Fructooligosaccharides at a glance

  • An oligiosaccharide and carbohydrate made of short chains of fructose units
  • Helps skin retain moisture, promoting a plump, hydrated appearance
  • Is a prebiotic, meaning it assists in creating a balanced skin microbiome
  • Research has shown fructooligosaccharides have potential antioxidant benefits

Fructooligosaccharides description

Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) are a type of oligosaccharide and carbohydrate used in skin care for their humectant, prebiotic and potential antioxidant properties. They’re composed of short chains of 3–10 fructose units. They occur naturally in plants and are often found in garlic, sugar beets, chicory, onion and banana, among other fruits and vegetables. Although natural, fructooligosaccharides can also be synthetically created via fermentation for usage in cosmetics. As a humectant, this ingredient helps promote skin’s moisture retention for a supple feel. It further nourishes and supports a healthy skin microbiome through its prebiotic properties. Prebiotics are the food source for probiotics, the “good” bacteria that helps the body and skin’s surface retain microbial balance. Recent studies also detail the potential antioxidant activity of fructooligosaccharides. This group of ingredients are safe for use in cosmetics without concentration restrictions. Fructooligosaccharides are often included in food products for their prebiotic effects as well as their sweet flavor.

Fructooligosaccharides references

  • Cosmetic Ingredient Review, Accessed November 2022, ePublication
  • Bioactive Carbohydrates and Dietary Fibre, October 2020, ePublication
  • Journal of Food Science and Technology, February 2014, pages 341-346

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