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PAR-2 inhibition, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, photoprotectant, moisturizing

Important Chemical Components:

Isoflavones (e.g., genistein and daidzein), phytoestrogens, vitamin E, and serine protease inhibitors, including the proteins soybean trypsin inhibitor (STI) and the Bowman-Birk inhibitor (BBI)

Origin Classification:

Soybean is a natural ingredient. Organic forms are available. Forms that have been altered in the lab to remove the estrogenic components are referred to as “active naturals.”

Personal Care Category:

Depigmenting, brightening, lightening, moisturizing, antiaging

BST Treatable with this Ingredient:



The soybean plant belongs to the pea family, Leguminosae. It contains a higher amount of oil than other legumes. Soy is usually divided into two categories: nonfermented and fermented. Nonfermented soy foods include whole dry soy beans, soy nuts, fresh green soybeans (edamame), soymilk, tofu, okara and yuba. Soymilk, also known as soy juice, soy drink or soya milk, is produced by soaking dry soybeans and grinding them with water. Soy ice cream, soy yogurt, and soy-based cheeses are derived from soymilk. Soybean cake is a by-product obtained during the processing of soybean oil. Tofu is made by coagulating soymilk with a curdling agent and then pressing the curds into blocks.

Fermented soy products include tempeh, miso, soy sauce, natto, and fermented tofu and soymilk products. Miso is produced from fermented soybeans and used as a soup base and flavoring ingredient. Soy sauce is made in a process similar to that of miso except that the paste is pressed to yield a liquid.1 The fermentation process breaks down many of the soy components, including the proteins soybean trypsin inhibitor (STI) and the Bowman-Birk inhibitor (BBI) as well as saponins, but some studies suggest that the isoflavones are spared and one found that lactic fermentation increased levels of aglycone, an important bioactive form of isoflavone.2 The important point is that there are various forms of soy and fractions of soy used in cosmeceuticals. Therefore, “soy” on the label does not provide enough information. It is necessary to look at the clinical trials using the final formulation of a soy product before making any assumptions about efficacy.


Soy is considered one of the earliest crops cultivated by humans, dating back to the 11th century BCE in Northern China. In North America, the first soybean plants emerged in the 1700s.3 In the United States, the earliest terminology for soy oil was “Chinese bean oil” by Roelofsen in 1894.4 The expression “soy oil” was first used by Jordan in 1918, but it was not widely adopted until the 1940s.4 In the early 1940s, the protein proteinase inhibitors STI and BBI were isolated from soybeans.5 Today, soy is one of the most commonly used ingredients in cosmeceutical moisturizers as well as extremely popular worldwide in foods, beverages, food additives, and livestock feed.6...

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