glycerin is used in just about every type of product. some examples:
Food industry In foods and beverages, glycerol serves as a humectant, solvent, and sweetener, and may help preserve foods. It is also used as filler in commercially prepared low-fat foods (e.g., cookies), and as a thickening agent in liqueurs. Glycerol and water are used to preserve certain types of leaves. As a sugar substitute, it has approximately 27 calories per teaspoon and is 60% as sweet as sucrose. Although it has about the same food energy as table sugar, it does not raise blood sugar levels, nor does it feed the bacteria that form plaques and cause dental cavities. As a food additive, glycerol is labeled as E number E422.
Glycerol is also used to manufacture mono- and di-glycerides for use as emulsifiers, as well as polyglycerol esters going into shortenings and margarine.
It is also used as a humectant (along with propylene glycol labelled as E1520 and/or E422) in the production of snus, a Swedish-style smokeless tobacco product.
As used in foods, glycerol is categorized by the American Dietetic Association as a carbohydrate. The U.S. FDA carbohydrate designation includes all caloric macronutrients excluding protein and fat. Glycerin has a caloric density similar to table sugar, but a lower glycemic index and different metabolic pathway within the body, so some dietary advocates accept glycerin as a sweetener compatible with low carbohydrate diets.
Pharmaceutical and personal care applicationsGlycerol is used in medical and pharmaceutical and personal care preparations, mainly as a means of improving smoothness, providing lubrication and as a humectant. It is found in allergen immunotherapies, cough syrups, elixirs and expectorants, toothpaste, mouthwashes, skin care products, shaving cream, hair care products, soaps and water based personal lubricants. In solid dosage forms like tablets, Glycerol is used as a tablet holding agent. For human consumption, glycerol is classified by the U.S. FDA among the sugar alcohols as a caloric macronutrient.
Glycerol is a component of glycerin soap, which is made from denatured alcohol, glycerol, sodium castorate (from castor), sodium cocoate, sodium tallowate, sucrose, and water. Sometimes one adds sodium laureth sulfate, or essential oils for fragrance. This kind of soap is used by people with sensitive, easily-irritated skin because it prevents skin dryness with its moisturizing properties. It draws moisture up through skin layers and slows or prevents excessive drying and evaporation. It is possible to make glycerol soap at home.
Used as a laxative when introduced into the rectum in suppository or small-volume (2to10ml)(enema) form; irritates the anal mucosa and induces a hyperosmotic effect.
Topical pure or nearly pure glycerol is an effective treatment for psoriasis, burns, bites, cuts, rashes, bedsores, and calluses. It can be used orally to eliminate halitosis, as it is a contact bacterial desiccant. The same property makes it very helpful with periodontal disease; it penetrates biofilm quickly and eliminates bacterial colonies.