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Glycerin vs Hyaluronic Acid: Differences, Benefits & How To Layer Them Together

Glycerin or Glycerol is a clear, odorless compound derived from vegetable sources or animal fats. Although it has a wide range of uses, it’s extensively used in the skincare industry due to the wonderful humectant it is. 

  • Glycerin is one of the most effective humectants.
  • It hydrates and moisturises the skin efficiently.
  • It may help in getting rid of minor skin irritations because of its emollient properties.
  • It may have antimicrobial effects. 
  • It may help reduce inflammation.
  • It can also protect the skin barrier against harsh ingredients.

Hyaluronic Acid or Hyaluronan is a compound that is naturally occurring in the human body. Like Glycerin, Hyaluronic Acid is also a humectant and it’s said to hold a 1000 times its weight in water. In the human body, it’s mostly present in the eyes, skin and joints but it occurs in the cells of other connective, neural and epithelial tissues as well. Its job is to retain moisture and lubricate the areas it’s present in. The levels of Hyaluronic Acid in skin decrease with age, which is why providing Hyaluronic Acid externally could have anti-aging effects.

  • It is an excellent humectant.
  • It can help repair a damaged epidermal barrier.
  • It may have anti-aging effects.
  • It may relieve redness and itching.
  • It can effectively hydrate the skin resulting in moisturised, plump skin.

Both Glycerin and Hyaluronic acid are types of humectants. Before we go any further, it’s essential to know what humectants are. Humectants are moisturising ingredients that pull moisture from the surrounding environment. Glycerin comprises three hydroxyl groups which is what gives it the humectant nature. The formation of esters with these three groups and long chain fatty acids results in triglyceride. Triglycerides may work as an antioxidant and are considered excellent emollients. Hyaluronic on the other hand is composed of long, unbranched polysaccharides. Due to its molecular size, Hyaluronic Acid does not penetrate as deep, and works by pulling water from the air and hydrating the outer layers of the skin. 

It’s a toughie alright, but here are some arguments to help you choose-

Glycerin

Hyaluronic Acid

  • Has a smaller molecular size, so it is easily absorbed.
  • Doesn’t naturally occur in the human body.
  • Can be stickier, so might not be suitable for oily skin.
  • Although not typically irritating, applying some forms of Glycerin including pure Glycerin can be irritating to the skin.
  • Has a larger molecular size.

  • Is present in the human body and its levels reduce over time, so it’s essential to replenish the skin and performs as more than just a humectant.
  • Non-sticky, so an excellent choice for all skin types alike.
  • It’s usually gentle and non-irritating.

Why stop at one, when you can have it all? If you still just can’t decide between Glycerin and Hyaluronic Acid, Good news! You can use both of them together. Combining the two together may help boost the effect of the two. Since Glycerin has some emollient properties, it’s best to begin with Hyaluronic Acid in your skincare routine. You can use a Hyaluronic Acid serum to attract moisture and hydrate the skin and top it off with a Glycerin based moisturizer to seal the deal.

While there isn’t a lot of conclusive research indicating major side effects for Glycerin or Hyaluronic Acid, using pure and undiluted Glycerine may cause skin irritation. Also, formulations with a high concentration or low molecular size of Hyaluronic Acid could also be potentially irritating to the skin.

We bring a unique formulation through the Deconstruct Hydrating serum with 2 % Hyaluronic Acid and 1% Niacinamide. It has 3 different molecular weights of Hyaluronic Acid which provides deep hydration, and is combined with the wonders Niacinamide has to offer. It hydrates the skin, without making it too oily. The Hyaluronic Acid moisturises the skin while the Niacinamide works on texture, restores the epidermal barrier and smoothens the skin.

Both Hyaluronic Acid and Glycerin are wonderful humectants. They are gentle enough to be used by all skin types and can safely be used with other ingredients. Adding these to your skincare regimen will not only bring you a step closer to that hydrated, plump skin but also help enhance the activity of other ingredients, it’s a win-win for sure.

  • Can you use Hyaluronic Acid and Glycerin together? 

Yes! You can absolutely use the two together. Although you really only need one in your routine, you can add both Glycerin and Hyaluronic Acid to get an intense hydration. Use Hyaluronic Acid through your toner or serum first, then seal it off with a moisturiser with Glycerin.

  • Does Glycerin clog pores?

No, Glycerin is a non-comedogenic ingredient so you don’t have to worry about it clogging your pores. Having said that, Glycerin can feel a little sticky on the skin, so oily skin might not love it as much.

  • Is Glycerin better than Hyaluronic Acid?

There really isn’t a ‘better’ when it comes to these two. Both Glycerin and Hyaluronic Acid offer different benefits, so it really comes down to your skin type and what you’re looking for. Can’t decide? Follow the tips mentioned above and include both in your skincare!

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