Liquid glycerin a compound that is widely used in food preservation, skin care products, and various medicines due to its unique physical and chemical properties. The organic compound is derived from animal fats, plants, biodiesel fuels, and several different types of cooking oils. It is water-soluble and hygroscopic, meaning it can easily absorb liquid water or vapor from its surrounding environment. Since it is so effective at maintaining desired moisture content, glycerin can be used in food recipes, lotions, and industrial lubricants. It is also an essential component in many cough syrups, laxatives, hair products, and soaps, among many other commercial products.
In its normal state, liquid glycerin is a colorless, sweet gel. It is commonly used in food laboratories and kitchens as a type of sweetener or preservative. Some cooks and consumers use it as a substitute for table sugar, as it is nearly as sweet as sucrose with fewer calories per serving. Since it's hygroscopic, it helps to preserve moisture in a number of different food products, including cake icing and candy. The compound is also an effective fruit preservative, as it prevents excess water from escaping from fruit through evaporation.
Glycerin's ability to absorb and hold moisture makes it perfect for use in many beauty products. It can leave skin dry and irritated in its natural state, but it helps to keep skin soft and healthy when diluted with water and other chemicals. Many soaps, hair gels, facial scrubs, lotions, and shaving creams are made with glycerin. Shampoos and conditioners also commonly contain the substance, as do toothpastes and liquid mouthwashes.
Several health products use liquid glycerin for its natural antiseptic and lubricating qualities. It is especially useful in cough syrups and expectorants to help soothe sore throats. Many oral gel tablets are made partially of glycerin, as it makes pills easy to swallow and allows medicine to be released quickly. When used as a suppository, it can provide lubrication to dry membranes and act as a laxative by irritating the colon, encouraging bowel movements.
Glycerin has many important industrial applications as well. Many manufacturing plants and trucking companies rely on it as a standalone lubricant for hydraulic parts and mechanical gears. It is also used in the production of watercolor paints, printing inks, and cosmetics. In addition, some alternative energy companies use this valuable chemical compound in producing hydrogen fuel and ethanol.