Liquid Paraffin vs. Glycerin — What's the Difference?
Liquid Paraffin is a mineral oil used as a laxative and skin moisturizer, while Glycerin is a sugar alcohol used in skincare products and as a sweetener.
Difference Between Liquid Paraffin and Glycerin
Table of Contents
Liquid Paraffin and Glycerin are both substances commonly found in a variety of products, including those for skincare and pharmaceuticals. Liquid Paraffin, also known as mineral oil, is a clear, colorless, and odorless oil derived from petroleum. Its primary use is as a laxative and a moisturizer in skincare products. On the other hand, Glycerin, sometimes known as glycerol, is a sugar alcohol derived from animal or vegetable fats.
Liquid Paraffin is often used in cosmetics, ointments, and lotions because of its moisturizing properties. It creates a barrier on the skin's surface that helps retain moisture. Conversely, Glycerin is a humectant, which means it attracts water to itself. In skincare products, Glycerin draws moisture from the air and helps the skin retain it, making the skin feel soft and hydrated.
In the pharmaceutical industry, Liquid Paraffin is used as a laxative. When consumed, it helps ease the passage of stool. Glycerin, in this context, is also used as a laxative but in a suppository form. It works by irritating the bowel and drawing water into the intestine, making it easier to pass stool.
Liquid Paraffin can be found in products like baby oils and various creams for its occlusive properties. It’s not water-soluble and remains on the skin's surface. Glycerin, however, is water-soluble and can be found in a broader range of products, from lotions to soaps, and even in foods as a sweetener or preservative.
While both Liquid Paraffin and Glycerin have their distinct uses, they often work in tandem in various products to provide a balanced moisturizing effect. For instance, a skincare product might use Liquid Paraffin to lock in moisture and Glycerin to attract additional moisture to the skin.
Derived from petroleum
Derived from animal or vegetable fats
Laxative, moisturizer in skincare
Skincare, sweetener, preservative
Creates barrier on skin to retain moisture
Attracts water to itself (humectant)
Clear, colorless, odorless oil
Clear, viscous liquid
Compare with Definitions
Liquid Paraffin is a clear mineral oil derived from petroleum.
The baby oil contains Liquid Paraffin to help moisturize the skin.
Glycerin is a sugar alcohol derived from fats and is often used in skincare.
This soap contains Glycerin, so it won't dry out your skin.
Liquid Paraffin is odorless and doesn't easily absorb into the skin.
I prefer lotions with Liquid Paraffin since they stay on the surface and keep my skin moisturized.
Glycerin can also be found in foods as a sweetener or preservative.
This candy contains Glycerin, which gives it a sweet taste and soft texture.
Liquid Paraffin is used in various cosmetic products for its moisturizing properties.
This lipstick contains Liquid Paraffin, giving it a smooth application.
Glycerin is a humectant, attracting moisture from the air to hydrate the skin.
The Glycerin in this lotion helps pull moisture into my skin, keeping it soft.
Liquid Paraffin is often used as a laxative due to its stool-softening properties.
Doctors sometimes recommend Liquid Paraffin to patients struggling with constipation.
Glycerin is used as a laxative in suppository form.
For immediate relief, the doctor prescribed a Glycerin suppository.
Liquid Paraffin acts as a barrier on the skin, helping to retain moisture.
To combat dry skin in winter, many turn to creams containing Liquid Paraffin.
Glycerin can be of animal or vegetable origin.
The label specifies that it uses vegetable Glycerin, making it suitable for vegetarians.
Glycerol or a preparation of glycerol.
(organic compound) glycerine.
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.
A sweet syrupy trihydroxy alcohol obtained by saponification of fats and oils
Can Glycerin be used in foods?
Yes, Glycerin can be used in foods as a sweetener or preservative.
Why is Liquid Paraffin used as a laxative?
Liquid Paraffin eases the passage of stool when consumed.
What is the primary source of Liquid Paraffin?
Liquid Paraffin is derived from petroleum.
What is the primary use of Glycerin in skincare?
Glycerin is used as a humectant, attracting moisture to hydrate the skin.
Does Liquid Paraffin absorb into the skin?
No, Liquid Paraffin remains on the skin's surface.
Can both Liquid Paraffin and Glycerin be used for constipation relief?
Yes, Liquid Paraffin is consumed, and Glycerin is used as a suppository.
Which is considered a sugar alcohol: Liquid Paraffin or Glycerin?
Glycerin is considered a sugar alcohol.
Which has a more viscous texture: Liquid Paraffin or Glycerin?
Glycerin has a more viscous texture than Liquid Paraffin.
Is Liquid Paraffin safe for all skin types?
While generally safe, those with sensitive skin should patch-test products containing Liquid Paraffin.
Is Liquid Paraffin water-soluble?
No, Liquid Paraffin is not water-soluble.
How does Glycerin help in moisturizing the skin?
Glycerin attracts water from the air and helps the skin retain it.
Where is Glycerin derived from?
Glycerin is derived from animal or vegetable fats.
Is Glycerin odorless like Liquid Paraffin?
Glycerin is generally odorless, much like Liquid Paraffin.
In what forms can you typically find Liquid Paraffin in skincare products?
Liquid Paraffin can be found in creams, ointments, and lotions.
Is Glycerin vegan?
Glycerin can be vegan if derived from vegetable fats, but it can also be derived from animal fats.
Share Your Discovery
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at AskDifference.com, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.