Personal care products like creams, lotions and soaps contain glycerol, a compound known to be a humectant. It attracts moisture and keeps skin feeling smooth and supple. It prevents dryness, too. This is why lots of products for the skin contain the compound. It is one of the safest and most useful chemical on earth, and is actually a by-product during soap making but commercial soap makers remove the substance in the soap mixture and use it in other products such as moisturizing creams and lotions. Medical College of Georgia has researchers saying that as much as glycerol offers skin benefits, the chemical may have therapeutic effects too.
Glycerol or glycerin is a sugar alcohol. It is a trihydric alcohol with three hydroxyl groups attached to each carbon atom. This molecular feature may better be left for chemists. The chemical has an important property which is hygroscopicity. This hygroscopic nature of the compound means that it attracts moisture or draws in water from the surroundings. This characteristic has become known in many industries particularly the cosmetics and skin care product industries.
There have been debates as to the effectiveness of the substance as a moisturizing agent. If it is indeed water-absorbing, it may pull in moisture from the air and even from the skin tissue itself. However, this hypothesis has never been validated.