Most people probably know that fermentation is behind some of the most delicious foods and beverages that we have today — kimchi, yogurt, various kinds of cheese and bread, wine, and beer, just to name a few. However, fermentation is also a formidable presence in the skincare industry.
Various fermented ingredients like rice water, green tea, soybeans, and even various flowers making their way into products like essences, moisturizers, masks, soaps, and cleansers. We’re talking about fermented skincare products here, the latest Korean beauty trend that’s going all over the internet.
This isn’t the first time that weird but effective components have been incorporated into beauty and skincare products. However, there is one distinct advantage of fermented ingredients: due to the process itself, the final products end up having higher amounts of amino acids, antioxidants, and vitamins that benefit the skin.
One of the most popular fermented ingredients in beauty products nowadays is pitera, a clear liquid that is derived from the fermentation of sake. Pitera is the main ingredient of the Japanese beauty brand SK-II and is naturally rich in vitamins and minerals, amino acids, and organic acids that help improve the skin’s natural surface rejuvenation process. Hollywood celebrities like Cate Blanchett and Kate Bosworth also swear by pitera’s positive effects on their skin.
So what’s with the hype surrounding fermented skincare ingredients? What are the benefits of fermented skincare products? Here are a few reasons to convince you.
Your Skin Can Absorb the Nutrients Better
The molecules of the actives contained in natural ingredients have a bigger molecular size, so the skin has a harder time absorbing these nutrients.
With fermented ingredients, not only do these actives have a higher concentration, but they also have smaller molecules so the skin can easily absorb these beneficial ingredients. This is due to the very nature of the fermentation process, where microorganisms break down six-carbon glucose molecules into two molecules each of three-carbon organic acid, called pyruvic acid.
This is the same reason why fermented foods and enzymes are beneficial in digestion and nutrient absorption in the body.
Your Skin is Less Likely to be Irritated
Compared to chemical-based ingredients, natural ingredients are definitely safer. However, even some natural raw ingredients may contain substances like naturally occurring toxins that may prove to be irritating to people with allergies and sensitive skin.
Through the fermentation process, these substances and even harmful bacteria are broken down and eliminated, so the resulting products are safer and more effective. The molecules in fermented products also mimic cell functions. These broken-down molecules work in a mutually beneficial relationship with the skin, further reducing the occurrence of adverse reactions.
The Products Last Longer, Naturally
Fermented skincare ingredients don’t have preservatives like parabens added to them since these chemicals will kill off the microbes that are needed to properly facilitate fermentation. So how do these products last longer if they don’t have preservatives, considering that natural products actually have shorter shelf lives? That’s because of the presence of organic acids, which result from the fermentation process. These acids have natural antimicrobial properties, which help preserve the shelf life of these beauty products.
The absence of preservatives also further lowers the risk of skin irritation, as well as other health issues that have been associated with these chemicals.
It Helps Fight Skin Problems
When done correctly, fermentation encourages the growth of good bacteria. This is beneficial when it comes to restoring the skin’s microflora, making it more resistant to infections caused by harmful bacteria. A balanced skin microflora also helps in maintaining the correct pH balance of the skin, preventing it from becoming too oily or too dry. Conditions like psoriasis and dermatitis have also been linked to a shortage of good bacteria on the skin.
What Skincare Ingredients should I look for?
Now that you’re familiar with the benefits of fermented ingredients to your skin, the next question is what kind of ingredients you should look for. To help you out with your search, here are some ingredients that should warrant your attention.
- Rice Water. Fermented rice water has two wonderful byproducts: sake and pitera. Pitera, as earlier mentioned, is full of natural amino acids, organic acids, and vitamins that enhance the natural rejuvenation process of the skin. Rice water also helps make the skin clearer and softer and even helps minimize the appearance of pores.
- Green Tea. Topical products that contain fermented green tea are best used to help reduce inflammation, acne, and the appearance of dark under-eye circles. It’s also naturally soothing to the skin, which helps deal with redness caused by pimples or natural irritants.
- Grapes. The polyphenols in fermented grapes are potent antioxidants, which help fight skin aging by restoring collagen. They also prevent cell oxidation, which refreshes the skin and gives it a brighter appearance.
- Rose Petals. Fermented rose petals contain natural oils that lock in moisture, keeping the skin supple and glowing. Rose petals are also natural astringents, leaving the skin feeling soft and smooth, unlike conventional toners that might make your skin feel tingly and dry.
Are you ready to give fermented skincare a try? It might just be the solution that you’ve been looking for!