Rhamnose at a glance

  • Naturally-derived prebiotic sugar (sources include buckthorn and other plants)
  • Helps facilitate healthy microbiome restoration
  • Provides soothing, hydrating, and anti-aging benefits
  • Raw material form: water-soluble crystalline powder

Rhamnose description

Rhamnose is a sugar compound that can be derived from natural sources such as buckthorn and other plants. It plays a variety of roles in skin care formulations, including functioning as a prebiotic, which serves as an energy source for skin’s probiotics to thrive and restore a healthy microbiome balance. This ultimately keeps the surface of skin and its barrier stronger in the face of environmental threats. Additionally, a study funded by L’Oreal demonstrated a 5% concentration of rhamnose had a positive impact on epidermal thickness and collagen. Independent studies are needed to validate these findings, although existing research shows promise for rhamnose as an anti-aging ingredient in other capacities (specifically in its role to inhibit advanced glycation end products, also known as AGEs, which degrade skin’s firm look). Rhamnose also exhibits skin-soothing benefits and its humectant properties boost skin’s hydration. In 2019, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel deemed rhamnose safe as used in personal care products. Their report looked at products containing up to 10% concentration. As a raw material, rhamnose is a water-soluble crystalline powder. It’s often combined with other prebiotic sugars such as fructose and various oligosaccharides.

Rhamnose references

  • UL Prospector, Accessed November 2022, ePublication
  • Comprehensive Analytical Chemistry, 2021, pages 223-265
  • International Journal of Cosmetic Science , June 2019, page 213-220
  • Beneficial Microbes, June 2014, pages 99-107
  • Archives in Gerontology and Geriatrics, June 2009, pages 151-154
  • Pathologie Biologie, September 2006, pages 420-425

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.