or dryness.

Bowel Health

Vegetable glycerine is also a useful tool to alleviate constipation. It contains the laxative property of drawing water towards the gut, which helps in easy processing of food. In other words, it acts as a ‘suppository’ to break down and eliminate food entirely. In fact, studies mention that it is one of the best remedies ti tackle constipation in contrast to other pain killing medications and laxative types. Similarly, another study finds that a glycerine enema was more effective than a soap one by 16.5 percent.

However, remember that no one ingredient can work individually to provide benefits. Glycerine can temporarily lower constipation rates. However, you will need a stable and sustainable diet and lifestyle to retain this. These are long-term health commitments you need for natural laxatives to work.

Click here to find out how to change your diet to suit your dosha type.

Hydration and Athletic Performance

Athletes need sufficient water for optimal performance. In fact, your performance deteriorates when sweat levels exceed just 2 percent of body weight. Therefore, many people drink water both before and after sports. However, this may not always be helpful. So hydrating yourself in advance may be the best strategy to enhance your energy levels.

In many cases, drinking large amounts in a short timespan is unhelpful. Most of the fluid is lost through sweat, urine, or water vapour in the first hour. In other words, whatever you consume is depleted almost automatically. Thus, you need fluids which retain energy levels through the course of your workout.

Here is where glycerine comes to play. Adding just 2.4 grams to glycerine per pound of body weight (1.1 g/kg) to water drunk prior to exercise can increase fluid retention by 50 percent. Make sure to drink this before exercise. Also, glycerine can increase exercise performance over time. For instance, one study reports glycerine to be more effective than water or sports drinks in replenishing athletes.

Hair Health

Glycerol is ideal for curly, thick, or frizzy hair. However, it is suitable for all hair types. It can  fix hair damage, breakage, and dryness. Further, it enables faster hair growth by ceasing split ends.

This is an effective remedy in reducing dandruff levels. Use a hair lotion which contains stearic acid, glycerol, and sunflower oil. Apply this to your hair thrice a week for optimal results. Over time, this can incrementally lower dandruff levels and moisturise the scalp.

You can make your own glycerin hair spray using glycerin, distilled water, rose water, and a few drops of essential oil such as peppermint or rose oil. First, combine each of these in equal amounts. Then, spray it on wet or dry hair when you need to. Store it in a spray bottle for up to 2-3 days.


Glycerin is an all-natural substance which has powerful hydration properties. Thus, it maintains hair, skin, and digestive health, and is further a useful replenisher pre and post workouts. It may be a product of either natural or artificial preparation methods. However, remember that as with all products, it works best in tandem with holistic and sustainable lifestyle practices.

Check out other Ayurvedic techniques for skincare here. 

Find out more about an Kerala Ayurvedic treatment for weight loss with Mekosha here. 

Article By:

Mekosha Ayurveda

"The Mekosha team works hard to put together curated knowledge to help you with your holistic healing journey. Subscribe now to receive more such useful articles."

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