Can You Use Glycerin to Whiten Your Skin

Glycerin for Skin Lightening

It is common knowledge that glycerin is used in cosmetics. There are many cosmetic products using it. Some of them include: hair color, make up, toothpaste, shampoo etc. According to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), there are no known health risks associated with its use.

However, some studies have shown that glycerin may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals such as asthma or even cancer.

Glycerin is derived from petroleum. Petroleum is a hydrocarbon which includes natural gas, coal, oil and other liquids. It is used in various industrial applications including automobile engines, jet fuel and fertilizer. It has been found that glycerin contains high levels of carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide which are toxic gases when inhaled or ingested.

These chemicals may cause irritation of the lungs if they are not properly diluted before inhalation or ingestion. The same applies to ingestion. Glycerin may cause damage to the gastrointestinal tract and liver if swallowed.

The toxicity of glycerin is greater than that of alcohol or benzene, which are commonly used in making gasoline. Alcohol causes intoxication while benzene causes burns due to its burning properties.

In addition, glycerin has been linked with birth defects and cancers of the digestive system and skin. The side effects of it can be seen by the lab animals that are injected with high doses. Some other side effects of glycerin are actually similar to the effects of alcohol and may include nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, thirst, dry mouth, fatigue and lethargy.

Glycerin is also known for its ability to act as a skin irritant that may lead to symptoms of burns and blisters upon direct contact with the skin. Because of this, most medical experts are still contemplating whether the cosmetic industry can be blamed for illnesses caused by skin irritation by glycerin.

Glycerin for Skin Whitening

Skin whitening involves treating hyperpigmentation, which is a condition where there is an overproduction of skin cells. It results in darkened skin color, particularly in parts of the body that are exposed to the sun such as the face and hands. This condition is common among people who have fair skin and those who spend a lot of time under the sun.

There are several reasons why hyperpigmentation occurs such as exposure to ultraviolet light, aging, pregnancy, genetic factors, skin irritation, injury to the area, some types of medicines and health conditions. The most common treatments are skin whitening creams which are available over-the-counter or by prescription only.

Glycerin is commonly used in most skin whitening creams because it helps to hydrate the skin and as a result reduces dark spots. Other ingredients that are mixed with glycerin include:

Hydroquinone, which prevents the formation of additional skin cells and lightens skin color. This ingredient is only available with a doctor’s prescription.

Retinol, which increases the exfoliation of skin and lightens the skin.

Vitamin C, which decreases the melanin content in the skin.

Kojic acid, which prevents the formation of skin cells and lightens skin color.

Gelatin, which increases hydration of the skin and lightens its color.

Glycerin may also be combined with other ingredients such as lemon juice or mustard to achieve a higher level of effectiveness in lightening the skin.

Glycerin may cause side effects such as redness or irritation when applied directly to the skin. This usually happens when the skin is sensitive to the ingredient.

Glycerin for Blemishes

Some people use glycerin in treating pimples, blackheads and breakouts. For this purpose it is usually mixed with apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil and rose water and then applied directly on the zits.

This treatment is believed to be effective because of the anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti-bacterial properties of the individual ingredients used.

In the case of tea tree oil and rose water, these act as astringents that dry out and shrink the size of the pimples and blackheads.

Glycerin for Hair

Glycerin has several cosmetic uses, one of which is in hair treatments. It is a common ingredient in most conditioners and hair creams. It is believed to help moisturize dry and damaged hair because of its humectant properties.

Humectants attract water from the air and keep the moisture from escaping so that the hair is protected from external damages. When this happens, the hair also becomes less prone to tangling.

Glycerin for Stretch Marks

Glycerin can be used topically to prevent and reduce stretch marks that develop during pregnancy. These are a type of scar known as a stria. The most common treatment involves the application of the substance on the skin area that is prone to getting these lines. This should be done at least twice a day for best results.

Getting rid of stretch marks after they have already developed is a difficult process but the use of glycerin can make the skin softer and as a result less prone to developing more lines.

However, the effectiveness of this treatment is greatly dependent on how developed the stretch marks are. The younger the stria is, the better chance the glycerin has to prevent or remove it completely. Also lotions and oils containing vitamin E are known to lighten the color of these lines and give the skin a more even tone.

Glycerin for the Skin

Glycerin, because of its hydrating properties, is often used in cosmetics and other skin care products. It is found in many shampoos, soaps, lotions and sunscreens. It acts as a moisturizer and prevents the loss of moisture from the skin. When this happens, the skin remains supple and soft.

The ingredient also prevents dryness of the lips and heals chapped or cracked edges.

Glycerin for Candles

Glycerin can also be found in home-made candles. Most professional candle makers use paraffin in their formulas but there are some that use a mix of this and glycerin to create a softer and clearer appearance for the finished product.

Glycerin for Plants

Glycerin is also used as a substitute for water for house plants and flowers when these are placed in decorative containers. It is believed that these last longer when grown with the use of this ingredient.

Glycerin for Food

Glycerin is used as a sweetener and flavoring in some food products, such as candy, baked goods and desserts. It is also used in the making of peppermints and has properties that make it useful in the production of certain alcoholic beverages.

Sources & references used in this article:

Glycerol by R Christoph, B Schmidt, U Steinberner… – … encyclopedia of …, 2000 – Wiley Online Library

Mir-434-5p mediates skin whitening and lightening by DTS Wu, JS Chen, DC Chang… – Clinical, cosmetic and …, 2008 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

In vitro permeation and in vivo whitening effect of topical hesperetin microemulsion delivery system by YH Tsai, KF Lee, YB Huang, CT Huang… – International journal of …, 2010 – Elsevier

Influence of bleaching agents and desensitizing varnishes on the water content of dentin by H Betke, E Kahler, A Reitz, G Hartmann… – Operative …, 2006 – jopdentonline.org

Antioxidant properties of feruloyl glycerol derivatives by DL Compton, JA Laszlo, KO Evans – Industrial Crops and Products, 2012 – Elsevier