Commonly used in personal care products as an emollient, glycerin has many benefits for household and internal use. It's also frequently marketed as a moisturizer by itself. Pure glycerin, however, can have negative effects when applied topically.
Glycerin is a by-product of the soap making process. Also known as glycerine and glycerol, it is colorless, odorless, syrupy and sweet tasting. According to PioneerThinking.com, pure chemical glycerin is referred to as Glycerol, which shows that it's an alcohol. Glycerol and glycerin, however, are commonly interchangeable.
Although there isn't any conclusive research on the subject, some personal lubricant manufacturers believe that glycerin can cause, if not promote yeast infections in women who are already prone to infection. According to TresSugar, a women's resource website, yeast feeds on sugar, making glycerin on this part of the female body risky.
In humidity under 65 percent, glycerin, applied topically, will draw moisture from the lower layers of skin and hold it onto the surface, because it's a humectant. According to SafeChoiceProducts.com, this causes the skin to dry from the inside out, making it potentially harmful in skin care products
NaturalHealthInformationCentre.com concurs that glycerin as hydrating or moisturizing is a myth and what it really does is simply dry skin from the inside out. One feels temporary softness on the skin's surface after application, at the expense of the new cells in the basal layer at the bottom of the epidermis, which dry out.
According to the International Safety Cards on Healthy-Communications.com, glycerol's exposure to skin may cause the "Acute Hazard/Symptom" of dryness and protective gloves should be warn when handling it and is easily removed with water or showering.