Ideally known as glycerine or glycerol, vegetable glycerin is a clear solvent made from coconut, soybean or palm oils. It’s odorless and has a sweet mild taste with a consistency similar to syrup. Barrel pumps are used to transfer the liquid from drums in the pharmasuetical industry.
Vegetable glycerin is popular in the beauty industry, but it has many other uses as well. It also has several health benefits which range from glowing skin to a strengthened stomach and better hydration.
In this post, we are going to focus on the uses of vegetable glycerin, its benefits as well as the side effects.
So, What is Vegetable Glycerin?
Glycerin or glycerol is a sugar alcohol that’s extracted from plants, animal products and petroleum. Vegetable glycerin is the variant that is derived from plant oils. It was accidentally discovered over two centuries ago by heating a mixture of lead monoxide and olive oil.
However, it became industrially and economically significant in the late nineteenth century when it was first used to create dynamite. The product is made by heating vegetable fats that are rich in triglycerides such as soy, coconut and palm oils. They are heated under high pressure and or together with a strong alkali like lye. This makes glycerin separate from the fatty acids and mix with water to form a sweet-tasting, odorless syrup-like solvent.
The Common Uses of Vegetable Glycerin
Glycerine is commonly used in cosmetics, pharmaceutical and food industries. For example, it is usually added to foods to help the water and oil-based ingredients mix. It can ideally be used to prevent the formation of ice crystals in frozen foods like ice cream, low-fat frozen yoghurt and other desserts.
It is ideally a common ingredient in pharmaceutical drugs such as cough remedies, heart medication, suppositories, as well as anaesthetics.
You can also come across vegetable glycerine in toothpaste as it helps prevent it from hardening or drying out in the tube.
Glycerin is ideally used in candles, lotions, deodorants, soaps as well as makeup.
The Potential Benefits of Vegetable Glycerin
Vegetable glycerine is said to have numerous benefits, but only a few are backed by science and research. The following are some of the vegetable glycerin health benefits, but do keep in mind that more research is required to justify them:
Promoting Skin Health
Vegetable glycerine may result in better skin health by protecting against infection, alleviating irritation and promoting the healing of wounds. Research shows that applying products with the ingredient may protect the skin from microbes, irritants and also soothe wounded or inflamed skin.
Moreover, it can act as a barrier to safeguard you from the elements including cold and wind.
Moisturise the Skin
Vegetable glycerine is a particularly popular skin care product as a result of its moisturising properties. According to studies, applying this product can gradually improve the suppleness and smoothness of your skin. As a matter of fact, utilising creams that contain glycerin increases skin hydration in less than two weeks.
Boost Hydration and Athletic Performance
Vegetable glycerin can ideally boost hydration, which in turn improves athletic performance. It’s always advisable to drink adequate water before and during workout sessions, but it becomes impractical to hydrate during some forms of physical activities. In such situations, you should drink plenty of water beforehand.
According to research, glycerin drinks tend to be more effective than water or sports drinks when it comes to improving hydration in athletes who lose substantial amounts of water through sweating and during workout sessions.
The Side Effects of Vegetable Glycerin
Generally, vegetable glycerin is considered to be safe. With that being said, an allergic reaction is likely to be experienced if you apply glycerine directly to your skin. As such, you may want to start with small amounts to see how your skin reacts.
When consumed, the product can cause dizziness, headaches, nausea and vomiting in some individuals. Also, consuming too much may result in gas and diarrhoea.