Where Does Glycerin Come From | Muse Health

Health Benefits     Glycerin     Vegetable Glycerin     Hand Sanitizer

When a person thinks of commonly used ingredients in hand sanitizers, ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol are normally at top of the list. Used to make hand sanitizers a potent weapon against bacteria and infectious diseases, alcohol is an incredibly important ingredient. One of the major downsides of alcohol is its propensity to dry hands with continued use.

In order to combat the drying effects of alcohol, one ingredient that is used in formulations is glycerin. Sometimes referred to as glycerol or glycerine, it is an additive that is heavily used in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. Its main function is to provide ease of application to the skin and lock in moisture as a humectant. In comparison to other humectants like hyaluronic acid, glycerine is much more effective.

Prominently used in several skincare and sanitizing products, glycerin can be derived from a myriad of sources.

Bottle of glycerin next to plant leaf

What is Vegetable Glycerin?

While glycerin can also be derived from animal sources, as industries have become more conscious of animal mistreatment, it has become less common. As an alternative, vegetable sources are now used.

Vegetable glycerin is a variant made from plant oils. These oil sources can be palm oil, soybean, or coconut oil. The process by which these oils are extracted from its host source is called hydrolysis. During hydrolysis, plant sources are placed under a controlled environment where forces of pressure, temperature, and water are used. Under this controlled environment, ester bonds break causing glycerin to split from fatty acids.

Once glycerin is separated, it undergoes further distillation until it becomes a purified substance. Vegetable glycerin is classified by a texture similar to a syrup and its odorless composition.

Different bottles of glycerin in a diagonal

Where Does Glycerin Come From?

Apart from vegetable sources, glycerin can also come from animals. Glycerin from animal fats comes from a fat molecule called triglycerides. Animal triglycerides are found in the bloodstream and compose a major portion of animal fatty tissue. During the process of soapmaking, the heavy bonds that keep the form and nature of fatty acids separate from one another. The byproduct of soap during this separation is glycerin.

Another source of glycerin is from synthetic sources. This type of glycerin is often created in a laboratory and results in a substance that works in a similar manner to its natural counterparts. The practice of creating synthetic glycerin has lost popularity as more companies see the value of using natural glycerin in its wellness and personal care products.

A variety of beauty products on pink background

What is Glycerin Used for?

Although there are several uses for glycerin, its best known use is in the skincare and cosmetics industry. As you walk down the aisle and pick up a bottle of body lotion, skin toner, cleanser, you would be hard pressed to find a brand that does not list glycerin in its ingredients section. Glycerin provides extra moisture to the skin which is often extracted from the use of ingredients like alcohol. It also helps protect the skin from irritants.

Because of its moisturizing properties, glycerin is often used in toothpaste to prevent the paste from drying out or hardening inside of its tube.

Also, glycerin can sometimes be used in beverages or food as a solvent or sweetener. It has even been used as a preservative for both food and beauty products.

Glycerin bottle and product samples on pink background

Glycerin Benefits

Although alluded to earlier, glycerin has several benefits that makes it the perfect ingredient to use in several different products.


Skin requires moisture for it to function properly and maintain its appearance. Without moisture, unwanted things like wrinkles, flakes, and an overall unhealthy appearance can result. Dry skin also prevents the body from fighting against wear and tear from environmental factors like the sun and air quality. Glycerin has the ability to keep and lock in moisture on a surface for an extended period of time. In skin care products, this works very much the same as it creates a protective barrier between the person’s skin and the world around them.

Soothes Irritation

For people who have skin diseases like eczema, psoriasis, or even the occasional rash, glycerin is able to help initiate inflammatory response. Because glycerin keeps surfaces moisturized, it soothes surfaces by dissuading a person from scratching. Dry surfaces often become itchy and scratching causes damage to the skin. By having glycerin in products, it keeps the skin feeling soothed and helps to alleviate things like inflammation.

Speeds up healing

Some people have used glycerin on wounds to help speed up the healing process. Glycerin helps promote the natural maturation of skin cells making it an inexpensive and effective way to stimulate regrowth. Glycerin has several therapeutic effects and in its purest form has shown the ability to help heal scratches, impurities, and blemishes.

Hand sanitizer ingredients on blue background

The Role of Glycerin in our Hand Sanitizer

At Muse Health, we pride ourselves in creating hand sanitizers that are not only Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved but also contain ingredients that will benefit the most people. While there are dozens of hand sanitizer brands to choose from, at Muse Health, we take the time to examine every ingredient to formulate a product that helps our buyers and their families during these uncertain times. Every ingredient in our formulas plays a special role and glycerin is no exception.


Because alcohol is the primary active ingredient in our formulas, clean but dry hands are the most likely outcome. With the addition of glycerin, your hands will still feel the cleaning effects of 60 percent alcohol concentration without becoming dried. Glycerin is able to trap moisture into the skin, making it the perfect complement to the ultimate mission of our product which is to keep your hands feeling and looking great.


Glycerin is an ingredient that has long been studied. From its initial introduction into the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries, its inclusion in formulations continues to be redefined and measured. At Muse Health, we take every precaution to ensure that the glycerin used in our products are consistent and ready to be used upon purchase. We understand the responsibility we have as a company to ensure that your experience is pleasant from first use to last. Glycerin provides incredible benefits to the skin and our sanitizer utilizes its composition to create a product that sanitizers and moisturizes your hands.

Glycerin at a glance

Glycerin at a Glance

As you can see, glycerin health benefits are substantial. From providing the skin with extra moisture to helping initiate cellular growth for healing purposes, glycerin has become an industry standard tool used to enhance the use and versatility of its products. Derived from several sources, glycerin does the job of acting as a moisturizer and helping your skin look and feel its best.