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Originally a Korean beauty trend, fermented skin care can reduce the signs of aging while treating skin gently. Just as yogurt, kimchi, and kombucha promote healthy gut bacteria, fermented fruit, plants, and tea in skincare products can promote a healthy skin biome. Harnessing the power of fermentation also replaces traditional preservatives and increases the shelf life of beauty products.
Did You Know?
Fermented ingredients can increase the shelf life of beauty products without the use of chemical preservatives.
“Fermented ingredients can increase hydration and boost the performance of the actives by breaking their molecule size down, helping them to absorb better,” says Holly Harding, INHC, AADP, creator of O’o Hawaii skincare products, which feature fermented radish root. “Fermented ingredients also preserve the product, and help crowd out bad bacteria that can cause dull or acne-ridden skin.”
In addition to creating antimicrobial organisms, fermentation produces antioxidants, peptides, and amino acids that hydrate, increase antiwrinkle collagen synthesis, reduce inflammation, strengthen the skin barrier, and help maintain normal skin pH. Popular fermented ingredients include apples, berries, pumpkin, radish root, seaweed, black tea, and yeast.
“Radish root is fermented with the microorganism Leuconostoc, a bacteria from lactic acid,” says Harding. “Small amounts are used in skincare products to protect them from harmful substances that can contaminate the product.”
As the trend of fermented beauty products catches on, look for scientists to discover even more benefits from fermenting different ingredients.
1. Revive dry and aging skin
With MyChelle Dermaceuticals Deep Repair Cream. Fermented black tea, rich in polyphenols and vitamin B, improves skin’s tone and texture. Thermus thermophilus ferment, a bacterium found in the muddy waters near volcanic areas, protects collagen, shields skin from UV damage, and prevents moisture loss. Rosehip and black currant oils add intense hydration.
2. Balance your scalp and hair’s biome
With just-launched Avalon Organics Smooth Shine Apple Cider Vinegar Finishing Rinse. Apple cider vinegar—made from fermented apples—lowers the pH level of the scalp and hair to ensure new hair growth, removes dulling oils and product buildup, and adds shine. Use this rinse as the final step after washing and conditioning hair.
3. Support your skin’s ecosystem
With Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotic Kampuku Beauty Bar. Fermented extracts of apricot, wild vine, Chinese matrimony, mulberry, sea tangle, Chinese cabbage, oleaster, plum, wild strawberry, loquat, mugwort, brown seaweed, shiitake mushroom, and Chinese bayberry strengthen the skin. This gentle face and body soap also balances skin’s pH, prevents harmful bacterial growth, and moisturizes.
4. Clear blemishes and even skin tone
With Alaffia Neem Turmeric Facial Mist with Yarrow & Lotus. Anti-inflammatory fermented turmeric calms pores and reduces acne. Antibacterial neem also treats acne, while stimulating collagen production. Astringent yarrow controls oily skin and acne and tightens skin. Regenerative algae tones and restores skin’s protective layers. Mist face after cleansing or anytime to refresh.
5. Gently remove makeup, and cleanse and tone your skin
With Pacifica Rose Kombucha Flower Powered Face Wash. Antioxidant-rich fermented black tea in this light, foaming cleanser helps balance and protect the skin. Rose extract, as well as argan and olive oils, helps calm and moisturize skin. It’s formulated without SLS, sulfates, parabens, and petroleum.