When people use products with glycerin for skin care, side effects may include burning, redness, irritation, stinging and itching, reports HealthCentral. When taking glycerin as an oral medication, some patients have headaches, and elderly patients may become dehydrated, states Mayo Clinic. Side effects of using glycerin suppositories include anal irritation, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and gas, points out Drugs.com.
People should avoid applying glycerin to sensitive, cut or broken parts of their skin, according to HealthCentral. The medication may increase sensitivity to direct sun, so users may have to protect themselves with clothing or sunscreen and limit exposure. Pregnant or nursing women should consult their physicians before using glycerin. Those who experience skin infections, rashes, peeling or blistering should contact their doctors immediately. In very rare cases, glycerin applied to the skin may cause dizziness, difficulty breathing and facial swelling.
As of 2015, insufficient research has assessed the risks of pregnant and breast-feeding women taking glycerin orally, so physicians and patients should balance possible benefits against the risks, advises Mayo Clinic. Additionally, oral glycerin medication may interact negatively with certain types of food, other drugs and other medical conditions. When patients take glycerin as a suppository, occasional severe side effects may include rectal bleeding, breathing problems, chest tightness and swelling of the mouth, warns Drugs.com. Patients should consult their doctors immediately if such symptoms occur.