Vegetable glycerin is a clear and odorless liquid that works as both an emollient and humectant. It assists in creating a protective barrier on the outer layer of the skin. Its anti-bacterial properties prevent babies from developing dermatitis or a worsening of skin issues such as psoriasis and eczema. It also attracts water from the atmosphere and maintains water balance to keep baby’s skin and hair hydrated and moisturized. Its benefits are vast, and it is a safe ingredient to include in baby products.
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Origins Of Vegetable Glycerin
Vegetable glycerin is derived purely from plants. It is an organic compound composed of hydrogen atoms, carbon atoms, and the OH group. The OH group is responsible for the syrupy texture of vegetable glycerine as it binds with water. The vegetable glycerin found in the manufacturing of some foods is 99.7% pure and has a sweet taste. Fortunately, it does not have any adverse effects on the body’s blood sugar levels .
Hydrolysis is the process of extracting pure vegetable glycerine from its source. During the procedure, the vegetable oils are placed under water, pressure and temperature changes to break the ester bond and split the oils from the fatty acids. The product is then distilled to increase its purity.
Vegetable glycerin gained in popularity when it proved to be an essential ingredient in treating a wide range of skin conditions. In modern times, organic vegetable glycerine is a vital ingredient in various skin and baby products. It can be found in bath soaps, lotions, shampoos, and detergents. It is also a highly-coveted ingredient in creating moisturizers specifically for people with extra sensitive skin.
The term glycerine has both French and Greek origins. Glycerin comes from the term “glycero-” which means sweet in French. The prefixes “gly-“ and “glu-“ come from the Greek word “glukus” which means sweet. The thick, colorless syrup was first coined in 1838, by French chemist Michel-Eugène Chevreul (1786-1889), from Greek glykeros “sweet” (see glucose) + chemical ending -ine . It was named for its sweet taste.
Alternative names of vegetable glycerine include glycerol, glycerin, glicerol, glyzerin, glycerolum, clycerin, glycerinester and 1,2,3-Propantriol .
100% food grade glycerine is made up of 99.7% fatty esters that originate from either palm or coconut oil. The remaining .3% is water. Its pH is 7. Popular countries of origin are Malaysia and the Philippines.
Vegetable Glycerin Properties
Vegetable glycerin is a form of sugar alcohol called glycerol. It is a natural humectant, an emollient, and a hygroscopic ingredient. This means it can be drawn, absorbed and held in the skin. Although it can be produced organically, some of the glycerin circulating the market today is derived from petroleum.
Pure vegetable glycerin is a colorless, viscous liquid that transforms into a sticky paste at boiling point. It quickly dissolves into alcohol or water, and various chemicals readily yield to it. That is the reason it is considered one of the best solvents. It is also an excellent substitute for herbal extracts. However, it does not readily dissolve into oils.
In appearance, glycerol looks like a thick syrup. The taste is naturally and moderately sweet. Despite it being a sugar alcohol, vegetable glycerin is neither pure sugar nor alcoholic. Instead, organic vegetable glycerin is a compound that mimics the sweetness of sugar but does not enter the bloodstream. Because it is less sweet than most sugar alternatives, it softens the extreme taste of those alternatives. The most popular way of producing organic vegetable glycerin is by extracting vegetable oil from trees such as coconut and palm and processing it through hydrolysis.
Also called glycerol, vegetable glycerin is composed of lipids that are vegetable in origin. It is classified as having low toxicity, making it a popular ingredient in the manufacturing of moisturizers, cosmetic products, facial treatments, hand, body lotions, soaps, shaving creams, and water-based lubricants.
Its solubility both in alcohol and water is one of the primary reasons why pure vegetable glycerin has gained a cult following in the cosmetics industry. Its solvency enables it to pull in herbal extracts from plant materials without using alcohols that are harmful to the skin. That characteristic is hugely beneficial to people, especially babies, who are highly sensitive to herbal extracts that contain alcohol. Glycerine-based extracts have a shelf life of about a year while alcohol-based extracts can last 4-6 years.
Is Vegetable Glycerin Safe In Baby Products?
Vegetable glycerin is not only safe for use in baby products, but it also has wonderful benefits and advantages that keep a baby’s skin and hair healthy.
Vegetable Glycerin for Hair
Pure vegetable glycerin produces benefits for baby’s skin and hair. Its ability to retain water and moisture in the skin is one of the reasons why most shampoo-manufacturing companies include it in their mixtures.
Here are some of its redeeming qualities of vegetable glycerin:
Keeps hair hydrated and moisturized
Dry, unmanageable hair can benefit immensely from products with vegetable glycerin for hair. Organic vegetable glycerin for hair is highly-moisturizing and prevents hair from breakage and split ends. Direct application of pure vegetable glycerin to the hair and scalp can be especially helpful.
Help stops stubborn dandruff
There is nothing more uncomfortable and embarrassing than stubborn dandruff. It can be a problem for many adults and babies. A benefit of vegetable glycerin is its ability to stop dandruff. Dry, flaky scalp caused by dandruff can cause severe irritation. With vegetable glycerin, these symptoms can be alleviated. It can also provide a cooling effect on the scalp.
Promotes healthy hair growth – Just like most essential oils, glycerol encourages and improves the growth of healthy hair among both babies and adults.
Vegetable Glycerin For Skin
Is vegetable glycerin safe in baby products? The answer is yes. The real fact is pure vegetable glycerin works as an active skin cleansing agent while repairing uneven skin tone. That means that vegetable glycerin for skin is ideal as it removes impurities and dirt build-up to give you cleaner, more supple skin. If you want to remove dark spots or sun spots without applying harmful products, then this ingredient can work for you.
The following are excellent vegetable glycerin benefits for a baby’s skin:
Prevents breakouts and does not irritate acne-prone skin
Since vegetable glycerin for skin is mild and gentle, it is suitable for all skin types including acne-prone skin. It is hypoallergenic which means it does not irritate the skin or clog the pores. People with sensitive skin need not worry when they use propylene glycol because it does not aggravate existing skin conditions. Because it has antibacterial properties, it prevents acne breakouts and speeds the healing of acne wounds.
Maintains water balance on the skin
Babies have particularly sensitive skin and extra caution is needed to maintain the health of their skin. One of the best ingredients in organic baby bath products is vegetable glycerine. It deeply hydrates the outer layer of the skin and creates a water reservoir to maintain the skin’s water balance. It is highly effective on extremely dry skin as it can successfully moisturize and repair.
Benefits for baby’s skin
A baby’s skin is fragile and extremely vulnerable to various skin conditions. One of the benefits of vegetable glycerin on a baby’s skin is its ability to promote skin cell maturation. According to research, glycerine supports normal maturation of skin cells. It can also interrupt the growth of abnormal skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis .
Helps relieve symptoms of eczema and psoriasis
Eczema and psoriasis can be quite uncomfortable. The symptoms include skin flaking, irritation, and possible infection. There are various baby products on the market that claim to heal these issues. However, some of them are harsh on the skin and can actually aggravate the conditions. Since vegetable glycerin has antibacterial properties, it can help relieve symptoms of eczema and psoriasis and protects the surface of the skin.
Treats diaper rashes
Diaper rashes are inevitable. They are uncomfortable and can become severe when left untreated. Topical treatments including vegetable glycerin have incredible benefits for a baby’s skin. These treatments are anti-inflammatory and do not irritate existing wounds. Vegetable glycerin is produced organically and does not contain harmful chemicals which can help diaper rashes heal faster.
How Vegetable Glycerin Works In Baby Products
Glycerol’s skin-restoring and skin-replenishing characteristics are evidence of how vegetable glycerin works in baby products. This plant material establishes normal water balance and hydration of the skin and maintains its softness and smoothness. When mixed with other replenishing emollients, it works to fight dryness and defend the skin from dehydration and various skin issues.
Is Vegetable Glycerin Safe in Baby Products?
Glycerine is organically-produced and a natural humectant. The bonding properties of humectants allow them to attract water and moisture to the skin and hair without needing synthetically-made, harmful chemicals. Another advantage is its ability to thicken skin products and give them a mild texture that is suitable for all skin types, especially for babies.
Is Vegetable Glycerin Safe For Baby References EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database; Vegetable Glycerin.
 Online Etymology Dictionary; Glycerin.
 Encyclopedia Britannica; Glycerol Chemical Compound.
 Cosmetic Analysis; Glycerin.