Aging is a big deal in skincare, so every ingredient that can shield the skin against it and keep wrinkles away will always be welcomed. That’s why today’s focus stays on pro-xylane — a not-so-popular yet promising active developed by L’Oreal Laboratories you may have came across if you’re a fan of L’Oreal, SkinCeuticals or La Roche-Posay. These brands use pro-xylane in some of their best-performing products for anti-aging, just enough to convince us that is worth checking out.
So what is pro-xylane, how does it benefit the skin, and how safe is it? Does it has enough research, or is it just marketing claims? Keep reading to learn everything about pro-xylane in skincare.
What is pro-xylane?
Pro-xylane is made from the sugar molecules found in beachwood. It’s a “green chemical” formulated by L’Oreal in 2006, meaning it has natural origins, but the final product has undergone a chemical process. In skincare formulations, pro-xylane is labeled as hydroxypropyl tetrahydropyrantriol and works by promoting the production of collagen and skin’s natural moisturizers, such as hyaluronic acid. Hence, it can help slow down skin aging and attract water to the upper layer of the skin.
Benefits for skin
Technically, pro-xylane increases skin hydration, boosts collagen synthesis, and reduces aging signs. It does that by stimulating glycosaminoglycans — the main components of the extracellular matrix responsible for multiple cell functions, including retaining water and producing collagen and elastin. In fact, it’s actually thought to be the best activator of glycosaminoglycans. With more glycosaminoglycans produced by pro-xylane, the skin gets better at attracting water molecules and synthesizing collagen, translating into a more firm, supple, and hydrated complexion.
If that wasn’t enough, according to a recent study from 2017, pro-xylane also supports sebum and epidermal lipids, including squalane, free fatty acids, and glycerides. This, in turn, further improves skin moisture and fortifies the protective barrier.
Is it safe?
Pro-xylane is considered a safe-for-skin ingredient and has an low EWG hazardous score. Although it’s gentle, you should still perform a patch test to see how your skin reacts to pro-xylane. You should also not use pro-xylane during pregnancy or breastfeeding since there’s no evidence to confirm how it reacts in these cases.
How to use
Pro-xylane is often used in anti-aging and hydrating products due to its ability to support collagen and glycosaminoglycans. It delivers the best results when applied twice daily, especially if used in conjunction with other potent actives such as retinol or vitamin C.
The best pro-xylane skincare products
If you’re ready to make room for a new ingredient in your routine, below are the best pro-xylane skincare products that can revitalize and hydrate dry, cracked and aged skin.
SkinCeuticals Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier
This double-duty serum helps you fight aging signs while giving your skin a heavy dose of hydration with 10% pro-xylane, plenty of humectants, and licorice root extract. Delivering both instant and long-lasting hydration, this is the best pro-xylane product to quench your skin’s thirst.
Vichy Neovadiol Day Compensating Complex
This anti-aging cream targets all signs of menopausal skin — lack of firmness, loss of collagen, dryness, and sagging — with pro-xylane, sodium hyaluronate, and glycerin. It’s non-sticky and leaves skin soft and supple.
Lancôme Absolue The Serum
On the luxury side, Lancôme Absolue The Serum stands out. Apart from the fancy packaging, the serum is not joking with the formula. It loads an amalgam of skin hydrators, a gentle mix of exfoliating acids, and Lancôme’s proprietary blend of rose extracts, rich in antioxidants. Applying it every day is a one-way ticket to more radiance, plump skin, and better hydration.
Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Brightening & Smoothing Moisture Treatment
This cream is great if your goal is to brighten discoloration and promote an even tone since it’s formulated with vitamin C and glycolic acid. The two work together to banish dark spots, as the first targets pigment production and the other slough off the already pigmented cells. Besides, it’s also very moisturizing, thanks to glycerin and pro-xylane.
Indeed, pro-xylane packs some benefits for the skin, but does it really live up to these promises? Despite L’Oreal’s claims, this ingredient hasn’t been thoroughly studied. Compared to retinol and vitamin C, with plenty of evidence supporting their benefits, pro-xylane still lacks solid research regarding its anti-aging effects. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t effective; it’s just not enough research to prove it, so the ingredient remains questionable.
Nevertheless, medical-grade skincare brands like SkinCeuticals and La Roche-Posay actually have pro-xylane as the main selling pitch in one of their best-performance products. That should mean something, right?
- Maio, A. & Cazzola, P.. (2006). Pro-Xylane™: A “green chemistry” product to slow the skin aging.
- Sok J, Pineau N, Dalko-Csiba M, Breton L, Bernerd F. Improvement of the dermal-epidermal junction in human reconstructed skin by a new c-xylopyranoside derivative. Eur J Dermatol. 2008 May-Jun;18(3):297-302. DOI: 10.1684/ejd.2008.0392. Epub 2008 May 13. PMID: 18474459.
- Cavezza A, Boulle C, Guéguiniat A, Michaud P, Trouille S, Ricard L, Dalko-Csiba M. Synthesis of Pro-Xylane: a new biologically active C-glycoside in aqueous media. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2009 Feb 1;19(3):845-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.bmcl.2008.12.037. Epub 2008 Dec 13. PMID: 19135365.Bouloc A, Roo E, Moga A, Chadoutaud B, Zouboulis CC. A Compensating Skin Care Complex Containing Pro-xylane in Menopausal Women: Results from a Multicentre, Evaluator-blinded, Randomized Study. Acta Derm Venereol. 2017 Apr 6;97(4):541-542. doi: 10.2340/00015555-2572.
- Bouloc A, Roo E, Moga A, Chadoutaud B, Zouboulis CC. A Compensating Skin Care Complex Containing Pro-xylane in Menopausal Women: Results from a Multicentre, Evaluator-blinded, Randomized Study. Acta Derm Venereol. 2017 Apr 6;97(4):541-542. doi: 10.2340/00015555-2572.