When many people think of beta-glucans, they think of their heart health and metabolic benefits. Did you know, though, that these polysaccharides are also incredible for your skin?
If you’ve seen beta-glucan skincare products on store shelves or online but aren’t sure if they’re right for you, keep reading.
Below, you’ll learn more about beta-glucans and how they can help you level up your skincare regimen.
What Are Beta-Glucans?
Beta-glucans are types of carbohydrates extracted from the cell walls of various plants, fungi, yeast, and bacteria.
Beta-glucans also act as humectants. Humectants retain moisture in the skin (as well as food, cosmetics, medicine, and many other products).
When applied topically, humectants attract water to the top layers of the skin, improving hydration and reducing irritation, redness, and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Beta-glucans are also hygroscopic, meaning they absorb moisture from the air, pulling it to your skin and helping it become plumper and more hydrated.
Who Should Use Beta-Glucan Skincare Products?
Just about anyone can benefit from skincare products that contain beta-glucans. However, these products are especially beneficial to those dealing with compromised or damaged skin barriers.
The skin barrier, also known as the stratum corneum, is the outermost layer of the skin. It consists of corneocytes, which act like bricks in a wall. Each brick contains a delicate balance of intercellular lipids (fats), ceramides (waxy lipid molecules), cholesterol, and fatty acids.
When certain elements of the skin barrier are damaged or depleted, it’s easier for the skin to lose moisture or become irritated. As a result, the skin may start to look dry, dull, or inflamed. It may also be more sensitive to products that previously didn’t bother it.
Beta-glucans help to restore the skin barrier and minimize signs of dryness, inflammation, or increased sensitivity. They can also help to prevent future damage to the skin barrier.
Benefits of Beta-Glucans for the Skin
In the last few years, beta-glucans have become popular ingredients in numerous skincare products — including lotions, creams, and serums — and for a good reason.
The following are some of the most significant benefits people have seen from incorporating products that contain beta-glucans into their skincare routines:
Prevents Skin Damage
Even if you aren’t currently dealing with skin damage, irritation, or signs of aging, you can still benefit from products made with beta-glucans.
Because they’re derived from plants, beta-glucans are loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants help to prevent cellular damage by neutralizing free radicals, which are uncharged molecules responsible for causing oxidative stress.
Incorporating antioxidant-rich skincare products, like those containing beta-glucans, into your skincare regimen will help to prevent damage caused by free radicals. Well-known examples of free radical skin damage include fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, sagging skin, and dullness.
Repairs Skin Damage
Do you have existing signs of free radical skin damage, such as fine lines, wrinkles, or dullness? If so, you can minimize the appearance of this damage with beta-glucans.
Because of the deep moisturizing benefits of beta-glucans, as well as their plumping properties, you may notice that these issues are less noticeable after you’ve consistently used products containing them.
Beta-glucans can also help to reduce other types of skin damage, including eczema, burns, dermatitis, and bed sores. Because they support the skin barrier, they promote faster healing and soothe irritation.
Boosts the Skin Barrier
Speaking of the skin barrier, that’s another great reason to incorporate beta-glucans into your daily skincare practice. By strengthening the skin barrier, beta-glucans help to prevent future damage, including damage caused by free radicals, pollutants, and other environmental stressors.
Beta-glucans can also protect you from bacteria that may compromise the skin barrier.
Beta-glucans stimulate macrophages. Macrophages are specialized cells that detect and destroy harmful bacteria and other organisms.
Pathogens may sneak through a compromised skin barrier (for example, one that has been damaged by eczema or dermatitis) and cause additional damage. Beta-glucans can help to prevent this from happening.
Deeply Hydrates the Skin
Whether you have a compromised skin barrier or not, you’ll likely benefit from the profoundly hydrating properties of beta-glucans.
Beta-glucans are humectants. They lock in hydration and prevent moisture loss.
Many experts have found that beta-glucans are just as effective as other active ingredients, like hyaluronic acid, when it comes to moisturizing the skin and increasing its suppleness and plumpness.
If you haven’t had good luck with hyaluronic acid, or if you just want to try nothing new, beta-glucans could be an effective alternative.
Reduces Signs of Aging
Thanks to their moisturizing benefits — as well as how it supports the skin barrier and prevents free radical damage — beta-glucans are an obvious option for those looking to slow down signs of aging.
If you want to plump up your skin and help it look more youthful, products containing beta-glucans can help you achieve your goal.
Do Beta-Glucans Work with Other Skincare Products?
Beta-glucans work well with other skincare products, including those that contain retinol (a form of vitamin A that promotes healthy cellular development, skin maintenance, and mucous membrane maintenance.
Retinol products can be drying or irritating to the skin. However, incorporating beta-glucans can help to combat these issues and help you experience the benefits that retinol has to offer.
Beta-glucans aren’t known to interfere with ingredients in other skincare products when used topically, so you can likely use a beta-glucan cream or lotion with other products (such as serums) without worrying about negative interactions.
If you’re concerned or have specific questions about how beta-glucans may affect your skin, consult a dermatologist or another professional before introducing any new products.
Experience the Benefits of Beta Glucans Today
Beta-glucans are powerful moisturizers that protect and restore the skin, keeping it looking plump and youthful.
Are you ready to give beta glucans a try? If so, Hygieia’s beta glucan cream is an excellent place to start.
Our beta glucan cream is made in the USA and is encapsulated for maximum absorption. Check it out today, or combine it with our retinol cream for more anti-aging benefits!