The glycerine used in most intimate lubricants as a cosmetic agent is in the crosshairs of bloggers! Deserved bashing? This is the question of the day: is glycerine dangerous? Should it be excluded at all costs from the composition of our intimate lubricating gels? Infections, mycoses, irritations, and transmission of STIs are serious warnings that are very often found on the Internet concerning this ingredient (which has multiple origins and virtues.) What is it really? Let's explore the scientific aspects of this active ingredient so we can understand why it’s currently taking a beating on Instagram! In this article, we are sharing information about our glycerine-free seaweed lube, and why certain people benefit from not having this ingredient. Our main objective, however, is to dispel these myths filled with inaccurate information and to clear up what is true and what is false about glycerine, which is typically an important component in the composition of intimate lubricants.
Glycerine's identity card: time for science!
What is glycerine?
Glycerine is a cosmetic active ingredient that comes in the form of a colourless, odourless, thick, sticky liquid. It is also one of the most commonly used ingredients in cosmetics and intimate lubricants, whether conventional or organic. Glycerine, contrary to popular belief, is an alcohol and not a sugar!
Where does glycerine come from and how is it extracted?
It can be:
- From petrochemical derivatives.
- From animal origin, by the saponification of animal fats.
- From a plant-based origin, by the saponification of vegetable oils.
Natural glycerine is obtained in a saponification reaction when fatty acids are separated from oil or fat and glycerine is the result. From this reaction, many different types of glycerine that are all very different from one another are produced on the market, made from animal fat or vegetable oil. Only ultra-pure vegan glycerine of medical quality should be used to produce personal lubricants. This is where things get... well, sticky!
Most intimate gels contain glycerine or glycols and there is no way of knowing what type of glycerine is involved. Manufacturers of adult products do very little, if anything, to inform consumers where their ingredients come from and how they are made and processed. Probably a comfortable choice for those who like to deceive their costumers, but one that leads to a lot of confusion for those who don’t!
In an ecological, proactive, and responsible approach, we at YESforLOV always use plant-based glycerine that’s usually organic. However, as you know, glycerine can have various origins. The controversy surrounding glycerine does not come from anywhere else but the blatant misinformation surrounding each type of glycerine, and the lack of differentiation between the different varieties. This is inevitably the driving force!
Does my product contain glycerine or glycerine derivatives?
- Look at the INCI list: Glycerine, Trimethylene glycol, propanediol, propylene glycol... If you see references that come close, don't be fooled, “glycols" are part of it. However, don't panic, vegetable glycerine is not the enemy of your mucous membranes.
Let's focus on glycerine in intimate lubricants
The truth is that high quality vegetable glycerine works as an excellent water-based lubricant. It lasts longer and does not dry out: excellent texture, no sticky residue, and the most natural feeling you can get that’s close to female secretions: high quality vegetable glycerine is discreet and knows how to be forgotten!
What are the advantages of glycerine in intimate lubricants?
Here are three good reasons why we use pant-based glycerine in our intimate lubricants.
Moisturises the intimate mucosa:
Glycerine is able to retain water, so it will help to keep the skin perfectly hydrated. Obviously, it is necessary to respect the recommended dosage, otherwise the opposite effect occurs.
Softens and protects:
Glycerine is an excellent emollient, it will help soften, smooth, and protect the skin from external aggressions.
Glycerine provides long-lasting lubrication, making lovemaking even more enjoyable and long-lasting.
Glycerine is also a solvent for the extraction of vegetable plants. It is not surprising that it is omnipresent everywhere! It also acts as a preservative, giving cosmetics a certain stability.
What is wrong with glycerine?
In the United States, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), glycerine is "generally recognized as safe when used in accordance with good manufacturing practices".
In case of wrong dosage or doubtful origin, glycerine can cause irritations and small allergies. Again, it is important to mention that it all depends on the origin of the glycerine and its concentration in the finished product. We explain in more detail in the paragraph below:
Glycerine has a significant impact on the osmolarity of the product, which is, in short, the measure of how much moisture a substance pulls from one side of a membrane to the other. To put it simply, if the wrong dosage is used, the lubricant can dry out your membranes, cause irritation, and trigger a number of discomforts caused by osmotic stress, which will probably also create a pH imbalance
According to one study, 86% of the lubricants listed in the WHO study have osmolarity levels well above the "LOVE WITHOUT RISK" limit.
In case of wrong dosage, glycerine would be likely to increase the proliferation of fungus, which is the main cause of vaginal mycosis. Lubricants based on incorrectly dosed glycerine are probably not unrelated to possible mycotic episodes, which cannot be ruled out because this fungus is naturally present in the vagina!
It is clear that an unbalanced environment due to osmotic stress and a disturbance of the vaginal ph is a breeding ground for all kinds of disorders. However, glycerine is not a sugar and does not promote insulin secretions: the risk of glycerine causing yeast infections is therefore quite low. To date, no study has shown that glycerine, when used properly, can cause fungal infections.
Yeast infections are caused by several factors, including antibiotics, which can alter the flora of the genitourinary tract, as well as stress, fatigue, lack of hygiene during sex, or wearing a wet swimsuit for too long. For example: Putting sugar in your vagina can cause a yeast infection, and we remind you once again that glycerine is an alcohol not a sugar!
How are YESforLOV glycerine-based intimate lubricants tested?
More than 200,000 intimate lubricants from our glycerine-based cosmetics range are sold every year at YESforLOV and have been for more than 13 long years. Our products have never encountered any difficulties with users, no complaints about anything, whether it be fungal or mucosal irritation. To date, none of our lubricants have been withdrawn from the market! To prove the safety of our lubricating intimate gels, we carry out 2 tests.
Case study at your disposal with the best-selling moisturising lubricant.
1st test: An evaluation of the tolerance and irritation potential of the product on vaginal epithelia:
According to a clinical study conducted by an independent laboratory on the unisex moisturizing lubricant, no observations were recorded during this test. The average Irritation Index is 0. The moisturizing lubricant is also considered non-irritating. The cell death rate is also zero for a contact time of more than 3 hours. The cytotoxicity of the natural moisturising lubricant, i.e., its properties of being toxic to cells until they are destroyed, is judged to be low even after 24 hours of exposure.
2nd test: A gynaecological test to assess the clinical and gynaecological tolerance and acceptability of the product:
The volunteers evaluated the product on its properties after using it for a period of 21 days. According to this test, the overall satisfaction rate is 100%, with all participants wanting to continue using the product.
The results of the usage test on the effectiveness of the product (positive responses ≥ 75%*) are as follows:
- The product delivers a fresh feeling
- The product provides a feeling of well-being
- The product provides a comfortable feeling
- The product moisturises the external genital mucosa
- The product nourishes the external genital mucosa
- The product is gentle on the skin in the intimate area
- The product provides a lubricating effect on the skin of the intimate area
- The product does not cause discomfort
- The product does not irritate the intimate area
- The external genital mucosa is soft
- The product is suitable for the intimate area
- The product respects the intimate area
The conclusion of the report is that the product has excellent gynaecological tolerance, according to the adopted scale, on the external genital area and excellent cosmetic acceptability, with 100% positive opinions.
Similarly, we have also tested our flavoured oils, which contain 95% glycerine and also sugar, on reconstituted mucous membranes. According to these irritation tests, the flavoured oils are neither irritating nor toxic. On the skin, the irritation index is 0.09, which is very low, and on the mucous membrane, it can only become irritating if the product is in contact with the mucous membrane for more than 24 hours.
Which lubricant should I choose if I am allergic to glycols?
I am sensitive and allergic to glycerine, what advice can you give me and what lubricant should I use?
- Test our natural lubricant with organic seaweed, certified glycerine-free and iso-osmotic.
- Beware of lubricants that use glycerine derivatives to hide the presence of glycol.
- Avoid lubricants that contain sugar such as aspartame or sucrose.
- Opt for 100% silicone lubricants that are non-comedogenic, there is very little risk of allergies.
- Ask the brand and its product managers about the glycol concentration and the origin of the ingredients.
Although most decisions and opinions are personal, often motivated by previous experience, we have no published or known data that definitively links the use of glycerine lubricants to vaginal infections which we know can be caused in many circumstances. Glycerine is a common ingredient in personal lubricants and excellent if used properly ... it prolongs the feeling of wetness and slipperiness. The sad fact is that most intimate lubricants are of very poor quality and use cheap and low-quality forms of glycerine! Price ... and the lowest at all costs! Glycerine has become a risky product because of its obvious lack of transparency when used in cosmetics, from its often-dubious origin to its integration into the lubricant, with a dosage that is often incredibly risky! It is high time to stop this controversy which has no reason to exist. Rather than viewing glycerine as the enemy of our well-being, we need to choose lubricants that use glycerine that is high-quality and safe. So, the best way to solve this is to choose brands that are transparent and honest about the origins of the glycerine they’re using. What we need is to give women the information they need to make informed decisions about their own bodies without resorting to scare tactics. Want to know more about lubricants and find the one that's right for you? Take the YESforLOV quiz. I hope I've convinced you! I hope I've put an end to the glycerine debate, because there is no doubt that it’s safe to use in intimate lubricants so that you can enjoy long and satisfying sex! I hope you do!