What Is Glyceryl Stearate?
Glyceryl stearate is a naturally derived fatty acid that is used as a thickener and emollient in various cosmetics and skincare products. While the main function of glyceryl stearate is to improve the texture and sensory feel of skincare products it also helps to hydrate and protect the skin, giving your skin that dewy glow.
Glyceryl stearate, also called glycerol monostearate, can be found naturally in the human body. When it is synthetically produced, it is made by reacting glycerin with stearic acid, a natural fatty acid derived from palm kernel, vegetable, or soy oil. In fact, stearic acid is one of the most common saturated fatty acids found in nature.
You may also see ‘glyceryl stearate SE’ on product labels. Glyceryl stearate SE is a ‘Self-Emulsifying’ form of glyceryl stearate that also contains a small amount of sodium and/or potassium stearate. Self-emulsifying means that the ingredient mixes the oil and water-based ingredients together more easily.
the good:Glyceryl stearate is mainly used to improve the texture and feel of the formulation. It also may help to increase hydration levels in the skin.
the not so good:Glyceryl stearate isn’t known to cause irritation or sensitivity.
Who is it for?All skin types except those that have an identified allergy to it.
Synergetic ingredients:Works well with most ingredients.
Keep an eye on:Nothing to keep an eye on here.
What Is the Function of Glyceryl Stearate?
Glyceryl stearate is mainly used to improve the formulation of skincare products. It is used to thicken, improve the color and transparency of products, making them more resistant to light, and stabilizes the overall formulation. Glyceryl stearate also has benefits to the skin, improving hydration and may help support the Natural Moisturizing Factors found in the skin. As glyceryl stearate is mainly used to improve the texture and feel of products, lets firstly look at the functions of glyceryl stearate.
Glyceryl stearate is used to improve the thickness and viscosity of products. This helps to improve the feel of the product and helps to stabilize the formulation. While the thickness of a product can make it feel richer and more hydrating it is usually a sensory element of the product. Glyceryl stearate also helps to stabilize the formulation by preventing water loss and ensuring the other ingredients remain mixed and don’t separate.
Glyceryl stearate also functions as an opacifier, to make the formulation more transparent or translucent. This helps to render them more resistant to visible light. Additionally, glyceryl stearate reduces the greasiness of oils used in certain cosmetics and personal care products.
How Does Glyceryl Stearate Benefit The Skin?
When glyceryl stearate is applied to the skin, it acts as a lubricant and gives the skin a soft, smooth appearance while adding hydration to the skin. These benefits are all thanks to the glycerol component of glyceryl stearate.
Glycerin, also referred to as glycerol, is a natural alcohol and humectant that’s been used in skincare products for centuries. Humectants help to draw water to the skin, improving hydration. In research published in The Journal of Investigative Dermatology, it was demonstrated that glycerin helps the skin to look and function better by helping skin cells mature properly. In fact, glycerin is not just a humectant but also an occlusive moisturizer as well. This means that while it pulls water from the environment to hydrate skin, it also forms a protective or occlusive barrier on the skin’s surface after application. This helps to prevent water loss from the upper layers of the skin. Thus, glyceryl stearate will keep skin hydrated, soft, and supple
Natural Moisturizing Factors
Glycerin is also considered to be compatible with all skin types because it has the ability to mimic what’s known as the skin’s Natural Moisturizing Factor. The Natural Moisturizing Factor consists of several components such as amino acids, lactic acid, sugar, and small proteins. Together with the naturally occurring lipids or oils in the skin, the Natural Moisturizing Factor components work to keep the skin’s surface healthy and looking supple and hydrated. Restoring the skin’s Natural Moisturizing Factor is important because it becomes depleted with age and also after exposure to certain environmental factors.
What Are The Side Effects Of Glyceryl Stearate?
The US Food and Drug Administration includes glyceryl stearate in its list of direct food additives affirmed as Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS). The safety of glyceryl stearate and glyceryl stearate SE has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel, a group responsible for evaluating the safety of skincare and cosmetic ingredients. The Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that glyceryl stearate and glyceryl stearate SE were safe for use in cosmetics and personal care products.