What is Vegetable Glycerin? How is it used, Benefits and Side Effects?

Vegetable Glycerin is a Plant-based sugar alcohol derivative. Known for its hydrating properties, it is a clear liquid made from coconut oil, palm oil or soybean oil, or any such plant-based oil. It was discovered as a byproduct of the saponification of Olive oil using lead monoxide. A dense clear liquid, it is odourless and has a mildly sweet taste to it.

What is Vegetable Glycerin?

An accidental discovery, Glycerin is now widely used in multiple industries including but not limited to cosmetics, skincare products, and even automobiles. Vegetable Glycerin and other forms of glycerin are different only based on the type of fat they are derived from, whereas they are similar in the type of properties they retain.

Read further to know what is vegetable glycerin, what are the surprising uses of this dynamic syrup-like liquid, how to use it, and the benefits and side-effects of its usage!

What is Vegetable Glycerin?
Source: Amazon.in


Glycerin in general is a very versatile product and has multiple uses throughout various industries. Read through to know the various uses of the globally viable liquid.

1. Uses in the Food Industry

The multifaceted compound is used in the food industry as a solvent, humectant, and as sweetening agent. The humectant property of glycerin allows it to provide moisture-retaining properties to whatever it is added to. It allows them to keep certain food items fresher for longer.

As a solvent, it is added to recipes to facilitate the mixing of oil and water-based ingredients. It is also considered a sweetener with low G.I. although this claim has no scientific evidence despite high usage. Also used as a thickening agent in dairy products, processed foods, jams, etc. it also acts as a means to extend the shelf life of these products.

2. Uses in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Glycerin is used in a lot of heart medications, anaesthetics, and cough remedies specifically lozenges. Intravenous glycerin is also used to treat cerebral oedema. The miraculous compound can also be used in oral medication to lower higher pressure in the eye, i.e., to treat a condition called glaucoma.

Other than this it can be found in various topical use products like ear drops, jellies, and creams. Due to being hypoallergenic, is it also used in dermatological ointments?

3. Uses in Cosmetics and Beauty Industries

With the increasing popularity of vegan, cruelty-free cosmetics, and beauty products, the demand for the usage of plant-based ingredients increased. Vegetable glycerin replaced animal fat glycerin in multiple cosmetics and has become a common additive in lotions, moisturizers, deodorants, soaps, and various products. Possessing humectant capacity is a great moisturizing agent that promotes hair and skin health.

4. Used in Other products

Vegetable glycerin is used in various places. Did you know it was once used as a coolant in cars? It was later replaced. It was also used to make dynamite, which is how it became popular!

Currently, vegetable glycerin is used in vapes, toothpaste, and even candles! The humectant and cooling properties of glycerin make it a very extensive and popular component for so many consumer and industrial products. 


Whilst people claim that vegetable glycerin contains enormous amounts of benefits, it is to be noticed that it does lack scientific evidence to back it up. Not a lot of scientific studies have been conducted to support the claims behind various health benefits. The following benefits have a few scientific studies to back up their claims.

1. Good for Skin and Hair

The moisturizing properties of Vegetable Glycerin do wonders for your skin and hair. You can apply diluted Vegetable Glycerin to your face for smoother skin. It also increases overall skin hydration if it is used for a prolonged period. Common ways are to use it as a bath soak or add a small quantity to your massage oils. To make your hair smoother, you can use glycerin-based shampoos and hair masks.

2. Promotes Gut Health

Vegetable Glycerin also has laxative properties when consumed orally. It is a great remedy for constipation and allows for comfortable bowel movements. In one study it has also been found to be more effective than other suppositories and laxatives.

3. Prevents Dehydration

There are people who either due to physical or physiological reasons, go through excessive sweating. Apart from these, athletes who train for most of the day also run the risk of dehydration. Vegetable Glycerin, orally taken in stipulated quantities with water (1.1 grams/kg body weight) allows fluid retention in the body and prevents dehydration.

4. Boosts Athletic Performance

Athletes remain on their feet for most of their day. They undergo severe training and lose hydration through sweat. To reinstate hydration levels, they have to drink water quite often but having water whilst doing physical activities is not advisable. Therefore, having a glycerin drink improves hydration levels and thus boosts athletic performance. Some studies also show that Vegetable Glycerin induced drinks boost athlete performance even more than sports drinks.

Side Effects

  • Although vegetable glycerin is a safe product generally sometimes it Can show side effects. Despite being hypoallergenic sometimes vegetable glycerin can cause an allergic reaction Since it is Hygroscopic. Therefore, it is recommended to take a Patch test Before usage.
  • When taken orally, vegetable glycerin has shown mild signs of dizziness, headache vomiting, and nausea therefore it is to consult a specialist to decide the dosage.
  • It is also to be noted that consuming too much vegetable glycerin might cause diarrhoea and gas issues since it is not easily absorbed by the gut.

Overall glycerin is a mild and gentle product with multiple uses. It is a humectant and is hygroscopic which contributes to its moisturizing properties. Along with industrial use in the pharmaceutical, food, and cosmetics industries, it also serves a lot of personal benefits for skin, hair, and gut health. Vegetable Glycerin is one product that should be used in all households. You can try to use some this weekend!

Let us know in the comments below if you have used Vegetable Glycerin and how you like to use it. Do you add it to your massage oil or just make a DIY face pack with it? Also, tell us about your favourite brands when it comes to Vegetable Glycerin. 

Thank you for reading the article “What is Vegetable Glycerin?”. Subscribe to our newsletter for more information on health and related products. 

READ MORE: Some Simple Ways To Cope With Anxiety


Andrew is a professional writer with 7+ Years of experience. His style and uniqueness inspire and educate readers throughout the world.

Recommended For You

About the Author: Andrew

Andrew is a professional writer with 7+ Years of experience. His style and uniqueness inspire and educate readers throughout the world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *