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Glycerol vs. Glycerin: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sara Rehman || Published on November 25, 2023
Glycerol is a simple polyol compound, while glycerin (or glycerine) is the commercial name for glycerol, especially when used in food or pharmaceuticals.

Key Differences

Glycerol is a chemical compound, specifically a trihydroxy alcohol, known for its versatility in various industries. Glycerin, essentially the same compound, is the term more commonly used in commercial and pharmaceutical contexts.
Sara Rehman
Nov 25, 2023
As a component in biochemistry, glycerol forms the backbone of lipids known as triglycerides. In everyday products, glycerin is recognized for its moisturizing properties and is widely used in cosmetic formulations.
Sara Rehman
Nov 25, 2023
Glycerol's chemical formula is C3H8O3, and it is known for its sweet taste and hygroscopic nature. Glycerin, when referred to in products like soaps or lotions, usually denotes glycerol in a purified and standardized form.
Huma Saeed
Nov 25, 2023
In scientific and industrial settings, the term glycerol is more prevalent, emphasizing the compound's chemical nature. Glycerin is more often found on ingredient labels for consumer goods, highlighting its role in product formulation.
Janet White
Nov 25, 2023
While glycerol is used in various technical applications, including as an antifreeze and plasticizer, glycerin is more associated with its uses in food, personal care products, and medications.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 25, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Definition

A simple polyol compound.
Commercial name for glycerol, particularly in food and pharmaceuticals.
Sara Rehman
Nov 25, 2023

Usage Context

More common in scientific and industrial settings.
More common in commercial, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical contexts.
Sara Rehman
Nov 25, 2023

Chemical Nature

A trihydroxy alcohol (C3H8O3).
Same as glycerol, often referring to a purified form.
Huma Saeed
Nov 25, 2023

Applications

Used in technical fields like antifreeze production, plasticizers.
Widely used in consumer products like soaps, lotions, and foods.
Sara Rehman
Nov 25, 2023

Labelling

Labelled as glycerol in technical products.
Labelled as glycerin in consumer goods and pharmaceuticals.
Janet White
Nov 25, 2023
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Glycerol and Glycerin Definitions

Glycerol

A substance used in food industry as a sweetener and humectant.
Glycerol is often added to foods to help retain moisture.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 17, 2023

Glycerin

A moisturizing agent commonly used in skin care products.
Glycerin is a key ingredient in many moisturizing lotions.
Huma Saeed
Nov 17, 2023

Glycerol

A trihydroxy sugar alcohol that is an intermediate in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism.
Glycerol is produced during the breakdown of fats in the body.
Sara Rehman
Nov 17, 2023

Glycerin

A sweet-tasting liquid used as a food additive for flavor and preservation.
Glycerin is added to cakes to keep them moist.
Sara Rehman
Nov 17, 2023

Glycerol

A colorless, odorless, viscous liquid used in pharmaceutical formulations.
Glycerol is added to cough syrups for its soothing properties.
Janet White
Nov 17, 2023

Glycerin

A humectant in cosmetics, attracting moisture to the skin.
Glycerin helps maintain hydration in face creams.
Janet White
Nov 17, 2023

Glycerol

A compound forming the backbone of triglycerides and phospholipids.
Glycerol combines with fatty acids to form lipids in cells.
Janet White
Nov 17, 2023

Glycerin

A compound used in pharmaceuticals for its soothing and lubricating properties.
Glycerin is found in many ointments for its healing effects.
Sara Rehman
Nov 17, 2023

Glycerol

A versatile chemical used in various industrial applications.
Glycerol is utilized as a plasticizer in manufacturing.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 17, 2023

Glycerin

A non-toxic antifreeze and lubricant used in various applications.
Glycerin is utilized in antifreeze formulations for its freezing point depression properties.
Sara Rehman
Nov 17, 2023

Glycerol

A syrupy, sweet, colorless or yellowish liquid triol, C3H8O3, obtained from fats and oils as a byproduct of saponification and used as a solvent, antifreeze, plasticizer, and sweetener and in the manufacture of dynamite, cosmetics, liquid soaps, inks, and lubricants.
Sara Rehman
Nov 16, 2023

Glycerin

Glycerol or a preparation of glycerol.
Sara Rehman
Nov 16, 2023

Glycerol

(organic compound) 1,2,3-trihydroxy-propane or propan-1,2,3-triol; a trihydric alcohol
Sara Rehman
Nov 16, 2023

Glycerin

(organic compound) glycerine.
Sara Rehman
Nov 16, 2023

Glycerol

A syrupy sweet liquid obtained as a by-product in the manufacture of soap from animal or vegetable oils and fats; it is used as an antifreeze, a plasticizer, and a food sweetener and in the manufacture of dynamite, cosmetics etc.
Sara Rehman
Nov 16, 2023

Glycerin

An oily, viscous liquid, C3H5(OH)3, colorless and odorless, and with a hot, sweetish taste, existing in the natural fats and oils as the base, combined with various acids, as oleic, margaric, stearic, and palmitic. It may be obtained by saponification of fats and oils. It is a triatomic alcohol, and hence is also called glycerol. See Note under Gelatin.
Sara Rehman
Nov 16, 2023

Glycerol

Same as Glycerin.
Sara Rehman
Nov 16, 2023

Glycerin

A sweet syrupy trihydroxy alcohol obtained by saponification of fats and oils
Sara Rehman
Nov 16, 2023

Glycerol

A sweet syrupy trihydroxy alcohol obtained by saponification of fats and oils
Sara Rehman
Nov 16, 2023

FAQs

What is glycerin?

Glycerin is the commercial and pharmaceutical name for glycerol, especially when used in food or personal care products.
Huma Saeed
Nov 25, 2023

What is glycerol?

Glycerol is a simple polyol compound, known for its viscous nature and hygroscopic properties.
Sara Rehman
Nov 25, 2023

Are glycerol and glycerin the same?

Yes, they refer to the same chemical compound but are used in different contexts.
Sara Rehman
Nov 25, 2023

What are the uses of glycerol?

Glycerol is used in pharmaceuticals, food industry, and various industrial applications.
Harlon Moss
Nov 25, 2023

Can glycerin be used in food?

Yes, glycerin is used as a sweetener, humectant, and preservative in food.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 25, 2023

Is glycerol safe for skincare?

Yes, glycerol is considered safe and is commonly used for its moisturizing properties in skincare.
Harlon Moss
Nov 25, 2023

Are there any side effects of using glycerin?

Glycerin is generally safe, but excessive use can sometimes lead to skin irritation in sensitive individuals.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 25, 2023

Where is glycerin commonly found?

Glycerin is commonly found in cosmetics, personal care products, and as a food additive.
Sara Rehman
Nov 25, 2023

Can glycerol be used in hair care products?

Yes, glycerol is used in hair care products for its moisturizing and conditioning properties.
Janet White
Nov 25, 2023

Can glycerol be used as a sweetener?

Yes, glycerol has a sweet taste and is used as a sweetener in some food products.
Harlon Moss
Nov 25, 2023

How is glycerol produced industrially?

Industrially, glycerol is produced either by the hydrolysis of fats and oils or synthetically from propylene.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 25, 2023

Can glycerol be used as a laxative?

Yes, glycerol can be used as a laxative due to its hygroscopic properties.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 25, 2023

What is the role of glycerin in pharmaceuticals?

In pharmaceuticals, glycerin is used as a solvent, sweetener, and lubricant.
Harlon Moss
Nov 25, 2023

Is glycerol edible?

Yes, glycerol is edible and is often used as a food additive.
Sara Rehman
Nov 25, 2023

Is glycerol vegan?

Glycerol can be vegan if derived from plant sources, but it's important to check the source for animal-derived glycerol.
Janet White
Nov 25, 2023

Is glycerol natural or synthetic?

Glycerol can be both naturally occurring in fats and oils or synthetically produced.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 25, 2023

What is the source of glycerin in cosmetics?

Glycerin in cosmetics can be derived from plant oils, animal fats, or synthesized chemically.
Janet White
Nov 25, 2023

What are the industrial applications of glycerin?

Industrial applications of glycerin include its use in antifreeze solutions, as a plasticizer, and in manufacturing.
Janet White
Nov 25, 2023

How does glycerin help in maintaining skin moisture?

Glycerin attracts moisture to the skin, helping to keep it hydrated and soft.
Sara Rehman
Nov 25, 2023

Is glycerin good for the skin?

Yes, glycerin is highly effective as a moisturizer and helps maintain skin hydration.
Sara Rehman
Nov 25, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sara Rehman
Sara Rehman is a seasoned writer and editor with extensive experience at Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Information Technology, she combines her academic prowess with her passion for writing to deliver insightful and well-researched content.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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