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Is all glycerin extracted from vegetable sources?

01/03/2019 by Charlotte

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Glycerin is produced by adding alkalis to fats and fixed oils – a process called ‘saponification’. It is an important by-product of the soap making industry and can be produced from almost any fat, animal or vegetable. All of the glycerin used in Green People products comes from either coconut or palm oil and is guaranteed to be of non-animal origin.

Glycerin is a natural component of all oils and fats - they are properly called triglycerides and are all made of one Glycerin molecule and three fatty acids. Glycerin is isolated from the fatty acids through a process called saponification which is used to make soap - a process that has been carried out by mankind for at least 4,000 years. Glycerin is a humectant and acts as a moisturiser by retaining water in the skin and hair.

Glycerin is highly ‘hygroscopic’ which means that it absorbs water from the air. For example, if you left a bottle of pure Glycerin exposed to air in your kitchen, it would take moisture from the air and eventually it would become 80 percent Glycerin and 20 percent water.

Some companies claim that using Glycerin on the skin can cause dryness by drawing water from the cells that make up the dermis. Whilst this might be the case if you were to apply neat Glycerin to the skin, it is not true of Glycerin as used in creams, lotions, shampoos and shower gels. In these instances, Glycerin helps to retain the water content of the product in the outer layers of the skin, and does not draw any extra water from the body's cells. Glycerin has been used as a skin moisturiser for centuries, and there have been no reports of any adverse actions or effects throughout this period of time.

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