We all have a favourite pastime that harnesses the power to make us feel better whenever stress or sensitivity gets the best of us. For some it’s a long, hot bubble bath. For others it’s a glass of wine to unwind. And for the most delicate of souls, it’s a classic comforting rom-com.
Well, think of beta-glucan as the experience of watching Bridget Jones’s Diary in the tub with a glass of merlot, only for your face. Yep, it’s that powerful.
The next time your face is feeling a little angry, irritated or flushed, search for beta-glucan in your skin ingredient list– it’s a superstar-status soother that will have your cranky complexion on the road to relief, fast.
We spoke to Desiree Stordahl, Senior Research and Education Manager at Paula’s Choice to find out more about this healing hero…
What is beta-glucan?
You’ve probably come across beta-glucan before in supplement form, hailed as a ‘healthy’ dietary fibre that lowers cholesterol. But when it comes to skin care, it’s best known as a soothing sensation.
“Beta-glucan is a skin-soothing ingredient, derived from oats or yeast,” says Desiree. “It’s excellent for reducing redness and other signs of skin sensitivities, and it also has antioxidant properties to counteract environmental stressors.”
Beta-glucan vs hyaluronic acid
It’s true beta-glucan has impressive moisturising properties, but it isn’t necessarily in the same category as our beloved HA like some may be led to believe.
“The two ingredients serve different functions,” says Desiree. ““Hyaluronic acid defends skin against moisture loss and helps reinforce skin’s protective barrier, whereas beta-glucan is really all about soothing the skin.”
So while hyaluronic has hydration handled, beta-glucan can work harmoniously alongside to soothe irritation and calm your complexion.
The benefits of beta-glucan in skin care
Did we mention it soothes? Jokes aside, it’s not just the optimal comfort beta-glucan provides for sensitive skin that has it raking in the compliments; its soothing properties also make it an all-star in the anti-ageing department.
“Research clearly shows that inflammation pro-ages skin, resulting in wrinkles, discolouration [and other visible signs of ageing],” says Desiree. “Beta-glucan’s soothing properties step in to help reduce that inflammation, which helps skin function more healthily and preserves its youthful qualities.”
The ingredient has also received positive reports from those receiving chemotherapy. Skin sensitivity is one of the many side-effects of the drug and some patients found products boasting beta-glucan provided a soothing alternative to their usual routine.
How to use beta-glucan in your routine
Skin can always use a dose of rejuvenating relief, so get beta-glucan on your face in a formula that has time to settle in. “It’s best in leave-on formulas, like serums or moisturisers,” says Desiree.
You’ll want to track down a topical that has a decent amount of the stuff, too – less certainly isn’t more in this scenario. “The higher up on the ingredient list the better, meaning it’s in at a high concentration,” says Desiree.
We recommend opting for a calming serum like Paula’s Choice CALM Redness Relief Repairing Serum, and giving it a good few hours to sink right in to reap all the soothing, smoothing benefits.