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Glycerin vs. HA (and why you don’t have to choose)

Glycerin vs. HA (and why you don’t have to choose)

When it comes to skincare there is always a “newer, better” ingredient that’s advertised as something your skin cannot be healthy without. But behind the splashy advertising, there are equally proven and effective ingredients that don’t get the attention they deserve. This is the case with glycerin. Hyaluronic acid (we'll refer to it as HA in this article) is a newer ingredient that you may have been hearing some buzz about for the last ten years or so.

Where does glycerin come from?

Glycerin, also known as glycerine or glycerol, is a natural compound of your skin. It can be derived from vegetable, animal or synthetic sources (at aos, we use only vegetable derived glycerine). Ours is derived from soybeans!

How does it differ from Hyaluronic Acid?

Go for glycerin if you’re looking to add moisture, bounce and balance. To lock in hydration you have, hyaluronic acid is the best go-to. HA is more likely to stop dry skin from getting worse, making it a great dry skin treatment, while glycerin adds moisture.

How Glycerin is used in skincare

Glycerin is a humectant. Humectants are moisturizing ingredients that work by drawing water from the atmosphere to hydrate and help keep moisture in the skin. This ability to attract and retain moisture means glycerin helps to maintain and strengthen your skin’s barrier function. A strong skin barrier is essential to healthy skin, allowing it to protect itself from environmental irritation and damage.

Note: HA is also a humectant.

Glycerin Will Work For You

Glycerin is a gentle and effective ingredient that is well tolerated by all skin types. It’s an especially good choice for sensitive skin due to its soothing and calming qualities. The glycerin-rich Apple Chamomile Toner and Apple Stem Cell Radiance Serum were specifically formulated for our customers with sensitive skin.

Oily and combination skin, which still needs hydration, can confidently use products with glycerin as it will not clog pores. We created our Lavender & Aloe Facial Toner and Yarrow Oil-Free Moisturizing Gel to cleanse and moisturize without causing breakouts. If you are struggling with breakouts and dehydrated skin try the Willow Bark Pore Refining Serum which calms irritated skin while gently clearing clogged pores. 

Why You Should Include Glycerin in Your Skincare Routine

  • It helps skin hold on to moisture and strengthens skin’s moisture barrier
  • It helps protect skin from environmental irritation 
  • It helps calm redness and soothe irritation 
  • It hydrates without clogging pores
  • It temporarily plumps and softens the appearance of skin

When to Use Glycerin 

Adding glycerin to your skincare routine is easy as it is readily available in many products for both the face and body. Products that contain glycerin in addition to other moisturizing ingredients can be especially effective, as they will provide skin with a wide range of benefits. The Youth in Bloom Phytoactive Firming Serum and Firming Eye Gel each contain glycerin combined with other beneficial ingredients to nourish and enrich your skin. 

Alright, let's talk about Hyaluronic acid now. There are a few misconceptions I want to address.

Hyaluronic Acid is a vital component in our cartilage, joint lubrication and skin. It plays a key role in our epidermis, assisting in the passage of nutrients throughout the skin, plays an important role in skin healing particularly after UV damage, hydration and free-radical scavenging. It’s key skincare attribute is that it can hold over 1,000 times it’s weight in water, making it an excellent hydrator and able to plump up fine lines. Hyaluronic Acid found in our skin decreases in production as we age.

However, Hyaluronic Acid itself, when applied topically, is too large a molecule (usually about 3,000nm) to pass through the skin where intercellular space is only 15-50nm, and can not be absorbed by or penetrate the skin - it’s like trying to get a basket ball through the eye of a needle. This is where Sodium Hyaluronate comes in - a sodium salt of Hyaluronic Acid - with an array of smaller molecular weights that deeply penetrate to fully hydrate the dermis, visually plumping up fine line and wrinkles as it does so.

Daltons is the unit we use to measure the size of a molecule. Glycerin is a very small molecule- about 92 daltons, whereas the ultra low molecular weight (the tiniest size we can buy) hyaluronic acid comes in at 3,000 daltons. The smaller a molecule is, the easier it is for our skin to absorb it. Most skincare companies use HA that's much larger molecule (because it's far less expensive, honestly) - so most HA you're getting in other products is 1-1.5 million daltons, and far too large to be absorbed by the skin.

Can HA Dry Your Skin?

Unfortunately, in the wrong circumstances, it can. If you're using a product with HA molecules that are too large to be absorbed, they sit on top of the skin. If the air is very dry, the HA may draw moisture from your skin, rather than the air around it. This can happen with glycerin as well. And this is where proper formulating comes into play. When we add HA and glycerin to a formula containing other moisturizing ingredients, there is no risk of them drying out your skin.

How NOT to use Glycerin and HA

Don’t use glycerin or HA at full strength (no matter what people on TikTok say). Well formulated skincare products will have glycerin and other ingredients formulated at percentages that are safe for daily use. Putting straight 100% glycerin or HA on your skin can cause skin to become dehydrated and irritated which will lead to other problems you don’t want. 

Next: Read Angelina's Expert Tips on Getting Back Your Radiant Glow

PRODUCTS TO TRY

aos Products With Glycerin Only

apple stem cell radiance serum Lavender & Aloe Facial Toner APPLE CHAMOMILE FACIAL TONER
APPLE STEM CELL
RADIANCE SERUM
LAVENDER & ALOE
FACIAL TONER
APPLE CHAMOMILE
FACIAL TONER
FRESH FIG LIP TINT HERBAL DAY CREAM
HERBAL NIGHT CREAM
FRESH FIG LIP TINT HERBAL DAY CREAM HERBAL NIGHT CREAM

 

Products With Both Glycerin & HA

Youth in Bloom Phytoactive Firming Serum
Youth in Bloom Firming Eye Gel
Saving Grace Night Cream
YOUTH IN BLOOM
PHYTOACTIVE FIRMING SERUM


YOUTH IN BLOOM
FIRMING EYE GEL


SAVING GRACE NIGHT CREAM
Yarrow Oil Free Moisturizing Gel
Youth in Bloom Hydrating Cleanser
BROAD SPECTRUM SUNSHADE LOTION
YARROW OIL FREE
MOISTURIZING GEL
YOUTH IN BLOOM
HYDRATING CLEANSER
BROAD SPECTRUM
MINERAL SUNSHADE
LOTION

 

Products With HA Only

Geranium & Lupine Eye Cream Youth in Bloom Firming Cream youth in bloom firming night cream
GERANIUM & LUPINE
EYE CREAM
YOUTH IN BLOOM
PHYTOACTIVE FIRMING
DAY CREAM
YOUTH IN BLOOM
PHYTOACTIVE FIRMING
NIGHT CREAM
PRICKLY PEAR AHA + HA PEEL
AMBER & MYRRH FIRMING BODY CREAM
PRICKLY PEAR
AHA + HA PEEL
AMBER & MYRRH FIRMING
BODY CREAM

comment 1 comment

J
Judith Villa calendar_today

Hi, and thank you for such an interesting and informative article. I’m glad to have this information.

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