Who would have thought that not only fermented food that could benefit our gut's health but also fermented skincare for our skin? Fermented skincare products are not just the ordinary short-lived skincare trend; their continuous existence has proved it even after years since the trend started. It means something, right? We are about to reveal all about the goodness of fermented skincare products and what they can bring to your skincare routine.
What is fermentation?
Fermentation is a metabolic process where a microorganism's natural enzyme breaks down molecules, such as sugar, to other new substances. Fermentation has been widely used in the food industry for so many years to create our all-time favourite food or drinks such as wine, yoghurt, Kombucha, or Kimchi. Fermented food that we consume can benefit the gut flora and increase the absorption of nutrients to our body. For a long time, Korea has benefited from this fermentation process to preserve their cabbage during the wintertime and create their phenomenal dish, Kimchi. Their love for fermentation doesn't stop there; they started to use this technique in the beauty industry, where they found that it can bring additional benefits to our skin.
What are their benefits in general?
Improves the absorption of skincare
As you may already know, one of the biggest hindrances for a skincare product with a large molecular size is to absorb deep enough into our skin to be able to do its job. However, the fermentation process can break down larger sized molecules, which are not easily absorbed, into smaller pieces. The smaller molecular size can aid in absorbing the active ingredients and delivering the skin-benefiting properties to our skin.
Formation of new skin-benefiting ingredients
Fermentation does not only break down larger molecular size ingredients into smaller pieces; their by-products can at times create new substances that are beneficial for our skin. Examples of new products made from fermentation are AHA (alpha-hydroxy acids), amino acids, and antioxidants. These by-products contribute to the list of skin-benefiting properties of the raw ingredient itself.
Reduce the chance of irritation
Sometimes, some chemical compounds in a specific extract can be irritating for the particular skin type, especially if you have sensitive skin. However, fermentation can break down this irritating compound and makes the extract more beneficial and less irritating than it originally is.
However, the process of fermentation itself is a general term, and its benefits cannot be generalised for all kinds of ingredients. Some fermented ingredients such as Soy as well as Red ginseng have been scientifically proven to be extra beneficial compared to their non-fermented counterparts.
Fermented Soy can boost the production of Hyaluronic Acid on our skin, while Red Ginseng has been shown to be more beneficial in the improvement of fine lines and dark spots on ageing skin when fermented.
Are you ready to jump into the fermented skincare trend? We have curated our favourite K-beauty fermentation-inspired skincare products that are worth checking out.
BEAUTY OF JOSEON Radiance Cleansing Balm
Containing fermented grain, rice, and Soy. The perfect fermentation cocktail that could triple up the skin-benefiting properties of each of the ingredients.
ACWELL Licorice pH Balancing Toner
Acwell focused on using the most effective fermented natural ingredients from Korea, which is also commonly called "Hanbang", as star ingredients on each of their products; this toner is no exception. They highlight their fermented 10% liquorice extract in this product. This pH-balanced toner is ready to bring back the glow that your skin has been craving for.
ATRUE Pure Balancing Cleansing Oil
Atrue focuses on using their signature fermented Compagnie Colonail's premium black tea from France. The fermentation process allows them to get the most antioxidants from the tea. Who doesn't love a more potent antioxidant to keep our skin happy and healthy?
BEAUTY OF JOSEON Ginseng Essence Water
Beauty of Joseon's Ginseng Essence Water is a nourishing toner enriched with fermented Ginseng to improve skin elasticity and soothe inflamed skin better than regular Ginseng.
This lightweight serum-moisturiser hydrates skin with its fermented ingredients and star ingredient: Crystal Iceplant. If you're looking for a moisturiser with a gel texture to soothe and hydrate skin instantly, go for the Crystal Iceplant Pressed Serum.
ATRUE Real Black Tea True Active Essence
ATRUE has used its Compagnie Coloniale Black Tea to produce an anti-ageing solution against wrinkles. It has fermented the black tea to improve its anti-ageing and brightening properties, creating a potent (78.8%) essence to moisturise and improve the appearance of wrinkles.
Takeaways: The fermentation process is undoubtedly not a breakthrough technology, but its role in skincare has just started to make its appearance in the beauty industry. If you haven't tried any fermented-based skincare ingredients, you are not too late to jump in and witness its benefits for yourself. No matter your skin type and skin concern, fermented skincare products can bring the best out of your skin. Let us know your favourite fermented skincare ingredients or products.
- By Claudia Christin (@funskincare)
Seoul based Dermatology Post Graduate