Maltitol: What Is It, Skin Benefits, Cosmetic Uses & Side Effects

Priya Singh
Fact-Checker: Priya Singh
This article was last updated on: June 1, 2023
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Picture this: You find yourself in the cosmetics aisle, scanning the ingredient list of your favorite skincare product, trying to decode the complex scientific names. It can feel like you’re deciphering a secret message—an ode to your chemistry class days!

One such ingredient that might pop up and provoke curiosity is Maltitol. Sounds like a distant cousin of Maltesers, right? While it may not be a delicious chocolate treat, its presence in cosmetic products is just as fascinating.

In this article, we’re going to dive into the world of Maltitol, discussing its uses and benefits within the skincare realm, as well as any potential side effects.

What is Maltitol?

Maltitol is a sugar alcohol, derived from maltose, which can be found in various cosmetic and skincare products. Also known as E965 or 4-O-α-D-Glucopyranosyl-D-glucitol, this ingredient is widely used for its numerous functions: fragrance, humectant, moisturizing, and skin conditioning.

Maltitol works by attracting and retaining water within the skin’s layers, thereby maintaining skin hydration and improving its overall appearance. In cosmetics, it’s frequently incorporated into formulations that aim to boost hydration and improve skin feel. While it’s not usually available as a stand-alone product, it can be found in a wide range of skincare and cosmetic formulas.

Who Can Use Maltitol?

The good news is that Maltitol is generally suitable for all skin types, making it a versatile ingredient for cosmetic formulations. Its mild nature makes it a suitable option for individuals with sensitive skin, as it helps maintain moisture without irritating.

Moreover, Maltitol is plant-based, allowing for inclusion in vegan and vegetarian-friendly products. If you’re cautious about using animal-derived ingredients in your skincare routine, Maltitol fits the bill perfectly.

As for pregnant and breastfeeding women, Maltitol is generally considered safe to use in cosmetic products. However, it’s always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before introducing new ingredients into your skincare regimen during pregnancy or breastfeeding, just to err on the side of caution.

Maltitol Skin Benefits

Maltitol boasts a range of skin benefits, thanks to its variety of functions within cosmetic formulations. Here are the primary benefits of incorporating Maltitol into your skincare routine:

  • Hydration: As a humectant, Maltitol can attract and retain moisture within the skin. This helps keep the skin hydrated, resulting in a healthy and supple appearance. The moisture-binding capacity of Maltitol ensures that your skin remains well-nourished throughout the day, contributing to a more revitalized look.
  • Skin conditioning: Maltitol works as a skin conditioning agent, which means it helps improve the skin’s texture and overall feel. By maintaining the skin’s natural moisture balance, it prevents dryness and flakiness, thereby promoting soft, smooth, and radiant skin.
  • Moisturizing: In conjunction with its humectant properties, Maltitol can also function as a moisturizer. This means it enriches the skin with essential nutrients, preventing and repairing skin damage caused by dehydration. Using Maltitol-infused products can help strengthen the skin’s barrier and reduce water loss, keeping it healthy and well-moisturized.

It is important to note, however, that the beneficial effects of Maltitol are not permanent. To maintain these benefits, consistent use of skincare products containing this ingredient is necessary.

Maltitol’s Non-Active Cosmetic Uses

In addition to its skin-enhancing properties, Maltitol also serves several non-active functions in cosmetic formulations, which contribute to the overall appeal and efficacy of skincare products:

  • Fragrance enhancement: Maltitol can help enhance and stabilize fragrances in cosmetic products. This is particularly important for ensuring that your favorite skincare items maintain their pleasant scent throughout their shelf life.
  • Mildness: As a sugar alcohol, Maltitol boasts a gentle nature, making it an ideal ingredient for formulating products that cater to delicate or sensitive skin. Additionally, it can minimize the harshness of certain active ingredients, contributing to a more enjoyable skincare experience.

Maltitol Potential Side Effects

While Maltitol offers various benefits, it’s essential to acknowledge that side effects and reactions to this ingredient can vary from person to person. Individual skin types, sensitivities, and tolerance levels come into play when determining how each person’s skin reacts to a particular ingredient. If you’re unsure of your skin type, find your skin type to help guide you in making better skincare choices.

That being said, there are a few potential side effects and interactions to be aware of when using Maltitol:

  • Irritation: Some individuals may experience mild skin irritation, such as redness, itching, or stinging. This is not common, but it is important to be cautious if you have sensitive skin or are prone to reactions to new products.
  • Allergic reactions: In rare cases, Maltitol may cause an allergic reaction in individuals with a sensitivity to sugar alcohols. This could result in symptoms like hives, itching, or rash.

If you experience any of these side effects while using products containing Maltitol, it’s best to discontinue use and consult with a healthcare professional or dermatologist. They can help determine if Maltitol is the culprit and guide you on alternative ingredients or products that may be better suited for your skin type.

It’s worth noting that adverse reactions to Maltitol are generally rare. For most people, the ingredient is safe and effective, offering numerous skin benefits without causing harm.

To further minimize the risk of reactions, it’s crucial to perform a patch test when trying out new cosmetic products. Patch testing can help you identify any potential sensitivities or allergies to a product’s ingredients before applying it to your entire face. Check out this patch testing guide to ensure you’re introducing new skincare items into your routine safely and responsibly.

Comedogenic Rating

Maltitol’s comedogenic rating falls between 0 and 1, meaning it is primarily non-comedogenic to very low on the scale. This implies that it’s unlikely to cause clogged pores or contribute to breakouts. The gentle nature and moisturizing properties of Maltitol make it suitable for various skin types, including those prone to acne and breakouts. Its ability to maintain skin hydration without causing irritation or congestion is a valuable trait in the world of cosmetics.


Navigating the world of skincare can often feel like a journey of experimentation and trial and error. Finding the right ingredients and products that cater to your unique skin needs requires patience and persistence. In the case of Maltitol, its non-active and active effects make it a valuable addition to various cosmetic formulations, offering immediate benefits for your skin.

Individuals may choose to use products containing Maltitol due to its dual purpose—it enhances cosmetic product stability, fragrance, and mildness while also promoting hydration, moisture retention, and overall skin conditioning.

While Maltitol may not be the most talked-about ingredient in the skincare world, its diverse range of benefits warrants attention and consideration when selecting products for your daily routine. Results from using Maltitol-infused products can become apparent over time, with regular usage being key to maintaining its skin-enhancing effects.

Summing up, Maltitol is a versatile and beneficial ingredient that can play a vital role in enhancing the overall performance and results of your skincare regimen. Its multitude of benefits combined with low comedogenic and irritation potential makes it a worthy contender among the vast array of cosmetic ingredients available.

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