Used in cosmetic products for thousands of years, Glycerine has wonderful humectant (i.e. attracts and traps moisture from the air) and water-retaining properties.
There are a number of studies which support the benefits of Glycerine:
In 2008, in a placebo-controlled, double-blind study at the Friedrich Schiller University Dept of Dermatology, researchers investigated the effect of Glyerine on atopic dermatitis (an inflammation of the skin that causes scaliness, itching and rashes) by treating patients twice daily for four weeks. The patients receiving the Glycerine showed significant improvement in the hydration of the outer layer of the skin and the skin’s natural protective barrier was restored.
In 2003, research was published in The Journal of Investigative Dermatology which reported that Glycerine works as a signal to help direct skin cells through their four normal stages of maturity. This demonstrates that Glycerine may be useful to assist in healing skin wounds.
In 2003, a study in Denmark showed that skin elasticity was improved even after only a 10-minute application of Glycerine.
The primary use of Glycerine for the skin is as a moisturiser for dry, rough or scaly skin. Various studies including one conducted in Sweden in 2002 on patients with eczema have clearly demonstrated that Glycerine has humectant properties, drawing water into the outer layer of the skin.
In 1998, a study was published in the Dermatology journal, describing how researchers penetrated skin with several irritating substances and then applied Glycerine to the area under an air-tight and water-tight dressing. The Glycerine staved off any negative effects from the irritants, provided significant improvement in the protective barrier function in the skin, and caused skin cells to regenerate.
Finally, in a double-blind placebo-controlled study, a product containing Glycerine provided a reduction in the severity and duration of bruising with just one application in 65% of studied patients.