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What is Fructooligosaccharides?

Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) in skincare are prebiotic carbohydrates that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria, supporting the skin's microbiome and enhancing its barrier function. They help maintain hydration, reduce irritation, and contribute to healthier, clearer skin.

How does this ingredient work in skincare?

FOS are oligosaccharides selectively fermented by beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. FOS enhances the skin barrier, improves hydration by increasing the skin's moisture retention capacity, and reduces the proliferation of harmful bacteria, thus mitigating inflammation and irritation.

How does this ingredient compare to others?

Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) in skincare nourish beneficial skin bacteria, enhancing the skin's microbiome and natural barrier. Unlike probiotics (e.g., Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium), which add live bacteria, FOS support existing beneficial bacteria. They offer hydration benefits similar to humectants like glycerin and hyaluronic acid but also strengthen the skin barrier like ceramides and niacinamide. Additionally, FOS reduces irritation indirectly by fostering a healthy microbiome, complementing soothing ingredients such as aloe vera and chamomile extract.

Potential benefits of this ingredient for the skin

Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) offer several potential benefits for the skin:

  • Enhanced Skin Microbiome: FOS serve as a food source for beneficial skin bacteria, promoting a balanced and healthy microbiome, which can protect against pathogens and reduce inflammation.
  • Improves Skin Hydration: Acting as humectants, FOS attract and retain moisture in the skin, helping to maintain a plump and hydrated complexion.
  • Strengthens Skin Barrier: By supporting the growth of beneficial bacteria, FOS enhance the skin's natural barrier function, making it more resilient to environmental stressors and reducing transepidermal water loss.
  • Reduces Irritation and Inflammation: FOS can help soothe and calm sensitive or irritated skin by promoting a healthy microbiome, which in turn reduces the presence of harmful bacteria that can cause inflammation.
  • Promotes Overall Skin Health: The prebiotic effects of FOS contribute to a balanced skin ecosystem, leading to clearer, healthier skin and potentially improving conditions such as acne, eczema, and rosacea.

Products we use this ingredient in

Purslane Prebiotic Moisturizer


  • Le Bourgot, Cindy et al. “Effects of short chain fructo-oligosaccharides on selected skin bacteria.” Scientific reports vol. 12,1 9702. 11 Jun. 2022, doi:10.1038/s41598-022-13093-5