Beta Sitosterol in Skin Care

Beta-sitosterol in skin care

Beta Sitosterol is a vegan form of cholesterol found in moisturizers for dry skin. It has a few functions in skin care that cholesterol does not.

It is a moisturizing, barrier repairing ingredient like cholesterol, but also has anti-aging benefits. (2)

It can be found in products like barrier repair moisturizers and wrinkle treatment creams.

Cholesterol is one of the main lipid components of the skin barrier, so it is an important ingredient in many types of moisturizers. Beta-sitosterol serves a similar function in barrier repair.

Unfortunately, natural cholesterol can only be derived from animals; this means that products containing cholesterol are never vegan.

To find out if beta-sitosterol is the right moisturizing ingredient for your custom skin care regimen, make sure to take our quiz and shop by your skin type!

What is beta-sitosterol?

Beta-sitosterol is a synthetic form of cholesterol that is not derived from animals, meaning it is a vegan ingredient that does what cholesterol does to hydrate skin and protect the skin barrier.

Beta-sitosterol is classified as a phytosterol, meaning it's a plant -derived sterol.

Unlike cholesterol ,which is really just used for hydrating the skin and repairing the skin barrier, beta-sitosterol has uses in anti-aging products as well. (1)

Even though many people simply consider this ingredient to be nothing more than vegan cholesterol, it serves a few functions that cholesterol does not and it keeps animal products out of skin care.

If you are looking for a vegan ingredient that serves similar functions to cholesterol, look no further than the fascinating ingredient, beta-sitosterol.


Beta-sitosterol has many properties that allow it to treat dry and wrinkle-prone skin through multiple methods of action.

Studies have found that the barrier repair properties of beta-sitosterol make it a good choice for eczema treatments. (3)

There have been indications in various research trials that show notable antioxidant properties associated with beta-sitosterol. (4)

For those reasons, this ingredient can be a great choice for eczema products, anti-aging moisturizers, as well as sun damage treatments.

When you have eczema or an otherwise damaged skin barrier, your body produces more cholesterol; for that reason, beta-sitosterol is often a better choice for eczema barrier repair products than cholesterol is.


There are no common side-effects associated with the use of beta-sitosterol in skin care, and an allergy is extremely uncommon.

Beta-sitosterol is a lipid with no toxicological or mutagenic concerns.

It is a clean ingredient, and does not pose a specific risk to any particular skin type.

In other words, there is no reason to be concerned when including beta-sitosterol in your custom skin care regimen.

Is it safe?

Beta-sitosterol is considered a very safe ingredient for skin care formulations.

The Cosmetic Ingredient Review panel found in their report that beta-sitosterol and other phytosterols are safe to use for a broad range of skin concerns. (5)

Additionally, the EWG (the Environmental Working Group) gives beta-sitosterol a grade of "1" for safety and sustainability. It is a clean ingredient, safe to use during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

When both of these organizations agree that an ingredient is safe, we are inclined to agree.

If you are looking for a vegan moisturizing, antioxidant ingredient, then beta-sitosterol might be the right ingredient for you!

For dry skin

Beta-sitosterol is one of the most broadly effective moisturizers in skin care, treating dry skin from multiple angles.

This effective moisturizing ingredient hydrates the skin in four different ways: (2)

  1. Actively strengthens and repairs skin barrier
  2. Increases Hyaluronic acid synthesis which binds water to the skin
  3. It navigates aquaporin channels, allowing it to penetrate deep into the skin quickly (like glycerin)
  4. It assists in the chemical expression of the protein filaggrin which breaks down certain parts of skin cells for a moisturizing effect

Because it expresses so many mechanisms of hydrating skin, beta-sitosterol is a great ingredient in most types of moisturizers.

Many moisturizing ingredients only have one or two functions such as humectant properties, barrier repair, or occlusive textures. It is unusual, but great, for an ingredient to be this versatile for treating a specific concern.

To find the right moisturizer for your skin, take our quiz and shop by your Baumann Skin Type!

If for whatever reason you are not interested in this ingredient, some other great moisturizing ingredients to consider might be glycerinJojoba oil, Safflower oil, or Avocado oil There are dozens of kinds of moisturizers made of countless hydrating ingredients.

For wrinkle-prone skin

Antioxidants are extremely important additions to any anti-aging regimen.

One of the main causes of skin aging is free radicals on the skin causing genetic damage to cells.

Antioxidants like beta-sitosterol are able to bind and eliminate these free radicals which helps your skin stay healthy. (4)

This ingredient does not remedy all the concerns of aging, however, and would be most effective alongside a collagen stimulating ingredient like salicylic or glycolic acid.

Otherwise, retinoids, cysteamine, resveratrol, or azelaic acid are all great candidates to use alongside beta-sitosterol in anti-aging products.

For sun damage

The primary effect of sun damage on skin health is radiation based free radicals causing damage to healthy skin cells.

In the same way that beta-sitosterol binds free radicals that cause wrinkles and age-related genetic damage, it scavenges radiation based ions.

Most sunscreens contain ingredients that bind free radicals, so beta-sitosterol might have a place in many sunscreens.


Once you take our quiz and find your skin type, check out some of our favorite products containing beta-sitosterol!

Here are some great references on beta-sitosterol in skin care:

  1. Saeidnia, S., Manayi, A., Gohari, A. R., & Abdollahi, M. (2014). The story of beta-sitosterol-a review. European journal of medicinal plants, 4(5), 590.
  2. Haiyuan, Y. U., Shen, X., Liu, D., Hong, M., & Lu, Y. (2019). The protective effects of β-sitosterol and vermicularin from Thamnolia vermicularis (Sw.) Ach. against skin aging in vitro. Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências, 91.
  3. Han, N. R., Kim, H. M., & Jeong, H. J. (2014). The β-sitosterol attenuates atopic dermatitis-like skin lesions through down-regulation of TSLP. Experimental Biology and Medicine, 239(4), 454-464.
  4. Gupta, R., Sharma, A. K., Dobhal, M. P., Sharma, M. C., & Gupta, R. S. (2011). Antidiabetic and antioxidant potential of β?sitosterol in streptozotocin?induced experimental hyperglycemia. Journal of diabetes, 3(1), 29-37.
  5. chrome-extension://gphandlahdpffmccakmbngmbjnjiiahp/https://online.personalcarecouncil.org/ctfa-static/online/lists/cir-pdfs/FR651.pdf

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