Beta-Glucan

EWG Score: 1What is EWG?

Beta-Glucan is type of fiber (carbohydrate) derived from a number of sources including mushrooms like the Reishi, and from grains like Barley, to name a few.  As one can see from the sources themselves, Beta-Glucan is taken in via diet, knowingly or unknowingly, by countless millions across the world.  Not only as something edible, though, Beta-Glucan has a place in the skincare industry as a noteworthy antioxidant and for its skin-soothing properties.

Beta-Glucan has been described as soothing and calming, which can be attributed to other descriptive factors such as anti-aging, anti-wrinkling, moisturizing, and rejuvenating, that work in effective combination with one another.

Ingredient Safety

Because knowing what goes into your skin is important.

Compared to other heavyweights in the skincare arena like Hyaluronic Acids, Beta-Glucan is relatively new to the scene; that is not to say this ingredient is not potent or useful in its own right, just that it hasn’t been officially recognized as long in terms of skincare.  Being that it is an ingredient that has been and still is consumed daily by millions and millions around the world, it is considered one of the safest ingredients around.

EWG: 1 (Low Hazard)
The results of this rating was based on over 2,500 studies found in the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) PubMed directory, which includes literature and information on ingredient toxicity.  Over 100 products have been listed in EWG’s database to have included Beta-Glucan as one of its ingredients.
You can view EWG’s Beta-Glucan entry here.

US FDA:  Primarily considered to be a type of dietary fiber found in many different types of food items, Beta-Glucan falls outside of the strict regulation of the FDA.  Having said that, there has been numerous publications surrounding Beta-Glucan in both its more popular dietary considerations, and a slow but very much growing number in regards to skincare considerations.
Read more at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Website.

Effect Types

Categorization of what the effects of this ingredient may be when used on the skin

Skin Soothing:  Beta-Glucan has often been touted to have skin soothing benefits as one of its primary claims.  According to a research paper published by Bin Du, Zhaoxiang Bian, and Baojun Xu (2013), this ingredient was found to have promising results int he areas of “anti-wrinkle activity, wound healing, anti-oxidant activity, and moisturizing effect.”  Cumulatively, all of these effects can very well be attributed towards the skin soothing benefit.

Moisturizing: As a type of fiber (carbohydrate/polysaccharide), Beta-Glucan is able to absorb a large amount of water or other liquids compared to its own size.  Such an effect can help hydrate and moisturize skin by bringing that absorbed water and releasing it into the upper layers of the skin.

Collagen-Synthesis Promoting:  One study conducted by Pillai et al.(2005) noted that the application of Beta-Glucan in human skin models resulted in a marked reduction of fine lines, gauged by the depth, height, and roughness of the skin before and after an 8 week period.

References and Further Reading:
Skin Health Promotion Effects of Natural Beta-Glucan Derived From Cereals and Microorganisms: A Review, National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Beta-Glucan || Skin Deep Cosmetics Database | EWG

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