Vegetable glycerin is also known as glycerol and glycerin is a simple polyol compound, which is widely used in various pharmaceutical formulations. This organic compound is composed of 3 carbon atoms, 5 hydrogen atoms that are directly linked to the carbon atoms, and 3 OH groups. The OH groups are capable of forming hydrogen bonds with water, which makes it highly viscous.
Glycerin is a sticky and colorless liquid, which has a somewhat sweet taste. It solidifies to a white crystalline mass under low temperature. When heated alone it volatilizes, but a lot of it decomposes. It acts as a solvent for many other liquids which makes it very useful in the pharmaceutical industry. Glycerin has hygroscopic properties, which means it easily absorb water from the surrounding air. So, if you leave a container containing glycerin open, it will absorb water and stabilize at 20% of water and 80% of glycerin proportion. If pure glycerin is used it would blister the skin, because glycerin is dehydrating. However, when it is diluted with water, it makes the skin soft.
Vegetable glycerin is vastly used for skin and hair care. Even dermatologists recommend glycerin-based products. There are many uses of glycerin for skin. For people who have sensitive skin, glycerin soap is recommended. It helps to make the skin smooth and soft. Studies show that it helps the skin cells to mature in a natural way. It also helps to maintain healthy skin, and so the chances of non-melanoma skin cancer and psoriasis are reduced. It also helps in healing, reducing bruising, and repairing tissues.
It is excellent for natural hair care as it helps to retain the appropriate moisture levels in the hair by extracting moisture from the air and supplying it to the hair shaft. Thus it helps to prevent frizz in curly hair, and regular applications are safe as it does not make the hair dry or tangled. You can also use a hydrated glycerin spray for a quick moisturizer effect. In a spray bottle mix glycerin with water and essential oil and shake the bottle well. Then apply this mix on your hair to get smooth hair.
Apart from the above uses, it is also used for making other formulations. It is used as an alternative preservative to alcohol for herbal tinctures. To create glycerites, which are a non-alcohol based herbal extract, vegetable glycerin is used as a main ingredient. Glycerin is also used in net carb products to maintain sweetness and moisture, this property of glycerin is also used in making protein bars. Hence, the bars remain moist and are more chewable.
It is also used in the baking industry and for making confectioneries. It is used to soften icing which is applied on cakes. This icing based in glycerin also helps to add sweetness to the cake. Sugar crystallization of candies is prevented by adding glycerin to them.
You can buy a bottle of vegetable glycerin at any drug or health store. You can also order a bottle of quality glycerin online. For $10 you can buy a 16 fl. oz. bottle. You can use it for hair care and skin care. However, make sure you read the label properly before using the glycerin to maintain safety.