The winters are here and so is dry skin. As you look for the usual humectants and emollients in your moisturizers or body lotions, also check for the ingredient of xylitol. Wondering why?
Xylitol, a natural ingredient is widely used in your skin care products for its hydrating properties. It helps restore your skin’s moisture and protects its barrier.
Let’s find out more about xylitol and its benefits for your skin in this article.
What Is Xylitol?
Xylitol is a sugar molecule that is naturally found in fibrous fruits, trees and other plants. It can be artificially produced as well. It is a low-calorie sweetener that is used as a substitute for sugar in a number of toothpastes, gums and mouthwashes.
Xylitol is also found in small amounts in our bodies. It offers a variety of benefits that contribute to a healthy body and smooth skin.
How Does Xylitol Benefit Your Skin?
1. Water-Preserving Properties
Research suggests that xylitol boosts skin hydration levels by improving skin barrier functions. The ingredient helps preserve water in the skin and is used as a humectant in a number of dry skin creams and lotions.
Xylitol is also said to boost levels of hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is naturally present in the layers of your skin and contributes to its softness. It does this by pulling water from the environment onto your skin to keep it hydrated.
2. Collagen Production Booster
Xylitol boosts the production of collagen in your skin (1) (2). Collagen is a fibrous protein that is naturally found in the skin. It aids in keeping your skin intact and prevents the skin from sagging.
As we age, collagen levels tend to drop. This may also occur due to external factors like UV rays. Xylitol is seen to aid in collagen synthesis and boost its production. This can help to counteract the effects of aging on the skin.
Besides its benefits for the skin, xylitol has other benefits too.
1. Low Glycemic Index
Xylitol has a low glycemic index. This means that it does not spike blood sugar levels unlike other sweeteners. Insulin levels also remain unaffected, making it a good alternative for those with diabetes.
Studies suggest that those with high-fat diets will not gain weight easily, if they consume xylitol instead of sugar.
Xylitol also aids in losing weight, due to its low Glycemic index.
2. Dental Care
Xylitol is popularly used in toothpaste and dental care products due to its ability to reduce tooth decay. This is because it reduces the amount of Streptococcus mutans, a type of bacteria that contributes to a number of dental concerns like tooth decay (3) (4).
3. Reduces Ear Infection
S. mutans also contributes to ear infections like acute otitis media (AOM). A study conducted in 2016 suggests that chewing gums and syrups containing xylitol reduced the risk of ear infection in healthy children (5).
However, the results of a study conducted in 2014 suggest that xylitol syrup was ineffective in actually reducing the risk of ear infection in children who may be prone to it (6). The efficacy of xylitol for reducing ear infections, is thus not clearly established.
Side-Effects Of Using Xylitol
While animal studies indicate that xylitol is non-toxic, minor side-effects of the ingredient may be seen. This may be caused if its dosage exceeds 40 to 50gm on a daily basis. These include,
- Diarrhea and
- Bowel irritation
Large doses of IV administered xylitol may result in reno cerebral oxalosis with renal failure.
While there are no known interactions of xylitol with topical or systemic medicines, this could be due to the limited amount of research that has been done. It is highly recommended that you consult a doctor if you’re on any other medication.
What Is The Recommended Dosage?
Research suggests that adults can safely consume up to 10-30g of xylitol daily without side-effects (7). Initially they may take about 10-30g of the same, broken down into smaller doses and eventually increase dosage after adapting to the same.
Children have also safely consumed upto 45g of xylitol on a daily basis. However, more research has to be done on how safe it is to be recommended for dental care in children. It is better to consult a doctor, before consuming xylitol.
Products containing xylitol are recommended for skin care, due to its moisture-retaining properties. As it makes your skin smooth and soft, its soothing properties can help combat dry and inflamed skin. However, do choose products based on your skin type. Some of SkinKraft’s customized skin care products contain xylitol. They function by lightening your skin and making it soft.
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol - a carbohydrate naturally found in various fruits and other plants. Popularly used in place of sugar to sweeten toothpastes and other food items, it is also topically applied to the skin in combination with other ingredients, as a moisturizer. It contains water-preserving properties that keeps the skin hydrated, making it an apt choice for skin care.
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