Over the past five years, the brains of major cosmetic brands have become acutely aware of the importance of the skin microbiome – the ecosystem of bacteria that live on the surface of your skin and help protect it from the outside world. “We know that skin has its own natural bacteria flora, and if you can keep it intact or improve it, you can [coax] your skin does a host of other health benefits, such as soothing inflammation, helping with acne, eczema and rosacea, “says Rachel Nazarian, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York. This is where fermented ingredients come in. Continue reading. to find out how.
Fermentation produces stronger ingredients
Before we take a closer look at how fermented ingredients benefit the skin, it’s important to understand exactly what they are. “Fermentation is a process where you introduce a microbe, bacteria, or yeast into an ingredient, and the process changes the chemical structure of the ingredient, breaking it down into basic building blocks,” says Caroline Chang, MD, board-certified dermatologist at Rod Institute of Dermatology. -Ilanda. In the food world, you get foods like kimchi (or wine), but in the skin care world, you get more potent ingredients.
These “basic building blocks” include vitamins, essential minerals and amino acids in their pure form. Because they have been broken down by microbes, bacteria and yeast (in the laboratory, long before you actually apply them to your face), you are left with smaller, more concentrated molecules that are ready to work on your skin. … “Given the fact that fermentation makes the molecules smaller, they tend to be better absorbed,” says Dr. Chang. In other words, fermented versions of some of your favorite ingredients will benefit you more.
“Through this natural process, fermented skin care products typically contain higher and stronger concentrations of vitamins and antioxidants that help fight free radical damage and protect against UV damage,” says Dr. Chang. Fermentation can also produce fruit and sugar acids that exfoliate skin for a healthy glow, as well as amino acids that act as the building blocks of peptides to help fight fine lines and wrinkles.
The relationship between fermentation and the skin microbiome
Aside from the fact that they tend to provide an extensive list of potent ingredients, what’s really exciting about fermented foods is their ability to help balance the skin’s microbiome. The fermentation process produces something called postbiotics or chemical byproducts of bacteria that appear in the form of peptides, enzymes and acids. “The side effects of these chemical reactions create postbiotics, which also have anti-inflammatory effects,” says Dr. Nazaryan. “You improve your skin by creating calmer, less inflamed skin and a more intact skin barrier.” A postbiotic ingredient that you’re probably already familiar with? Derived from fermented milk, lactic acid is known to be one of the mildest chemical exfoliators money can buy.
Besides postbiotics, fermentation also leaves you probiotics, another member of the “biotic” family (which refers to “living organisms” such as bacteria) is believed to help balance the microbiome. “These are substances from the environment that help maintain the health and strength of the microorganisms that make up the skin microbiome, allowing them to do their job more efficiently,” says Tiffany Masterson, founder of Drunk Elephant. While more research is needed to confirm the effectiveness of topical probiotics, it is believed that they help make your microbiome a more welcoming home for the beneficial bacteria needed to function properly.
Fermented ingredients to look for
Since there are many different types of fermented ingredients, which one is best for your daily life depends on what kind of skin problem you want to treat.
To combat fine lines and wrinkles: amino acids
“If you have fine wrinkles, look for amino acid products to help firm your skin,” says Dr. Chang. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein (you may remember this from high school chemistry), and topical application will help build collagen beneath the surface while increasing hydration and soothing inflammation. The result, as noted by Dr. Chang, is an overall firmer and firmer complexion. Most of the amino acids in skin care come from a fermentation process, so if you see this term on the label, it’s safe to assume that you are getting all the skin-supporting properties of the fermented product.
1. Conventional Amino Acids + B5, $ 7
Photo: The OrdinaryThis serum combines ingredients already found in your skin’s natural moisturizing factors, such as amino acids and niacinamide, to enhance barrier support, balance complexion and increase elasticity. It helps to firm up the skin as well as promotes hydration and helps smooth fine lines and wrinkles throughout.
Buy now: Regular Amino Acids + B5, $ 7
2. Benton Fermentation Essence, $ 27.
Photo: Soko GlamAnything that contains two or more amino acids is called a peptide, and this enzyme is loaded with them. It is made from a fermented yeast called galactomycete enzyme filtrate., ” with a lightening and plump effect. It also contains Bifid Enzyme Lysate, another yeast enzyme that helps balance the skin microbiome and protect it from environmental factors.
In store: Benton Fermentation Essence, $ 27.
For clarification: sugar acids
While you may not realize it, many of the chemical exfoliators already used in your daily use come from fermented ingredients: alpha hydroxy acids are actually a byproduct of plant fermentation. Glycolic acid is fermented sugar, mandelic acid is from almonds, and (as mentioned) lactic acid is from milk. “If you want a brightening effect, look for products with fruit and sugar acids,” says Dr. Chang. These acids weaken the bonds between dead skin cells and the skin’s surface, knocking them down to give fresh new cells a glow.
1. Biossance Squalane + 10% Milk Anti-Aging Night Serum, $ 62.
Photo: BiossanceThis gentle exfoliating serum combines vegan lactic acid with clover to promote cell renewal and soothe stressed skin, while also trapping squalane moisture. Due to its gentle nature, it is great for all skin types, including dry, sensitive and acne-prone, and does not irritate the skin when exfoliated.
Buy now: Biossance Squalane + 10% Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum, $ 62.
2. Maelove Glycolic Acid Revitalizing Night Cream, $ 28.
Photo: MaeloveThe recipe developers at Maelove have spent years trying to create a peel that is gentle enough to be used on sensitive skin, and this night cream is the fruit of their labor. It is formulated with nourishing ingredients such as Vitamin E, Squalane, Shea Butter, Arnica and Aloe Vera and moisturizing hyaluronic acid. These ingredients, as well as glycolic acid (also known as fermented sugar), work together to improve complexion without any harsh side effects.
Buy Now: Maelove Night Renewer Glycolic Acid Cream, $ 28
To protect the environment: fermented antioxidants
Antioxidants are an important part of any daily routine because they help protect against environmental factors such as pollution and UV rays that cause free radical damage. While antioxidants in any form are great, using the fermented version can provide even more protection. “The fermentation process grows and significantly increases antioxidant compounds, especially phenols and flavonoids, by breaking down and enhancing plant or fruit material,” Masterson says. Black tea, for example, is rich in antioxidant compounds, but when it is fermented into kombucha, its antioxidant power becomes even more powerful … and this leads to skin care. “Phenols, [one of the antioxidants in black tea that increases in the fermentation process]are especially beneficial for the skin because of their broad spectrum antioxidant activity, helping to protect and prevent multiple forms of oxidative damage, ”she says.
1. Drunk Elephant Sweet Biome Fermented Sake Moisturizing Spray, $ 42.
Photo: Drunken ElephantIn creating this antioxidant-infused product, Masterson was inspired by – wait –sweat. “Sweat is full of lipids, amino acids, electrolytes and minerals that your skin barrier needs,” Masterson says. “I thought, ‘What if we make a spray that contains all these beneficial, nutritious ingredients so that it strengthens the acid mantle and also nourishes your microbiome? “” The formula combines sake (fermented rice water known to moisturize) with kombucha (a black tea enzyme rich in antioxidants) and a sodium electrolyte-laden PCA that acts as “a nutrition booster for your skin,” says Masterson. adding that “the skin recognizes the ingredients, and your acidic coat and microbiome will be healthier.” In addition to moisturizing the skin, the antioxidant properties of this product help it fight environmental factors, including blue light.
Buy Now: Drunk Elephant Sweet Biome Fermented Sake Hydrating Spray, $ 42
2. Fresh Kombucha Cleansing Treatment, $ 44.
Photo: FreshThis no-rinse cleanser has a dual function of fighting oxidative stress in the environment. First, it helps wipe away dirt and impurities from your skin (just like any good cleanser), but then also Provides powerful antioxidant protection to preserve complexion all day long. It is made from a plant extract called prebiotic insulin, which feeds the bacteria living on your skin. This helps to better balance your microbiome, which better fortifies it to be able to reflect environmental factors. The formula also features Kombucha, one of the antioxidants in the enzyme world, which helps further strengthen your skin’s defense system.