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Vegetable Glycerin: Uses, Health Benefits, Side effects,

Vegetable glycerin popularly known as glycerine or glycerol is a clear liquid extracted from plants such as soybeans, palm oils or coconut. Glycerine has a syrup like thickness and is sweet and odorless.




Glycerine was discovered in 1779 by Carl Wilhelm Scheele as he was heating a mixture of olive oil and lead monoxide.

Since the discovery, glycerol has been proven to have many benefits in the cosmetics and the pharmaceuticals fields.

Some of the common uses of vegetable glycerin include

  • Glycerine is a common ingredient in many cosmetic products due to the many benefits it has on the skin.
  • It is used in soaps, deodorant, candles, and lotions.
  • Glycerine is used in toothpaste, to prevent the toothpaste from drying in the tube.
  • Vegetable glycerine is also used in medicines; some of the drugs that have glycerine as a component include medications that treat heart conditions, coughs, suppositories, and it is also used in anesthetics.
  • Vegetable glycerol serves as a natural sweeter.
  • Since glycerol is sweet it is used to sweeten certain foods, as well as help the oil and water ingredients in the food mix.
  • Besides the sweetening of final products, glycerine is used in frozen foods such as ice cream or frozen yogurt to prevent the formation of ice particles.
  • The good thing about using vegetable glycerine in your food is the retention of the natural taste, this is most evident in herbal products.

The Benefits of Glycerin

Numerous studies have been conducted to prove the health and cosmetic benefits of using glycerol. And though more studies are conducted each day to ascertain the claims, below are some of the scientifically proven benefits of using glycerine.

Vegetable Glycerin
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Cosmetic benefits.

  • Helps to keep the skin moisturized.

Been the largest organ in our bodies, it is vital for the skin to remain hydrated and one way to achieve this is by applying oils that lock in the moisture. Glycerine has been proven to lock in moisture in the skin and provide smooth and healthy skin.

Also, in another study, it was seen that glycerine is even more effective when added in a warm water bath. Glycerine helps to restore the skins glow in about ten days; thus a popular ingredient in many lotions and soaps.

  • Keeps the skin healthy.

In addition to restoring moisture, glycerine also helps to soothe irritated skin. It is also used to protect the skin against infections as well as healing powers that restores the skin’s original look.

  • Helps to soothe the skin.

Glycerol Has a Natural Cooling Effect on The Skin




  • Acts as an anti-aging component, by using glycerine, one protects the skin from premature wrinkles.
  • It is used as a cleanser.

By combining glycerine with essential oils such as rosemary or lavender, you create a homemade cleanser that helps in clearing out bacteria that causes acne as well as keeping the skin sanitized throughout the day.

  • It is used in hair conditioners.

Glycerine is used to create a conditioning mask, mix a quarter cup of aloe vera gel and a quarter cup of glycerine. This combination creates the perfect conditioner for your hair, leaving your hair shiny and your scalp feeling moisturized for longer.

Additionally, glycerine is used in several DIY projects for our skin, hair, and teeth. For instance, glycerine is used to create natural sunscreen, glycerine has sun protection agents, thus creating a good sunscreen when mixed with other oils, it is also used to whiten teeth.

Glycerine is also used to make natural shampoo. The vegetable glycerin is mixed with natural oils to ensure a healthy scalp and hair. To make the natural shampoo, mix a quarter cup of glycerine with a half cup of coconut oil and several drops of essential oils such as cedarwood. Then gently massage your hair and scalp with this mixture for strong hair roots.

Health Benefits

Vegetable Glycerin
  • Relieves constipation.

Research has shown that glycerine helps food move through the gut easily; this is because vegetable glycerin draws water into your abdomen.

  • Glycerine keeps you hydrated and increases one’s athletic performance.

Been hydrated during a sports activity is essential, thus common for people to drink water during or before an exercise. However, this method, though good, may not be the most effective method of staying hydrated as the body loses a lot of water during rigorous physical activity either by sweating or urinating.

Research has shown that almost 50% of the glycerine drink consumed is retained in the body to keep the athlete hydrated.

  • Helps treat cerebral edema.

Cerebral edema is the amassing of water in the brain and may lead to stroke, meningitis, or may also lead to the growth of a brain tumor. Glycerine is used to relieve the brain while still enabling the retention of useful fluids in the body, in turn keeping the body hydrated.

Side effects

Though vegetable glycerine is considered safe, one might experience uncomfortable side effects thus essential to use it in small portions, especially if ingested.

In some people consuming vegetable glycerin may cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, and even vomiting. If you notice such symptoms after ingesting glycerine, it is advisable to stop and seek medical advice.

Glycerine may also cause allergic reactions, to avoid severe allergic reactions start by applying small portions of glycerine on your skin and observe the effects.

Since glycerine is a form of sugar alcohol, it is not fully absorbed by the body, owing to this it is important to take glycerine in small portions as excess portions of glycerine in the foods may lead to diarrhea and discomfort in the stomach.

Final remarks




Despite the many cosmetic and health benefits associated with glycerine, it is vital to use this product in small portions, balance your glycerine lotions with other types of moisturizers for the best results.

When it comes to food, observe your reaction to the foods with glycerine, this will help avoid any serious health issue. Also, consult with your doctor before adding glycerine based foods and cosmetics to your daily routines.

About the author

Ambrosina Kimani

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