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Beta-glucan: the skincare powerhouse you need to know about

This calming and hydrating ingredient is a beauty essential - we have the lowdown on this skin wonder worker

Hyaluronic acid is the humectant ingredient that has been leading the way in skincare for the past few years, but beta-glucan is about to steal the spotlight, gaining popularity in the beauty word for its powerful benefits.

Extracted from sources such as seaweed, oats, yeast and fungi, beta-glucan is a polysaccharide–a carbohydrate that forms the structure of cells–with remarkable hydrating, soothing, and youth boosting properties. This multi-functional ingredient offers a whole host of benefits to skin, including:


Beta-glucan is a humectant, which means it attracts and retains moisture. It has been shown to be even more effective than hyaluronic acid, offering deep hydration and helping to keep the skin plump and supple.

Healing and soothing

Beta-glucan has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. It can help to soothe irritated skin, reduce redness and accelerate healing, making it particularly good for those with sensitive skin or conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.


Beta-glucan can stimulate collagen production, aiding in the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles. It also helps to protect the skin from environmental damage and oxidative stress, while its hydrating, and moisturising elements create a plumping effect which can reduce wrinkle depth and overall roughness.

Microbiome support

It has also been shown to boost the skin’s immune system, enhancing its ability to defend itself from bacteria, viruses, and harmful microorganisms. This balance can be easily disrupted by harsh cleansers, aggressive skin treatments and any antimicrobial active ingredients. Supporting the skin's natural barrier helps offset water loss from the skin's surface, which in turn can help alleviate dryness and dehydration. This leads to a healthier barrier, which is essential for good skin health.

Who can use beta-glucan?

The beauty of beta-glucan is its versatility. Most skin types can benefit including:

Dry skin

Because of its exceptional hydrating ability, beta-glucan makes a great addition to any skincare routine aimed at combating dryness and dehydration. Its hydrating and barrier-support functions work together to plump the skin while retaining moisture.

Sensitive skin

Thanks to its soothing properties, beta-glucan is ideal for those who have sensitive or easily irritated skin. It can calm redness, reduce inflammation, and protect against further irritation.

Mature skin

Beta-glucan's ability to stimulate collagen and provide antioxidant protection makes it an excellent choice for those seeing the early signs of ageing.

Acne-prone skin

While it may seem counterintuitive, beta glucan’s anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties make it a beneficial addition to those with acne prone skin, helping to reduce redness and support healing without causing breakouts.

Is beta-glucan skin friendly?

Derived from natural sources, beta-glucan is well tolerated by most people and has a very low risk of causing irritation or allergic reactions. However, if your skin is very reactive, it’s best to test it on a patch of skin before including it in your skincare routine.

How should it be used?

Beta-glucan can be found in serums, creams, masks, and cleansers and can be used as often as you like. They aren’t known to interfere with other ingredients, and work well with retinol and any other potentially irritating skin actives while helping to reduce issues.

Products to try

Skinician Time Delay Day Cream SPF30

An ultra-hydrating day cream that's said to increase hydration by up to 23 per cent and skin softness by 21 per cent, while also protecting from UV damage

The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors + Beta Glucan

A budget friendly, hydrating and lightweight gel moisturiser ideal for dry skin.

iUNIK Beta Glucan Power Moisture Serum

This all-round serum is enriched with beta-glucan which can even be used on dry skin around the eyes, and helps to moisturise and strengthen the skin barrier while brightening and lessening lines.

Skinceuticals Epidermal Repair

An EV Editorial team all-time favourite, this skincare essential is ideal following procedures including IPL, peels and microneedling. It calms, soothes and gets compromised skin back on track.

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