Phytic Acid Good Humectant Hydration Evens Skin Tone Phytic Acid at a glance Found in the seeds and fibers of many types of plants When ingested, is considered an “antinutrient” in people Has antioxidant and calming capabilities when used topically Has mild exfoliant properties Deemed safe as used in cosmetics Phytic Acid description Phytic acid is a substance found in the seeds and fibers of many types of plants, including legumes, cereals, and grains. Phytic acid is interesting in that when it is ingested, it is considered to be an “antinutrient” to humans; that is, people lack the enzyme phytase needed to break phytic acid down when ingested. As phytic acid passes through the gut, it binds to minerals like calcium, zinc, and iron, making them less readily absorbed. That said, phytic acid also has strong free radical scavenging abilities, making it an excellent antioxidant, and therefore valuable for use in skin care. Studies show it also helps calm skin sensitivity, and emerging research shows it acts as an exfoliant as well. Concentrations between 2–4% are used for exfoliation where it’s often paired with more research-backed exfoliants such as salicylic acid or glycolic acid. It’s sometimes used with these and other exfoliating acids in professional-strength peels to visibly improve skin discolourations. Phytic acid has been deemed safe as used in cosmetics by the Cosmetics Ingredient Review Expert Panel. Concentrations of up to 2% may be used in leave-on products. Rinse-off products, such as eye makeup removers that may get into the eye itself, limit the concentration of phytic acid to 0.05%.