Sorbitol is a type of sugar that can be created synthetically or derived from natural sources. Similar to glycerin, it is a hydrating ingredient (technically a humectant), thickening agent, and slip agent.
Its sugar component makes sorbitol an intriguing prebiotic, an ingredient that can “feed” the probiotics that make up a person’s skin microbiome, thus helping it become balanced. Specifically, sorbitol’s breakdown by certain probiotics can create beta-glucan, a skin-calming antioxidant.
References for this information:
Frontiers in Microbiology, December 2017, ePublication
3 Biotech, June 2012, pages 115-125
The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, August 2011, pages 31-49
Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology, July-September 2004, pages 321-336
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Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:
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