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Renew Your Glow: Beta-Glucan Benefits for Skin

In the world of cosmetic products, familiar ingredients like hyaluronic acid, collagen, and retinoids often take the spotlight. Yet, there’s a rising star worth your attention – beta-glucan. Below, we reveal all the beta-glucan benefits for skin. Don’t miss out on this skincare guide.

What Is Beta-Glucan?

Beta-glucan is a polysaccharide, a complex carbohydrate composed of glucose molecules linked through beta-glycosidic bonds. It is commonly found in bacteria, fungi, algae, and cereals such as oats and barley.

Structurally diverse, beta-glucans exhibit different molecular weights and branching patterns. As biological response modifiers, these polysaccharides are renowned for immunomodulatory properties.

In the human body, beta-glucans engage with immune macrophages and dendritic cells and influence immune responses. Notably, beta-glucans enhance host defense mechanisms by promoting phagocytosis, cytokine production, and overall immune system activation. Apart from benefits for the immune system, they are potent in lowering cholesterol levels and supporting cardiovascular health. 

Beta-Glucan Benefits for Skin

Similar to hyaluronic acid, beta-glucan is a common ingredient in skincare products and brings a range of advantages for the skin. Here is an overview of its effects:

Boost Hydration

As a polysaccharide, beta-glucan possesses a hydrophilic nature. This is how it attracts and retains water molecules. Upon application, this polysaccharide forms a hydrating film on the skin’s surface and reduces transepidermal water loss.

Besides, it stimulates the skin’s own hyaluronic acid production, which is essential for moisture retention. This mechanism improves immediate moisture levels and contributes to long-term skin health.

Anti-Aging Effects

Molecules of beta-glucan interact with skin cells called fibroblasts to stimulate collagen synthesis. Enhanced collagen production results in improved skin elasticity and reduced wrinkle visibility.

Its immunomodulatory properties also support the skin’s defense mechanisms, protecting against free radicals and environmental damage. The activation of macrophages and cytokine production further supports tissue repair and regeneration, which is vital in slowing the aging process

Calming Abilities

Beta-glucan activates macrophages, immune cells that release anti-inflammatory molecules. This modulates the skin’s immune response, reducing the release of pro-inflammatory mediators.

On the other hand, beta-glucan interacts with receptors on the skin’s surface and inhibits the activation of inflammatory pathways. In this way it mitigates skin redness, sensitivity, and discomfort. This is why beta-glucan is an indispensable ingredient in formulations for sensitive skin.

Repairs Skin Barrier

This potent polysaccharide enhances the synthesis of ceramides, essential lipids that constitute the skin barrier. The accelerated production of ceramide reinforces the structural integrity of the skin barrier.

Apart from this, beta-glucan stimulates the proliferation of keratinocytes, a basic building block of the epidermis. Its interaction with macrophages further supports the removal of dead cells, facilitating efficient skin renewal. The result is a strengthened and resilient skin barrier, which is necessary for preserving optimal skin health and function.

Promotes Healing Wounds

Human skin possesses remarkable regenerative capabilities, and beta-glucan significantly contributes to the process of wound healing. When skin is exposed to beta-glucan, it stimulates a complex response.

First of all, it can activate the most important immune cells, macrophages. It initiates the clearance of waste particles and potential pathogens from the wound site. Besides, it promotes fibroblast proliferation and collagen deposition. These processes are responsible for the formation of a structurally sound extracellular matrix. As a result, tissue regeneration is accelerated, and wounds are easily closed.

Protecting Skin Microbiome

The skin microbiome consists of various bacteria, fungi, viruses, micro-eukaryotes, archaea, and bacteriophages. Beta-glucan skin benefits extend to the protection and maintenance of the skin microbiome

By influencing macrophages, this bioactive compound helps regulate the skin’s response to microbial changes. It promotes beneficial microorganisms while preventing harmful pathogens from growing.

Due to a stronger skin barrier, there is also less chance for potentially harmful substances to penetrate. 

How to Use Beta-Glucan?

A variety of beta-glucan products are available in creams, serums, and lotions. Cleanse your face before using moisturizers or serums with beta-glucan. Apply a product evenly to the skin and gently massage it in to enhance absorption. Given its compatibility with other skincare ingredients, beta-glucan can be seamlessly integrated into both morning and evening care.

Products containing beta-glucan address diverse skin concerns, from hydration to soothing and repairing damaged skin. By using beta-glucan consistently, you’ll get sustained benefits for your skin.

The Bottom Line

As a potent polysaccharide, beta-glucan is used to treat various skin concerns. Whether used separately or in combination with other ingredients, beta-glucan is a valuable component in preserving skin vitality.


Frequently Asked Questions


Is beta-glucan better than hyaluronic acid?

Both compounds contribute to skin hydration, but beta-glucan benefits extend beyond mere moisture retention. This polysaccharide enhances the skin’s natural defenses and promotes collagen synthesis. It also boosts hydration, skin health, and resilience. While hyaluronic acid retains water molecules, beta-glucan is a valuable component of a thorough skincare regimen.


Is beta-glucan good for acne skin?

Beta-glucan demonstrates great effects on acne-prone skin. The immunomodulatory properties of this polysaccharide reduce inflammation and redness associated with acne. Besides, it promotes wound healing, which is helpful in the recovery of acne lesions. As a multifunctional ingredient, its ability to soothe, repair the skin barrier, and enhance overall skin health makes it a valuable addition to skincare routines for acne-prone skin.


Does beta-glucan help eczema?

Beta-glucan is highly effective in the treatment of eczema. This potent polysaccharide alleviates the immune response and symptoms of eczema, such as redness and itching. Its ability to strengthen the skin barrier contributes to improved resilience against external factors, which is especially important for conditions like eczema.


Does beta-glucan clog pores?

Since beta-glucan is non-comedogenic, it won’t clog your pores. Its lightweight molecular structure makes it suitable for different skin types. 


Can I use beta-glucan and retinol together?

Beta-glucan and retinol provide complementary benefits when taken together. Both ingredients have distinct functions in skincare. While beta-glucan supports skin health and hydration, retinol promotes collagen synthesis and cell turnover. Additionally, beta-glucan can mitigate skin sensitivity and irritation that may occur with the first use of retinol.