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Almost every day, I am asked about some ingredient — whether it’s something a customer finds listed on the back of one of their skincare products or I am speaking with someone who is wondering about all the things we at Luminance never use. It has become so common, in fact, that I’ve decided to make a weekly video addressing the most common offenders listed on the backs of popular, widely respected products ingredient by ingredient. The product I’ve chosen to dissect and discuss is one that you’d quickly recognize if I were to give you the name, (which I am not going to do, we’re not here to throw anyone under the bus) but I’m just going to discuss the ingredients of this particular product week by week.

It’s important to note that many of these really nasty ingredients are present in products from small single formulator companies to global skincare manufactures. Some even call themselves “clean” and “organic” to those who just don’t care.

Here’s the full ingredient list before we start, remember, today we are only focusing on glycerin. 

Water\Aqua\Eau, Glycerin, Caprylyl Methicone, Butylene Glycol, Alcohol Denat, Dimethicone, Isododecane, Peg-10 Dimethicone, Dipropylene Glycol, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Extract, Cucumis Melo (Melon) Fruit Extract, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract, Acetyl Glucosamine, Porphyridium Cruentum Extract, Dipeptide Diaminobutyroyl Benzylamide Diacetate, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8 , Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Acetyl Octapeptide-3, Cholesterol, Decarboxy Carnosine Hcl, Acetyl Carnitine Hcl, Caffeine, Creatine, Sigesbeckia Orientalis (St. Paul’S Wort) Extract, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Polygonum Cuspidatum Root Extract, Centella Asiatica (Hydrocotyl) Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein, Ergothioneine, Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate, Peg-150, Lauryl Peg-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Jojoba Esters, Whey Protein\Lactis Protein\Protéine Du Petit-Lait, Adenosine Phosphate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Lactic Acid, Yeast Extract\Faex\Extrait De Levure, Linoleic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Phytantriol, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Propylene Carbonate, Menthanediol, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Pullulan, Polyquaternium-51, Sodium Hydroxide, Calcium Chloride, Carbomer , Sea Whip Extract, Polysorbate 20, Caprylyl Glycol, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Citric Acid, Potassium Sulfate, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Sodium Citrate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol

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Let’s Talk Glycerin. It’s Everywhere And Should Be Nowhere.

I am asked frequently about glycerine, what it does and why it’s in so many products, and my answer is always the same; glycerine has no place in your skincare. 

For starters, the name is changed from the real name — Glycerol —  to Glycerine, in an attempt disguise that it’s really an alcohol. Yup, the “ol” on the end should tip off the savvy consumer that what this big company is really doing is putting yet another alcohol into your skincare product. Not good.

The very bottom line is that glycerin is nothing more than a degreasing agent in disguise. It feels slick on the skin, like many healthful oils, simply because it’s a very long molecule. The really awful part is that glycerine has more OH (oxygen hydrogen) groups than rubbing alcohol (3 to 1), and as such, glycerine is significantly more effective at degreasing and drying your skin than standard rubbing alcohol.

So why use glycerine at all if it’s so bad? The obvious answer is because it’s a boost to the preservative system and it gives that wonderful slippery feeling we all expect from our moisturizers. But it’s fake. And it’s harmful to your skin and your body. A moderate percentage of what we put on our skin absorbs into our bodies and glycerine is no different. Remember, it’s a disguised alcohol, so consider the damage you’re doing by using glycerine-rich products all over your body multiple times a day. All that additional alcohol is taken in through your skin and your body has to deal with it just like any other ingested alcohol. Please pay attention to this, especially if you’re pregnant. Read your labels, glycerine will be easy to find usually at the top of the ingredient list and the percentage is typically high.

There is a considerable amount of literature on the chemistry and physics of all of this, if you’re deeply interested please do what I do, visit reference libraries and read juried white papers on the subject.

Here’s the list we will be working through. If it looks scary it’s because it is scary! We’ll be taking it one by one and I’ll keep it simple with direction of where to look for more information.

Water\Aqua\Eau , Glycerin , Caprylyl Methicone , Butylene Glycol , Alcohol Denat. , Dimethicone , Isododecane , Peg-10 Dimethicone , Dipropylene Glycol , Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Extract , Cucumis Melo (Melon) Fruit Extract , Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil , Saccharomyces Lysate Extract , Acetyl Glucosamine , Porphyridium Cruentum Extract , Dipeptide Diaminobutyroyl Benzylamide Diacetate , Acetyl Hexapeptide-8 , Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 , Acetyl Octapeptide-3 , Cholesterol , Decarboxy Carnosine Hcl , Acetyl Carnitine Hcl , Caffeine , Creatine , Sigesbeckia Orientalis (St. Paul’S Wort) Extract , Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1 , Polygonum Cuspidatum Root Extract , Centella Asiatica (Hydrocotyl) Extract , Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein , Ergothioneine , Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate , Peg-150 , Lauryl Peg-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone , Jojoba Esters , Whey Protein\Lactis Protein\Protéine Du Petit-Lait , Adenosine Phosphate , Tocopheryl Acetate , Lactic Acid , Yeast Extract\Faex\Extrait De Levure , Linoleic Acid , Sodium Hyaluronate , Phytantriol , Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract , Disteardimonium Hectorite , Propylene Carbonate , Menthanediol , Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose , Pullulan , Polyquaternium-51 , Sodium Hydroxide , Calcium Chloride , Carbomer , Sea Whip Extract , Polysorbate 20 , Caprylyl Glycol , Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate , Citric Acid , Potassium Sulfate , Sodium Hexametaphosphate , Sodium Citrate , Potassium Sorbate , Sodium Benzoate , Phenoxyethanol