Yeast Extract



Yeast Extract at a glance

  • Most often used type in skin care is from Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • Rich source of antioxidant compounds known as flavonoids
  • Soothing properties proven to relieve skin surface discomfort
  • Supports the interruption of excess melanin synthesis

Yeast Extract description

Yeast extract may sound like a simple ingredient but is in fact a complex source of numerous beneficial compounds for skin, including antioxidant compounds known as flavonoids, B vitamins, minerals (magnesium zinc), fatty acids, plus protein and lipid enzymes. Glycolipids known as glucosylceramides can be derived from yeast and have a role in improving skin’s barrier. The type of yeast used is usually the microorganism Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Several studies have shown its value as a soothing antioxidant for skin. Torula yeast may also be used as the source for yeast extract in cosmetics. Yeast extract is also a probiotic. Studies have shown that its influence on skin’s microbiome is largely how it works to soothe skin. In essence, it helps skin’s microbiome become healthier which in turn reduces signs of sensitivity. Bioferments of yeast strains derived from soy isoflavones daidzein and genistein plus a plant-derived compounds known as apigenin were shown in vitro to interrupt a pathway that leads to the appearance of hyperpigmentation. Its usage levels in skin care range from 1–5% in rinse-off formulas and 0.045%–7% in leave-on formulations. Yeast extract is considered safe as used in cosmetics. Ongoing research is exploring the usefulness of yeast extract in the medical arena, such as experimental vaccines to prevent skin cancers.

Yeast Extract references

  • Food Technology and Biotechnology, June 2021, pages 127–136
  • Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, January 2021, pages 207–209; and August 2020, pages 2,131–2,134
  • Dermatology Online Journal, November 2020, pages 1–4
  • Journal of Food Biochemistry, Volume 43, July 2019, ePublication
  • Fermentation, May 2019, pages 1–17
  • Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, August 2015, pages 1,085–1,093

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.