Genistein at a glance

  • Belongs to a set of compounds known as isoflavones, which are sources of phytoestrogens
  • Commonly derived from soy
  • Has antioxidant and skin-soothing properties
  • Has been shown to visibly improve signs of ageing that occur or accelerate during menopause

Genistein description

Genistein is a naturally occurring plant ingredient that belongs to a group of compounds known as isoflavones. Isoflavones are sources of phytoestrogens, also known as plant estrogens, that are not hormones but can connect with receptor sites on skin’s surface, helping it look and feel younger. Genistein is most often derived from soy but can also be produced synthetically (Paula’s Choice Skincare uses the natural variety). As an isoflavone, genistein is a rich source of antioxidants that have impressive skin-soothing properties. Research shows that genistein has multiple benefits for skin, both when it’s ingested and used topically. Applied to skin, genistein exhibits anti-ageing effects, including reducing the visible appearance of wrinkles and helping protect skin from the effects of sun damage. It penetrates skin better than “sister” isoflavone daidzein, but research has shown that these ingredients work even better when paired in a single formula. This is due to the synergy they share as well as both having an affinity for key receptor sites on skin’s surface. Emerging studies also show genistein has a special ability to improve signs of aging and dry skin that are common during menopause. It is typically used in amounts of 0.251% for these benefits, although studies have been done looking at concentrations up to 4%.

Genistein references

  • Phytotherapy Research, March 2020, Volume 34, Issue 3, pages 435-447
  • Surgical and Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2020
  • International Journal of Women’s Dermatology, June 2019, pages 85-90
  • AAPS FarmSciTech, October 2018, Issue 19, Volume 7, pages 3029-3,039
  • Nutrients, June 2017, Volume 9, Issue 6, page 622
  • Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology, March 2015, pages 20-27
  • International Journal of Pharmaceutics, November 2008, pages 36-44
  • The Journal of Nutrition, November 2003, Volume 133, Issue 11, pages 3811S–3819S
  • Journal of Investigative Dermatology, May 2003, pages 835-841

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.


We couldn't find this in our ingredient dictionary. We log all missing ingredients and make continuous updates.

Not Rated