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 treatments offered in the field of cosmetology.
What is "Xylitol" and what is its utility?
What is xylitol?
Derived from natural sources, xylitol is a sugar alcohol also known as a polyol. It is naturally produced by the human body in unlimited quantities, but is also found endogenously in certain fruits such as strawberries and in some plants like mushrooms. Recognisable by the label E967 and used in the food industry, xylitol originates from birch bark, corn cobs, as well as from the pulp of sugar cane and coconuts. Extracts from these sources contain xylan, which is transformed into xylose following an acid hydrolysis process and then hydrogenated to produce xylitol. Like the majority of polyols, including erythritol, mannitol or 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 conventional sugar, xylitol boasts numerous benefits that allow it to be adopted in medicinal care. Indeed, it replaces sugar for people with diabetes. It has properties capable of stabilising 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 available in powder or crystals similar to conventional sugar. As a simple sugar substitute, 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, particularly for those with diabetes. However, it can also be incorporated into refreshing foods such as 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.
Acting as a humectant, xylitol is used alongside glycerine 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.