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Fermented Skincare Q&A for the Beauty Obsessed

When we hear the word fermentation, we often associate it with the culinary world where food such as kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt or wine come to mind. The process of fermentation has been used since ancient times as a method to preserve food and to nourish the body. However, in recent years, the k-beauty industry has taken an interest in popularizing fermented ingredients in skincare as a way to supercharge a skincare routine to achieve healthy, glowing skin. 


We’ve got some of the most important questions and answers to help you understand how fermented skincare can affect your skin. Keep reading to find out how you can incorporate fermented skincare into your daily skincare routine.


What is fermented skincare?

Fermented skincare is the use of the fermentation process to create skincare ingredients that help to restore the skin microbiome. The fermentation process breaks down natural molecules into smaller sized molecules which makes them easier to be absorbed deeper into the skin layers. In some natural ingredients such as soy, and red ginseng, the fermented versions of these ingredients do have increased potency and bioavailability when used on the skin.


 What are the benefits of fermented skincare?


What are the benefits of fermented skincare?


Balance the skin’s pH

The surface of our skin is composed of a community of good and bad bacteria. These residents on the skin need to be in a balanced state in order for enzymatic reactions to function optimally to produce natural humectants. When it is unbalanced, pathogenic bacteria can flourish and significantly reduce the number of good bacteria, causing skin issues such as eczema, dermatitis and skin sensitivities.Fermented skincare helps restore and maintain the equilibrium of the microbiome, keeping the skin bacterias in check.


Higher potency

Depending on what type of natural ingredient that is used to create the fermented skincare product, some ingredients have the potential to contain higher concentration of actives when fermented, thus enhancing the result of the product on the skin.


Strengthen the skin barrier

The by-products of fermentation create new molecules like hyaluronic acid and peptides. These are ingredients that help the skin retain moisture and are precursors to boost the production of ceramides, the “glue” that help keep the skin barrier intact, preventing potential bacteria and pollutants from invading the skin and causing an inflammatory response.


Easily absorbed into the skin

The chemical reactions involved in the fermentation process helps break down ingredients into smaller molecular sizes, making them more available and compatible to be absorbed by the skin. In turn, it also increases the potency because of higher penetration of ingredients into the skin.


What are the most common fermented skincare ingredients in k-beauty?


Fermented Yeast

The fermentation of yeast produces two by-products which are small peptides (during the initial phase) and amino acids (during the main phase). These two ingredients support healthy aging by stimulating cellular renewal and boosting collagen synthesis. You can try this ingredient in the Dr.Ceuracle Vegan Kombucha Tea Gel Cream, a lightweight, gel-like moisturizer that contains fermented yeast called Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate.


Dr.Ceuracle Vegan Kombucha Tea Gel Cream


Fermented Soy

Fermented soy are less commonly found in skincare products but are more popular in the culinary world. Fermented soy beans such as Natto in Japanese or Doenjang in Korean are rich with collagen-inducing agents, amino acids, vitamins and more. Lactobacillus/Soymilk Ferment Filtrate is a common fermented soy seen in skincare ingredients. It is a filtrate obtained through the fermentation of soymilk by the microorganism Lactobacillus. You can find this ingredient in the Sollalla Multi Vitamin C Serum that contains 13 types of vitamin complex and 8 types of peptides to improve the skin’s elasticity and firmness.


Sollalla Multi Vitamin C Serum


Fermented Lysate

Fermented lysate are known as postbiotic skincare ingredients where dead bacteria break down the ingredients with the help of enzymes during the fermentation process to create new ingredients such as lactic acid. Some of the most common fermented lysate that you can find in skincare include ingredients such as Lactobacillus Ferment Lysate, Bifida Ferment Lysate and Saccharomyces Ferment Lysate. The combination of fermented lysate with moisturizing agents such as squalane, emollients and humectants help enhance the benefits of the fermented ingredient. The ARZTIN Regenerative Schild Cream is a deeply moisturizing cream that is made with Bifida Ferment Lysate along with Hydrolyzed Peas, Panthenol and seed oils. 


ARZTIN Regenerative Schild Cream


Fermented Tea

Fermented Tea extracted from green tea, black tea and kombucha can provide a plethora of benefits for the skin. They are known to be excellent sources of antioxidants to help fight free radical damages caused by UV radiation and environmental pollutants. If you are looking to include fermented tea into your skincare routine, the Dr.Ceuracle Vegan Kombucha Tea Essence is a bi-phasic essence that is formulated with 78% Vegan Tea Complex from black tea to nourish and hydrate the skin.


Fermented Seaweed, Rice and Dairy sources

Fermented skincare can also be sourced from natural ingredients such as seaweed, rice and dairy. The lactic acid from milk is a gentle alpha hydroxy acid that works on the surface of the skin. Fermented rice, on the other hand, has been used since ancient times in Asian culture as a staple hair treatment. In a study done in 2013, it was found that treatment from rice wine helped reduce skin barrier damage caused by UV exposure and has a significant anti-aging impact on the skin. The iUNIK Propolis Vitamin Eye Cream is an affordable option with ingredients such as fermented rice and propolis in its formulation to help brighten and hydrate the delicate skin around the eye area.


iUNIK Propolis Vitamin Eye Cream


How can I include fermented skincare products into my skincare routine?

Most skincare products found in the k-beauty world come in the form of essence, serum, toners and creams. The incorporating of fermented skincare products in a skincare routine is almost infinite. It all depends on what you are hoping to treat on your skin and the concentration of ingredients within the formulation. From the highly popular SKII facial treatment essence that uses Pitera, which is a Galactomyces ferment filtrate to Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair serum, one can find fermented skincare products within a variety of price range. For those of you on a skincare budget, the RNW Der. Renew Facial Treatment Essence is an affordable alternative to the highly priced SKII treatment essence with Lactobacillus Ferment and Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate as its main source of fermented ingredients.


Can fermented skincare products cause acne?

Fermented skincare products do not directly cause all types of acne. Acne can form as a side effect of those who are sensitive to fermented ingredients. Those suffering from fungal related acne may also see an exacerbation in acne formation when using fermented skincare products with formula compositions that include Galactomyces ferment filtrate. This is because Galactomyces triggers activity of a protein within the human body that encourages the growth of Malassezia folliculitis (a type of fungal acne). In addition, it is also important to avoid skincare products that contain fatty acids such as lauric acid, linoleic acid, myristic acid, palmitic acid and oleic acid when using fermented ingredients as they create an ideal feeding ground for bacteria that causes fungal acne to grow. However, not all fermented products are created the same. Ingredients such as bifida lysates and saccharomyces filtrates have shown to improve skin conditions in those with acne issues.


Do fermented skincare products exfoliate the skin?

One of the by-products of the fermentation process is the formation of fruit acids, which are natural gentle exfoliants that help remove the dead skin cells while revealing new ones, as well as, allowing skincare treatments to penetrate deeper into the skin. Some of these popular ingredients include lactic acid and hyaluronic acid. 


Are you ready to embrace fermented skincare in your skincare routine? 



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