Skin Barrier Function Truth Behind Fine Lines & Wrinkles

What is Glycerol Stearate?

In our recent survey of clients and customers, we had a request for more in-depth information on ingredients that we use in terms of their skin care safety ratings.  We are happy to provide this information so our customers know exactly what they are putting on their skin.  We are starting this blog with the first ingredient that comprises a percentage of our lotion………Glycerol Stearate

Glycerol Stearate is a naturally derived fatty acid typically made from soybean oil, palm kernel oil or other vegetable/plant and some animal oils. (However, science does have the ability to create a nature-identical synthetic version as well) Its’ purpose in our lotion is that of an emulsifier. An emulsifier is a stabilizer and prevents liquids from separating. It also protects them (to a point) against freezing and limits the evaporation of water in the mix.  In lotion, we use water, oils and the natural lipids occurring in goat milk. As most people know, oil and water do not easily mix. So, were it not for glycerol stearate, your lotion would separate into different unattractive layers when sitting on the shelf.  No amount of vigorous shaking would encourage the layers to blend smoothly, so the product would not perform as expected and it would be unsightly as well.

Glycerol stearate can be found in the human body.  It is part of your skin’s natural lubrication system and contributes to the soft, smooth appearance and feel of your skin.  In its raw state, it is very thick, clear and odorless.

Other names for glycerol stearate:

  • glycerin
  • glycerine
  • propanetriol
  • 1,2,3-trihydroxypropane.

How do we know this?  In chemistry, there is a Merck Index…..(a wonderful reference for “natural makers”).  The index contains compound names, chemical structures, physical and biological activity, and properties of any chemical* ingredient used in manufacturing.

*Remember….the word “chemical” is not a dirty word, nor is “lab” a synonym for bad.

Nature is full of chemicals.

Essential oils are nature’s chemicals.

Off my soapbox….., back to glycerin.  Glycerin is a humectant; it actually attracts moisture and encourages hydration of the skin naturally.  It is a by-product of the soap-making reaction between lye and fatty acids and is present in copious amounts in hand-crafted soap.  Its moisturizing properties are one reason why some people seek “glycerin” soap specifically. This form of soap contains approximately 30% glycerin.  Guess what….most handcrafted bars contain the same amount of glycerin and sometimes more!

As a holistic product maker, it is very frustrating to see posts, websites, blogs, and other sources of information condemning ingredients and propagating fear mongering without doing the true incumbent research. They are doing a disservice to health-minded consumers who want to buy the best products possible.  Glycerol stearate is a great example.  Simply “googling” an ingredient will not give you unbiased information.  I have seen sites listing glycerol and glycerin as two unrelated ingredients, marking one dangerous and the other as not.

Let’s understand….glycerin is needed to create glycerol!  To learn more visit: Difference Between Glycerol and Glycerin | Difference Between | Glycerol vs Glycerin http://www.differencebetween.net/object/comparisons-of-food-items/difference-between-glycerol-and-glycerin/#ixzz3uaZjVeQg

This site cuts through the gobble-de-gook on the topic and explains the use of glycerol in our food supply as well.

The EWG Skin Cosmetic Database scores Glycerol Stearate as a 1 on a scale of 10 for cosmetic concerns.  So the next time you see glycerol stearate on a product, rest a little easier.

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