Fermentation typically calls to mind products like kimchi or wine, but it turns out it’s just as good for your skin (if not as tasty). At its core, fermentation is a transformation process, and in fact, it’s one you might already be familiar with without even knowing it. Take, for example, lactic acid, a longtime skin-care favorite. Lactic acid is derived from fermented milk. A longtime favorite of the skin-care industry, it’s now being joined by a new wave of products that are developed by fermenting all sorts of superfoods—mushrooms, green tea, wasabi—and more, to reap the benefits of this process.
Curious to try out this latest beauty trend for yourself? First things first, the basics:
The process of fermentation is one in which microorganisms like yeast are used to break down or alter the ingredients of natural compounds. Simply put: “With fermentation, substances are broken down when in the presence of bacteria,” says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman.
Fermentation yields universally skin-friendly ingredients like probiotics and lactic acid. Lactic acid is known to be one of the gentler AHAs and is safe for sensitive skin, while probiotics, says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Sapna Palep, benefit skin’s overall health by “creating a healthy microbiome—aka the ecosystem of bacteria that lives on the skin.”
“Depending on the type of fermentation and the microorganisms, many different metabolites (postbiotics) are created naturally. Often they are rich in nutrients like vitamins, amino acids, lactic acid, polysaccharides, and beta glucans that nourish the body and the immune system,” says Alison Cutlan, founder of Biophile.
Many whole-food and plant-based ingredients can be fermented to enhance their nutrients and yield probiotics. However, “fermenting ingredients that have antimicrobial activity is a challenge because they kill off the bacteria and kill the fermentation process. Fermenting isolated compounds wouldn’t be effective or desired,” Cutlan explains.
There are a number of benefits that result from fermentation, but the three most important (at least as they relate to your skin) are increased potency, increased penetration, and increased preservation.
According to experts, ingredients are actually more powerful post-fermentation, which can potentially mean more bang for your buck in your skin-care products. Says Palep, “Just like wine, fermentation uses yeast in a natural process to secrete enzymes, which makes the natural ingredients found in fermented skin-care products more potent.”
The argument for increased penetration comes from the fact that fermentation breaks down ingredients into smaller parts. “Because of this chemical reaction, the key ingredients found in fermented skin care tend to be smaller in molecular size, so they may be able to be more readily absorbed by the skin, but the jury is still out,” Palep says. This is often referred to as making the ingredients ‘biocompatible’ or ‘bioavailable,’ a process that also assists with increased potency.
Finally, fermentation can actually increase a product’s shelf life so that you don’t risk your favorite mask or serum spoiling before you use it. “Depending on the type of fermentation, some of the metabolites created are lactic acid, organic acids, and acetic acid (vinegar) that—along with a low pH environment—prevent the growth of pathogenic bacteria,” Cutlan explains.
Though products that center around fermented ingredients are often sensitive-skin friendly (if not necessarily made with sensitive skin in mind), as with any new products you introduce to your skin, patch testing is still recommended. “Fermented products are commonly used for their anti-inflammatory and skin-calming benefits,” board-certified dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner says, noting that this makes them useful for those with inflammatory conditions like acne.
See original article here: https://coveteur.com/2020/10/22/fermented-skincare-products/