Fermented foods are a huge trend in the foodie world right now. Just think about how much kimchi and sauerkraut you have been eating in the last few months. However, it isn’t just foodies who should be paying attention to the trend. Beauty lovers should also familiarize themselves with fermented ingredients because they are appearing in a number of skin care products, particularly in the world of Korean skin care. And fermented skin care ingredients can be just as beneficial for your face as the foods are for your gut and the best of your body.
Finding some of the ingredients that we have in our fridges and our kitchen cupboards in our beauty products is not uncommon. However, the advantage of fermented ingredients compared to non-fermented ones is that the fermentation process breaks down the molecular structure of the ingredient via a metabolic process to make it more skin-compatible and absorbed more easily, according to Alicia Yoon, the founder of popular Korean beauty site Peach & Lily.
Another benefit of fermented ingredients is that the fermentation process makes the ingredients more concentrated so you get a more potent product. If you are concerned that fermented skin care products would be too strong for you, do not worry. Alicia explains that they are great for all skin types, including sensitive skin. Fermented products may be potent, but that does not mean that they are irritating.
The third thing fermented products have in their favor is that they do not use a heating process, like numerous other skin care products. Alicia states, “Most skincare formulations are created after heating the ingredients, which could potentially lower efficacy of the active ingredients; fermented ingredients do not use the heating process, so the efficacy can be preserved.” Furthermore, fermented products usually do not contain parabens because the fermented ingredients help to preserve a product.
Before you go grab your leftover sauerkraut and start smearing it on your face, note that there are some differences between fermented skin care products and food. Alicia says that the skin doesn’t have the same micro-organisms as the stomach, so the ingredients need to be stabilized, which makes the process different. Not to mention that most of the fermented skin care products will not have such a strong smell.
In terms of skin care, Alicia explains that fruits, botanicals, herbs, and yeast are the common fermented ingredients you will see. For instance, the Cremorlab Mineral Treatment Essence, $42 has yeast while the Aromatica Calendula Soothing Relief Mask, $6 has fermented olive leaf extract. The Shangpree Bitgoa Hue Essence, $57 has fruit that has been fermented.
One of Alicia’s favorites is the aforementioned Shangpree Bitgoa line. Shangpree is a Korean spa that the Korean government has even dubbed “the model spa” and the Bitgoa delivers. Alicia says, “The Bitgoa line is a fermented skincare line that’s incredibly gentle but so efficacious. The line focuses on creating supple and more radiant skin that can really help with hyperpigmentation or dullness. I love how the line leaves skin looking dramatically healthier with the same kind of glow that one would have after a facial at Shangpree.”
If you are wondering where fermented skin care is headed, Alicia states she would like to see more masks with fermented ingredients. Alicia says, “I like the idea of having more potent active ingredients that are typically gentle enough for sensitive skin in the form of a delivery-mechanism like a sheet mask that forces the ingredients into the skin.” The Aromatica range has sheet masks that feature fermented ingredients, but who is going to say no to more sheet masks? Any reason for us to try a new sheet mask is okay with us. Bring on the fermented ingredients.
(Photos: Peach & Lily)