Glycerol | Use, Benefits, and Chemical Safety Facts


Glycerol, sometimes referred to as glycerin, is a sugar alcohol widely used in a variety of personal care products, including toothpaste, hair conditioner, cosmetics, and moisturizers.

Uses & Benefits

In products such as moisturizer creams, glycerol helps to bring moisture to the surface of the skin, to help skin smooth. It is also added to hair conditioner, shaving creams and eye drops for the same purpose.

In over-the-counter skin care products, such as moisturizers, glycerol is added to help protect the skin from irritants. This is also why glycerol is added to cough syrups – to help prevent irritation in throats which leads to coughing.

Safety Information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the primary regulator of over-the-counter products and food packaging materials. FDA has approved glycerol for use as an additive to food packaging materials. Glycerol also has been approved for use in skin care products.

FDA has placed glycerol on its Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) list, stating that “there is no evidence in the available information on mono- and diglycerides of fat-forming fatty acids that demonstrates or suggest reasonable grounds to suspect a hazard to the public.