Isomalt at a glance

  • Polysaccharide that works as a humectant
  • Helps maintain water content in cosmetic and skin care formulas
  • In its raw form appears as a white crystalline substance
  • Often used in food applications

Isomalt description

Isomalt is a plant-derived white crystalline polysaccharide that works as a humectant when used in skin care formulas. It’s great at retaining moisture and is commonly included in cosmetics and skin care products to help keep the water present in formulas from evaporating. Food grade isomalt is a common sugar substitute used in the creation of edible items like various candies, protein powders and fruit preserves The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Panel found that isomalt is safe and non-irritating for use as currently used in cosmetics. It’s most often used as part of a blend with various plant extracts and the fatty acid lecithin. Amounts tested went as high as 50%, although much lower amounts of isomalt are used in cosmetics.

Isomalt references

  • International Journal of Toxicology, May 2019, pages 5S-38S

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.