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

Priya Singh
Fact-Checker: Priya Singh
This article was last updated on: May 30, 2023
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Picture this: You’re standing in the aisle of your favorite beauty store, scouring the ingredients list on the back of a cosmetic product, and you find yourself feeling like you’re deciphering a secret code. You’re not alone – with so many complex names, it’s enough to leave anyone feeling baffled and clueless.

One such ingredient that might pop up on a cosmetic product’s label is the seemingly enigmatic Maltose. Just hearing the name, you might start thinking of the smooth aroma of malt, but that doesn’t tell you much about what it actually does for your skin.

Fret not, because this article is here to demystify the mysterious Maltose for you. We will delve into its origin, benefits, cosmetic uses, and potential side effects, shining a light on this often-overlooked ingredient. Let’s dive into the world of Maltose and learn what it has to offer in the realm of skincare and cosmetics.

What is Maltose?

In the world of cosmetics, Maltose, also known as D-Glucose and 4-O-.alpha.-D-glucopyranosyl, is a natural sugar derived from malt. This ingredient typically serves as a fragrance, moisturizing agent, and skin conditioner in skincare and cosmetic formulations.

Maltose works by attracting and retaining moisture within the skin, enhancing its hydration. The ingredient can be found in a variety of products like face creams, serums, and cleansers. Maltose concentrations vary depending on the product, but it usually presents itself as part of a wider formulation of ingredients. It is not commonly sold as a stand-alone ingredient, so you most likely won’t find a pure Maltose product to use on your skin.

Who Can Use Maltose?

Maltose is a versatile ingredient that caters to various skin types. Whether you have dry, oily, combination, or sensitive skin, Maltose can be beneficial, thanks to its moisturizing and skin-conditioning properties.

As for those who follow vegan or vegetarian lifestyles, the good news is that Maltose is a plant-derived ingredient, making it suitable for both diets. However, always check the entire list of ingredients in a product to ensure the remaining components align with your lifestyle.

When it comes to pregnant or breastfeeding women, Maltose is generally considered safe to use. But, if you have concerns or specific needs, it’s best to consult with your healthcare provider before incorporating new products containing Maltose into your skincare routine.

Maltose Skin Benefits

Maltose offers an array of skin benefits that result from its official functions as a fragrance, moisturizing agent, and skin conditioner. Here’s a breakdown of its advantages:

  • Enhanced skin hydration: Maltose is a humectant, meaning it has the ability to attract and retain water molecules. When applied to the skin, it helps increase moisture levels, thus improving skin hydration and preventing dryness.
  • Softer, smoother skin: As a skin conditioner, Maltose works to soften and smoothen the skin’s texture. Its moisturizing properties contribute to a more supple and silky complexion, making your skin feel irresistibly touchable.
  • Improvement in skin barrier function: Maltose’s hydrating ability supports the skin barrier function, which serves as the primary defense mechanism against environmental aggressors. By maintaining proper moisture levels, Maltose fortifies the skin, boosts its resilience, and reduces sensitivity.

It’s important to note that the benefits of Maltose are not permanent. To maintain its advantageous effects on the skin, you must continue using products containing Maltose as part of your skincare routine.

Maltose’s Non-active Cosmetic Uses

Maltose also plays a non-active role in cosmetic formulations. These are the non-active uses of Maltose based on the official functions:

  • Fragrance enhancement: Maltose can contribute to a product’s overall fragrance, adding a slightly sweet and pleasant scent. By incorporating Maltose into cosmetic formulations, it balances and complements other fragrant ingredients, creating a harmonious aroma.

Maltose Potential Side Effects

It’s essential to understand that side effects and reactions to any ingredient, including Maltose, can vary from person to person. This variability is due to factors like individual skin types, sensitivities, and underlying conditions. It’s important to find your skin type to ensure you’re using ingredients compatible with your specific needs.

Some potential side effects and interactions include:

  • Irritation or itching: While rare, Maltose may cause irritation or itching in some individuals, particularly those with very sensitive skin.
  • Redness or inflammation: In certain cases, Maltose might lead to redness or inflammation if your skin reacts negatively to the ingredient.

If you experience any of these side effects while using a product containing Maltose, cease its usage immediately and consult with your healthcare provider or dermatologist. They will be able to recommend a suitable alternative or offer guidance on managing the reaction.

Note that adverse reactions to Maltose are pretty rare. Generally speaking, Maltose is considered a safe and effective ingredient in cosmetic formulations.

Before incorporating new products into your skincare routine, it’s always wise to perform a patch test. Patch testing helps identify potential adverse reactions or allergies before applying a product to your face. Check out this patch-testing guide to learn how to test new skincare products safely. This small preventive measure can save you from potential discomfort and ensure the ingredients work harmoniously with your skin.

Comedogenic Rating

Maltose has a comedogenic rating of 0, meaning it is non-comedogenic. This low rating indicates that Maltose does not clog pores or contribute to breakouts. As a result, this ingredient is suitable for those who are prone to acne or breakouts. Its moisturizing and skin-conditioning properties can offer benefits without exacerbating existing skin concerns.


Navigating the world of skincare involves a certain amount of experimentation and trial and error. As you explore different ingredients and formulations, you might discover that Maltose can be an excellent addition to your skincare routine. With its active skin hydration benefits, improved texture, and non-active roles in enhancing fragrance and consistency, Maltose offers a well-rounded impact on your skin’s overall health and appearance.

Opting for products containing Maltose can be an excellent choice for those looking to enhance skin hydration and barrier function while embracing a pleasant sensory experience. Additionally, its non-comedogenic nature makes it suitable for various skin types, including acne-prone individuals.

Despite not being a headline ingredient in the skincare world, Maltose is a valuable addition to various cosmetic formulations. Its effects may not be instant, but with consistent use, you should gradually notice improvements in skin hydration, softness, and overall resilience.

Summing up, Maltose can provide immediate and long-term benefits, making it a noteworthy consideration when evaluating your skincare options. Although experimenting with new ingredients may seem daunting, exploring Maltose’s potential could lead you to uncover a secret weapon in your quest for healthier, more radiant skin.

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