Extracted from birch bark, xylitol is a sweetener primarily used in food and in the medical field. Generally recommended for people with diabetes as a substitute for regular sugar, this mild sugar also finds its place among the ingredients of care products offered in the field of cosmetology.
What is "Xylitol" and what is its utility?
What is xylitol?
Naturally derived, xylitol is a sugar alcohol also known as a polyol. It is naturally produced by the human body in infinite quantities, but is also found endogenously in certain fruits like strawberries and in some plants like mushrooms. Recognizable by the label E967 and used in the food industry, xylitol traces its origins to birch bark, corn cobs, as well as sugar cane and coconut pulp. Extracts from these sources contain xylan, which is transformed into xylose through an acid hydrolysis process and then hydrogenated to produce xylitol. Like most polyols, including erythritol, mannitol, and sorbitol, xylitol imparts a refreshing taste in the mouth. It is also non-cariogenic, meaning it does not cause tooth decay.
How is xylitol used?
Typically used as a substitute for traditional sugar, xylitol has numerous benefits that make it suitable for medicinal use. Indeed, it replaces sugar for people with diabetes. It has properties capable of stabilizing blood sugar levels.
Given its caloric content of 2.4 kcal per gram, in a certain way, xylitol promotes weight loss without altering the sweet taste.
By extension, this ingredient halts the proliferation of bacteria responsible for dental cavities and bad breath. This property allows it to be included in the ingredients used to formulate oral care products, particularly toothpastes.
In its galenic form, xylitol for domestic use is offered in powder or crystals similar to conventional sugar. As a simple sugar substitute solution, this ingredient should be used following a precise dosage. Indeed, it is recommended to adhere to a maximum quantity of 50 g of xylitol per day per adult. Beyond this, xylitol can cause bloating or gastrointestinal disturbances.
In which cosmetology treatments can one find xylitol?
As previously stated, xylitol is used to replace traditional sugar in daily diets, especially for those with diabetes. However, it can also be incorporated into refreshing foods like chewing gum. In the field of cosmetology, xylitol and its derivatives, namely anhydroxylitol or xylitylglucoside, are found in dental care products, including children's toothpaste, mouthwashes, or adult toothpaste. They are also found in skincare products, such as micellar water or hydrating facial serum.
As a humectant, xylitol is used alongside glycerin to prevent skin dryness. It contributes to maintaining skin moisture by attracting water and retaining it within the epidermal cells. As a result, the skin surface remains consistently moist, supple, and smooth. The protective barrier is also strengthened.