Glycerin May Heal Skin

Common ingredient in skin care products can treat some diseases

FRIDAY, Dec. 12, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Glycerin, a common ingredient in skin care products, may help treat some skin diseases.

So says a Medical College of Georgia study in the December issue of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

The researchers demonstrated that glycerin (or glycerol), which is a natural water and alcohol attractor, makes skin look and function better by helping skin cells mature properly.

Glycerin works as a signal to help direct skin cells through their four normal stages of maturity. This finding indicates glycerin may augment wound healing and help people with diseases such as psoriasis and non-melanoma skin cancers, which result from abnormal proliferation and maturation of skin cells.

"For instance, in psoriasis, you have keratinocytes (skin cells) that grow too much and if we could somehow harness this (glycerin) signal, we might somehow be able to tell those keratinocytes, 'No. It's time to mature. Stop growing. Mature and form good skin,'" study co-author and cell physiologist Dr. Wendy Bollinger Bollag says in a prepared statement.

"Another instance in which you don't get normal maturation of the keratinocytes is in skin cancer, the non-melanoma skin cancers. So here is another way that if we could potentially harness this signalling pathway, we could maybe bypass the signal that basically makes them cancer and tell them, 'No. Mature and form skin and that's it. Don't become a cancer,'" Bollag adds.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about skin diseases.

Robert Preidt

Robert Preidt

Published on December 12, 2003

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