When we hear the word fermented, our thoughts often turn to foods such as sauerkraut or kimchi. They’re known to include probiotics, to help keep our guts happy.
But what about fermented ingredients in beauty products? Is it just a trend, or does it really work for your skin? Keep reading to find out more about this popular skincare trend.
What is fermented skincare?
The popularity of fermented skincare is a trend that began in Korea, that has now appeared in the West. To create fermented skincare, laboratories use microorganisms to breakdown ingredients and change them into different compounds. These compounds are made from natural ingredients, such as sea kelp or ginseng.
An additional plus of fermented skincare ingredients is that it increases the shelf-life of a product as many of the byproducts of the fermentation process are antibacterial and antifungal. In turn, this decreases the need for preservatives, which are known to cause skin irritation for some individuals. For those with sensitive skin, products that contain lactobacillus ferment work well, as it has a soothing effect.
How do fermented skincare ingredients work?
When a skincare ingredient is fermented, it makes the natural ingredients more powerful, as it increases the density of the nutrients. It also transforms the ingredient into a substance that is more easily absorbed by the skin.
The presence of fermented ingredients in skincare products can also help to re-balance the skin’s microbiome. An unbalanced skin microbiome can cause issues such as eczema and acne, due to an increase in pathogenic bacteria, and a reduction in the numbers of good bacteria.
Different ingredients have different properties when fermented. Here are a few of them:
• Ginseng: A study published by the Journal of Medicinal Food found that fermented red ginseng increased the anti-wrinkle and whitening effects of the ingredient.
• Sea-kelp: When fermented, sea-kelp is soothing and moisturizing. It also contains anti-oxidants that help to protect the skin from free radicals. Additionally, this ingredient has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that work to reduce redness.
• Oils: Many types of oil are used in skincare, such as olive oil and soybean oil. When fermented, they penetrate the skin more easily, increasing their moisturizing properties and making them safe for acne-prone skin.
People with all skin types would benefit from including fermented products in their skincare routines. However, their anti-inflammatory properties make them particularly useful for those with skincare problems such as acne or rosacea.