Plant extracts

Galactoarabinan at a glance

  • Complex sugar that reduces water loss from skin
  • Helps improve stability of cosmetic emulsions + enhance spreadability
  • Considered non-irritating
  • Helps boost exfoliating properties of AHAs

Galactoarabinan description

Galactoarabinan is a compelx polysaccharide composed of the sugars galactose and arabinose, hence this ingredient’s name. It’s a versatile skin care ingredient whose film-forming properties help prevent water loss. Along with hydration, it also boosts the exfoliation benefits of alpha hydroxy acids such as lactic acid, and helps improves formula stability and spread. Derived from the North American larch tree, galactoarabinan also has skin-soothing properties clinically proven to reduce signs of erythema—a fancy word for redness. Other research has shown that a mix of polysaccharides, including galactoarabinan, improves skin’s ability to tolerate retinol. The film this ingredient forms on skin is capable of reducing penetration of airborne pollutants, thus helping to protect skin from this type of environmental damage. Standard usage levels of galactoarabinan in skin care range from 0.6–5%, depending on formulary goals. It is considered safe as used in cosmetics. Note: Galactoarabinan is part of a larger group of cellulose-like polysaccharides known as arabinogalactans.

Galactoarabinan references

  • International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, July 2022, pages 546–554
  • Cosmetics, October 2020, pages 1–10; and October 2017, pages 1–16
  • Nutrition and Metabolism, April 2016, pages 1–11

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