Glycerin, also known as Glycerol or Glycerine, is a sugar alcohol compound. It appears as a thick liquid that is viscous and colorless. It has no odor but it will have a sweet taste. It has a low toxicity and is widely produced around the world. Glycerin is most often used in pharmaceutical and beauty industries, although it may also have a purpose in other industries as well.
Glycerin is often used in the beauty industry for things like soap and lotion. This is because glycerin is a humectant, meaning it absorbs water. This helps glycerin to seal in moisture, making it useful for health and beauty products. It can assist in deterring dry skin by moisturizing the skin and keeping the moisture there. Glycerin can also work as a lubricant. It can increase smoothness in various products, or be used in personal lubricants.
In pharmaceuticals, glycerin is often used to increase the smoothness of medications. It can often be found in cough syrups, toothpaste, allergy medications, mouthwash, expectorants, and more. It may also be used in tablet to help these forms of medication keep their shape. Glycerin can also be used as a laxative when taken in a suppository or enema form.
Glycerin may also be used in food products. It can be used as a solvent, a humectant to retain moisture, or a sweetener. It can help to preserve foods. Glycerin is classified as a carbohydrate by the American Dietetic Association, and it has a calorie density similar to regular sugar. However, it has a lower glycemic index than sugar and it does not cause cavities.
Other uses for glycerin include antifreeze for automobiles and nitroglycerin for explosive weapons. It is also used to smooth out ink in printers and pens, and it can be used as a scientific preservative for various specimens. For any use, glycerin is formed through fats and oils. It used to be obtained during candle making processes, and then through soap making. Today, synthetic glycerin can also be made, although it is not typically an economical option.