This Little-Known Skincare Ingredient Might Take Over Hyaluronic Acid's Job

My introduction to the wonders of the skincare ingredient that is beta-glucan went something like this: I'm typing away at my desk and I'm over-caffeinated by one too many coffees (typical) when I receive an email about a new skincare line that I'd never heard of before called JKosmmune, and it's inspired by Korean beauty. All its products are made with naturally derived ingredients, including—you guessed it—beta-glucan. At this point, I know nothing about the skincare ingredient. I don't know where it came from, how it was derived, or even what it does. But nonetheless, I followed the spirit of unabashed Byrdie beauty editors and decided to test it out immediately.

It's been about a month since that day, and I've used beta-glucan products exclusively. I've also learned a lot along the way. For one, I now understand what beta-glucan actually is. According to dermatologist Dendy Engelman, "Beta-glucans, written as β-glucans, are polysaccharides (multiple sugars, starch, cellulose bonded together) found in yeast, bacteria, fungi, seaweed, and grains like oats." You can ingest them in food or you can apply them to your skin. I was most interested with the effects of the latter, especially after reading internet accounts of people claiming that the ingredient boosted their hydration levels and skin barrier function, along with decreasing the look of wrinkles, redness, and irritation.