Beta-Glucans For Skin: Benefits And How To Use

From hydrating your skin to preventing UV damage - these dietary fibers can do a lot.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Meena Konada, MBBS, DDVL
Written by Swathi E, Certified Skin Care Coach
Edited by Anjali Sayee
Fact-checked by Monomita Chakraborty, Certified Skin Care Coach  • 

Moisturizing your skin daily and keeping it well-hydrated is the key to healthy and glowing skin. A good hydrant may keep many of your skin issues at bay, including flakiness, acne, and wrinkles. Using products with beta-glucans may help keep your skin hydrated from within. Although they are often referred to as the cousins of hyaluronic acid, many consider beta-glucans a better alternative.

Keep reading to know more about beta-glucans, their benefits, and why you need them in your skin care routine.

protip_icon Know Your Ingredient: Beta-Glucan

What Is It?
A type of dietary fiber found in the cell walls of yeast, bacteria, fungi, cereals, and oats.

What Are Its Benefits?
Hydrates the skin, fights signs of aging, protects against UV damage, lowers cholesterol levels, improves immunity and heart health, stabilizes blood sugar levels, and inhibits cancer cells.

Who Can Use It?
All except those who have rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, inflammatory bowel syndrome, and asthma.

How Often?
Daily, in the form of serums and moisturizers or supplements.

Can lead to a hyperactive immune system in some individuals. Consult your doctor before using it to avoid allergic reactions and side effects.

What Are Beta-Glucans?

Beta-glucans or β-glucans are polysaccharides found in the cell walls of yeast, bacteria, fungi, cereals, and oats. They are dietary fibers and can control chronic metabolic diseases by lowering cholesterol levels, improving immunity, stabilizing blood sugar levels, and inhibiting cancer cells. They also help maintain skin health when consumed or applied topically (1).

In dermatology, beta-glucans are used in personal care products. They promote wound healing, moisturize the skin, and have anti-aging benefits. They improve the skin’s resilience to infections (1). They are especially beneficial for sensitive skin, may help soothe symptoms of eczema and dermatitis, and protect the skin. Oat beta-glucan, mushroom beta-glucan, yeast beta-glucan are powerful natural ingredients that have gained significant attention in the beauty and cosmetics industry for their potential skincare benefits. These plant-based ingredients are renowned for their ability to nourish and soothe the skin, making them ideal for addressing many skin concerns such as psoriasis, rosacea, dry skin, and combination skin.

Keep reading to learn what beta-glucans can do for your skin.

What Do Beta-Glucans Do For The Skin?

1. Hydrate The Skin

Woman with dry skin may benefit from beta-glucans
Image: Shutterstock

Beta-glucans extracted from oats can hydrate and moisturize your skin. They can penetrate deep into the dermis (second layer of the skin), and reduce the skin roughness (2). It also increases the efficacy of the product.

protip_icon Trivia
Beta-glucans are said to stimulate macrophages and other immune cells to fight against invading pathogens on the skin to boost immunity.

2. Reduce Signs Of Aging

Woman with fine lines may benefit from beta-glucans for skin
Image: Shutterstock

Oat-derived beta-glucan can rejuvenate the skin and minimize fine lines and wrinkles. It stimulates the fibroblast cells to promote collagen production and cell renewal process to tighten the skin and minimize crow’s feet in eight weeks to give you a youthful appearance (2).

3. Have Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Woman with inflammation may benefit from beta-glucans
Image: Shutterstock

Beta-glucans derived from mushrooms have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (3). This might help alleviate inflammation caused by skin conditions like eczema, burns, wounds, and dermatitis. Beta-glucans play an important role in treating and preventing allergic reactions triggered by the immune system (4). These properties make them effective agents for soothing allergy symptoms like skin rashes, redness, and swelling.

4. Prevent UV Damage

Woman with sun-damaged skin may benefit from beta-glucans
Image: Shutterstock

Excessive ultraviolet light exposure produces harmful free radicals in your body, one of the main factors that cause photodamage and photoaging. The antioxidative properties of beta-glucans protect the skin against free radical damages and prevent signs of aging, hyperpigmentation, and cell damage (1).

You can use beta-glucans orally and topically to reap their skin benefits (5). Here is how you can incorporate them into your daily routine.

How To Use Beta Glucans For Skin

Oats are rich in beta-glucans
Image: Shutterstock

You can use serums, moisturizers, creams, and other skin care products with beta-glucans. You can also consume foods rich in beta-glucans to maintain your skin and overall health and wellness. You can eat:

  • Oats
  • Whole grains
  • Seaweed
  • Shiitake, maitake, and reishi mushrooms
  • Barley

protip_icon Quick Tip
Beta-glucans are versatile and go well with other skin care ingredients. There have been no noted adverse interactions with other ingredients when used topically.

Beta-glucans are considered safe (both orally and topically)(5). They do not have any serious side effects unless you are allergic to them or any of the foods listed above. Let’s understand who can use or consume beta-glucans.

Who Should Use Them?

You can use topical (or oral) beta-glucans if you have:

  • Dry and sensitive skin
  • Mature skin
  • Wrinkles, fine lines, and other aging signs

You can consume beta-glucans if you want to boost:

  • Cardiovascular health
  • Immune function

However, avoid consuming beta-glucans (through supplements or foods) if you have certain medical conditions like:

  • Asthma (6)
  • Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome by causing intestinal inflammation (7)
  • Rheumatoid arthritisi  XAn inflammatory and autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks its own tissues, especially joints in the hands and feet. (8)
  • Lupusi  XAn inflammatory disease in which the immune system suddenly becomes hyperactive and affects the kidneys, brain, joints, skin and heart. (9)
  • Multiple sclerosisi  XA chronic disorder in which the immune system damages the protective linings of the nerve cells, affecting the central nervous system. (10)

This is because beta-glucans can further trigger the hyperactive immune system in people with these conditions.

Beta-glucans are dietary fibers that boost your immune system and are commonly used in cosmetic products. Studies suggest beta-glucans have anti-inflammatory properties and can soothe skin conditions such as dermatitis and eczema. Additionally, they can reduce signs of aging by preventing skin dryness, and roughness. You can use beta-glucans for your skin as creams or consume foods such as oats or barley. Beta-glucans are ideal for people with sensitive, mature, or aging skin. However, people with asthma, multiple sclerosisi  XA chronic disorder in which the immune system damages the protective linings of the nerve cells, affecting the central nervous system. , or rheumatoid arthritisi  XAn inflammatory and autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks its own tissues, especially joints in the hands and feet. should avoid them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is beta-glucan good for oily skin?

Yes, beta-glucan is good for all skin types. However, do a patch test before applying it.

Can I use beta-glucan and hyaluronic acid together?

Yes, using beta-glucan and hyaluronic acid together can provide maximum hydration to the skin.

Is beta-glucan safe for fungal acne?

Yes, you can apply beta-glucan to soothe discomfort caused by fungal acne as it has anti-inflammatory properties. However, it may not treat acne.

Key Takeaways

  • Beta-glucans are hydrating ingredients that keep your skin well-moisturized, soft, and supple.
  • They help protect and strengthen your skin barrier while preventing signs of aging or infections.
  • Oats, seaweed, shiitake mushroom, and barley are common foods rich in beta-glucans.
  • Beta-glucans are usually safe to consume and to apply topically as ointments or lotions unless you are prone to allergies.

Learn how to incorporate oat beta-glucan into your daily routine for healthier, glowing skin! Check out the following video and get all the tips you need to look your best.


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Skin Aging & Modern Age Anti-aging Strategies
  2. Anti‐Wrinkle Therapy: Significant New Findings in the Non‐Invasive Cosmetic Treatment of Skin Wrinkles with Beta‐Glucan
  3. Anti-inflammatory antioxidant and cytotoxic actions of β-glucan-rich extract from Geastrum saccatum mushroom
  4. β-Glucans in the treatment and prevention of allergic diseases
  5. Clinical and Physiological Perspectives of β-Glucans: The Past Present and Future
  6. Β-Glucan Exacerbates Allergic Asthma Independent Of Fungal Sensitization And Promotes Steroid Resistant Th2/Th17 Responses
  7. Orally Delivered Β-Glucans Aggravate Dextran Sulfate Sodium (Dss)-Induced Intestinal Inflammation
  8. A Role For Fungal Β-Glucans And Their Receptor Dectin-1 In The Induction Of Autoimmune Arthritis In Genetically Susceptible Mice
  9. Acceleration Of Sle-Like Syndrome Development In Nzbxnzw F1 Mice By Beta-Glucan
  10. Curdlan a Microbial β-Glucan Has Contrasting Effects on Autoimmune and Viral Models of Multiple Sclerosis
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