Sorbitol – Why is sorbitol in my skincare product?

What is sorbitol

Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol used in skin care as a moisturizing and moisturizing agent. Sorbitol also acts as a thickener and improves the texture of formulations.

Sorbitol also acts as a prebiotic ingredient, helping to nourish the naturally occurring bacteria on the skin. The skin has a natural microbiome that protects the skin from harmful bacteria and infections.

When the balance of the microbiome is compromised by excessive washing, harsh products, or illness, it has been linked to a weakened skin barrier and decreased resistance to infection.

Sorbitol is a naturally occurring sweetener found in many fruits and plants.

Sorbitol was first identified in the berries of a tree called mountain ash, Sorbus aucuparia, by a French chemist in 1872. It occurs naturally in foods like apples, pears, peaches, and plums.

Sorbitol can also be obtained by reducing glucose, which converts the aldehyde group into a hydroxyl group. Sorbitol is classified as a sugar alcohol. The majority of sorbitol is made from corn syrup.



the good: Sorbitol helps visibly moisturize the skin, improve the texture of skin care formulations, and support the health of the skin’s microbiome.

not that good:Sorbitol does not generally cause irritation.

For whom is that?All skin types except those who have an identified allergy.

Synergetic ingredients:Works well with most ingredients

Keep an eye on: Keep an eye on the other ingredients in your product to determine if it is right for your skin.

What does sorbitol do for your skin?


Sorbitol is also used as a humectant or moisturizer in skin care formulations. A humectant is a water-attracting ingredient that draws water into the skin, moisturizing and baptizing it. Because of its moisturizing properties, sorbitol is a beneficial ingredient for people with dehydrated skin.


Sorbitol can also be beneficial for aging skin. As we age, our skin slowly loses the ability to maintain water-based moisture. The top layers of the skin contain natural humectants or natural moisturizing factors. NMF attracts water and stores it in the skin cells to keep the skin hydrated. As part of the normal aging process, there is a significant decrease in the NMF content in the skin, which leads to dryness and ultimately contributes to the formation of wrinkles. Therefore, applying products that contain moisturizing moisturizers can keep the skin hydrated while reducing the signs of aging.


Another function of sorbitol in cosmetic and skin care products as a thickening agent. Thickeners are an important part of the formulation as they help ensure that the product is applied smoothly and evenly to the skin. This helps ensure that the key ingredients in your product get where they need to work. Thickeners also help improve the feel of the product. This is mainly a sensory effect, but the product feels pleasant on the skin.


You may be familiar with the term microbiome in relation to gut health. Microbiome actually refers to a naturally occurring good balance of bacteria that can also be found on the skin. The microbiome is important to skin health and protects the skin from water loss, damage, and infection. The skin’s natural microbiome can be damaged by excessive washing, the use of disinfectant products, and harsh formulations. One way to support the health of the skin’s microbiome is to feed the good bacteria on the skin. This is where sorbitol comes in. As a prebiotic, it maintains the bacteria on the skin and supports the balance.

What Should You Know About Sorbitol Uses?

There is a problem with humectants like sorbitol, they have to be formulated with occlusive ingredients. Occlusive ingredients are ingredients that help create a protective barrier on the skin. This is important when formulating with humectants because without this barrier the moisture in the water is lost to the air. This is important in dry environments because with little to no moisture in the ambient air, humectants can draw too much moisture from the lower layers of the skin, making the skin appear dry. Keep this in mind when looking for products with sorbitol.

What are the other uses of sorbitol?

Sorbitol acts primarily as a sugar substitute. It’s about 60% as sweet as sucrose or sugar. You can find sorbitol in diet foods, cough syrup, peppermints, sugar-free chewing gum, mouthwash, and toothpaste. The sweetness of sorbitol also makes this ingredient useful in lip products like lip gloss and lip balm.

Is Sorbitol Safe?

Sorbitol has been used as a safe ingredient in both the cosmetics and food industries for fifty years. the US Food and Drug Administration contains sorbitol on the list of direct food substances confirmed as generally recognized safe (GRAS).

Sorbitol is also recognized as a safe ingredient in skin care and cosmetic formulations. Sorbitol does not cause irritation or worsen sensitivity and does not cause toxicity problems.

Purnamawati, S, Indrastuti, N, Danarti, R, & Saefudin, T, 2017. “The Role of Moisturizers in Treating Different Types of Dermatitis: An Overview,” Clinical Medicine & Research, vol. 15, pp. 75-87. Cosmetic Ingredient Review, 2002. ‘Final report on the safety assessment of Sorbitan Caprylate, Sorbitan Cocoate, Sorbitan Diisostearate, Sorbitan Dioleate, Sorbitan Distearate, Sorbitan Isostearate, Sorbitan Olivate, Sorbitan Sesquiisostearate, Sorbitan Sesquiisostearate, Sorbitan Sorbitan Sorbitan Sorbitan Sorbitan, Sorbitan Sorbitan Sorbitan Sorbitan, Sorbitan Sorbitan Sorbitan of Sorbitan Sorbitan Sorbitan Sorbitan, Sorbitan Sorbitan Sorbitan of Sorbitan Sorbitan Sorbitan Sorbitan of Sorbitan Sorbitan of Sorbitan Sorbitan of Sorbitan Sorbitan of Sorbitan Sorbitan Sorbitan of Sorbitan Sorbitan of Sorbitan Sorbitan Sorbitan of Sorbitan Sorbitan Sorbitan of Sorbitan Sorbitan of Sorbitan of Sorbitan, 2002. 21, pp. 93-112.

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