Sorbitol, also known as sugar alcohol, is a naturally occurring polyalcohol. It is prepared for commercial use by the hydrogenation of glucose. It is also found naturally in berries, cherries, plums, pears, seaweed, apples and algae. It is commonly used as a sugar substitute in foods, especially for diabetics. In cosmetics it is commonly used in aftershave lotions, mild soaps and baby shampoos. Sorbitol is used as a humectant and skin conditioning agent.
The FDA includes Sorbitol on the list of direct food substances affirmed as GRAS. The safety of Sorbitol was also assessed by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives, and it was concluded that it is not necessary to limit the dietary intake of Sorbitol. According to the general provisions of the Cosmetics Directive of the European Union, Sorbitol may be used in cosmetics and personal care products marketed in Europe.