Maltose at a glance

  • A plant-derived sugar that consists of two glucose molecules
  • Hydrates via retention of moisture
  • Functions as a skin conditioning ingredient
  • Also known as maltobiose or malt sugar
  • Has skin, medical, and food applications

Maltose description

Maltose, also known as maltobiose or malt sugar, is a natural sugar that’s often derived from malt, or germinated cereal grain. As a sugar, it’s a disaccharide that’s composed of two glucose molecules bonded together. This disaccharide has food, health and skin care applications. When used in skin care, maltose serves as a humectant and skin conditioning ingredient, helping the skin to retain moisture, ultimately aiding in skin hydration. In food applications, maltose is used as a sweetener. In health applications, maltose serves as a material used to make dissolvable microneedles that deliver substances to skin. In recent studies, maltose was used to create microneedles that delivered retinal and adenosine to the skin in anti-aging procedures. Research has also suggested that hydrolysable sugars, such as maltose, when combined with anti-hyperglycemic agents can help fade hyperpigmentation and improve uneven skin tone when taken orally. Maltose is safe for use in cosmetics in concentrations between .3 and .5% per the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel.

Maltose references

  • Archives of Dermatological Research, Feb 2017, pages 217-223
  • Drug Delivery and Translational Research, Feb 2022, ePublication
  • International Journal of Toxicology, June 2019, pages 5S-38S
  • Langmuir, May 2016, pages 5124–5134
  • Principles of Organic Chemistry, 2015, pages 343-370

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

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