Plant extracts

Phytosterols at a glance

  • Naturally occurring, cholesterol-like molecules
  • Found in vegetable oils such as canola and sesame
  • Soothe and moisturise skin
  • Soy phytosterols replenish + restore ageing skin

Phytosterols description

Phytosterols are naturally occurring, cholesterol-like molecules found in all plant foods; the highest concentrations are found in vegetable oils such as canola, peanut, safflower, and sesame. Overall, nuts, seeds, and legumes are excellent sources of phytosterols, both for the body and for skin. When applied topically, phytosterols can both soothe and moisturise skin. Soy phytosterols in particular can help replenish and restore aging skin, keeping it pliant and supple. The usage level of phytosterols in cosmetics typically falls between 0.5–2%; however, higher amounts may be used if desired.

Phytosterols references

  • BioMed Research International, July 2018, ePublication
  • Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, April 2017, pages 115-138
  • Nutrients, December 2016, ePublication
  • Journal of Cosmetic Science, May-June 2008, pages 217-224

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.