Fructan at a glance

  • Prebiotic polysaccharide with potential skin microbiome benefits
  • Naturally present in fungi, bacteria, and plants such aloe vera, agave, barley, and chicory
  • Studied for skin-soothing properties
  • May also function as a humectant
  • Suppliers note this ingredient has excellent film-forming properties

Fructan description

Fructan is a polysaccharide with prebiotic properties that can potentially help improve the health of skin’s microbiome. Depending on the source and structure, fructans can be categorized into various types, such as fructooligosaccharides, inulin, and levan. Fructans are naturally present in fungi (yeast) and bacteria, as well as plants such aloe vera, agave, barley, chicory, and Jerusalum artichoke. Studies indicate fructans can soothe distressed skin while also increasing hydration through humectant properties. Certain fructans are also noted in research for their ability to help stabilize cosmetic emulsions. According to supplier data, fructan may also provide film-forming properties in skin care applications. Noted usage levels range from 0.2-30%.

Fructan references

  •, Accessed January 2023, ePublication
  • SpecialChem (supplier info), Accessed January 2023, ePublication
  • Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology, September 2022, pages 1,373-1,381
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, January 2021, pages 769-784
  • Polish Journal of Chemical Technology, 2019, pages 44-49
  • PLOS One, July 2016, pages 1-24
  • Proceedings of the SCSK (Society of Cosmetic Scientists of Korea) Conference, 2003, pages 700-718

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not rated

We have not yet rated this ingredient because we have not had a chance to review the research on it.