What Is It?
Sorbitol is a polyalcohol. In cosmetics and personal care products, Sorbitol is used in a wide range of products including aftershave lotions, baby shampoos and hair grooming aids. Sorbitol is also used as a sugar substitute and is added to many foods.
Why Is It Used?
Sorbitol is used in cosmetics and personal care products as a Ingredients that impart a flavor or a taste to a product., and to prevent moisture loss.
Sorbitol is a naturally occurring sugar-like Alcohols are a large class of important cosmetic ingredients but only ethanol needs to be denatured to prevent it from being redirected from cosmetic applications to alcoholic beverages.. It is sweet but is poorly absorbed by the body and this makes it useful as a sugar substitute.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) includes Sorbitol on the list of direct food substances affirmed as Generally Recognized As Safe (“GRAS” is an acronym for the phrase Generally Recognized As Safe. Under sections 201(s) and 409 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act), any substance that is intentionally added to food is a food additive, that is subject to premarket review and approval by FDA, unless the substance is generally recognized, among qualified experts, as having been adequately shown to be safe under the conditions of its intended use, or unless the use of the substance is otherwise excluded from the definition of a food additive.). Sorbitol may also be used as an ingredient in Over-The-Counter (OTC) drug laxative products. The safety of Sorbitol as been assessed by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives. The review concluded that it was not necessary to limit the dietary intake of Sorbitol and related sugars.
In the Code of Federal Regulations, FDA notes that Sorbitol is used in food at levels not to exceed good manufacturing practices. A maximum level of 99% of Sorbitol may be used in hard candy and cough drops, 98% in soft candy, 30% in jams and jellies, commercial, 30% in baked goods and baking mixes, 17% in frozen dairy desserts and mixes and 12% in all other foods.
FDA also notes that products containing Sorbitol which may result in a daily ingestion of 50 grams of Sorbitol must bear the statement: “Excess consumption may have a laxative effect.“
Sorbitol may be used in cosmetics and personal care products marketed in Europe according to the general provisions of the Cosmetics Regulation of the European Union.
The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives has not specified an Acceptable Daily Intake for Sorbitol.
More Scientific Information
Sorbitol is also known as D-sorbitol, D-glucitol, sorbol and sorbit. It was first found in the ripe berries of the mountain ash tree Pyrus aucuparia. It occurs in many other berries, as well as in cherries, plums, pears, apples, seaweed and algae. It is prepared synthetically by the hydrogenation of glucose. In cosmetics and personal care products, Sorbitol is used as a flavoring agent, Ingredients that slow the loss of moisture from a product during use. and a skin conditioning agent.
Find out more about the regulation of Food Additives by the Food and Drug Administration
- Food Ingredients and Packaging
- Food Contact Substances
- Substances Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS)
- More about the regulation of over-the-counter drugs by the Food and Drug Administration OTC Drug Home Page
- Information about OTC Drug monographs
- Search the Code of Federal Regulations
- EU Cosmetics Inventory