Some trends have a shorter shelf life than others when it comes to beauty trends. A radiant, healthy complexion is one trend that will not go out of fashion. Fermented skincare is one of the best methods to achieve this.
Although the term “fermented” may conjure up images of sour, smelly products, many fermented skin products don’t have a pungent odour. It is possible that you are already using fermented ingredients in your routine. You may have heard this beauty buzzword. More people are realizing the importance of healthy skin and a healthy microbiome.
We reached out to Dendy Engelman, MD FACMS, FAAD for more information about fermented skincare. She is a New York City-based dermatologic surgeon. Continue reading to learn why fermented skincare products should be part of your skincare routine.
What is Fermentation?
Dr. Engelman explained that fermentation is the process by which substances are broken down and altered chemically due to the presence bacteria. Fermented foods and beverages such as yogurt, kimchi and kombucha, along with beer, are all well-known. She explains that skincare ingredients are made from “active cultures (probiotics), acids which are a byproduct of fermentations (AHAs), or substances that become more potent after they undergo fermentations (fermented antioxidants).”
Different fermented ingredients have different benefits for skin. Dr. Engelman says that they generally absorb skin better because of their smaller molecules and are also more potent due to the fermentation process. Fermented skincare has the advantage that active ingredients can go above and beyond to achieve major results.
Dr. Engelman outlines the following benefits of fermented ingredients:
Probiotics are able to kill “bad” bacteria before they can cause inflammation. Probiotics are especially beneficial in cases of acne breakouts. They signal skin cells to stop sending immune system “attack” messages, which reduces the likelihood of flare-ups. Dr. Engelman also claims that probiotics can help to rebalance skin microbiome, which means they promote good bacteria and get rid of the bad), reduce redness and improve skin tone.
2. Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), if you use chemical exfoliants may already be part of your routine. Did you know they are formed by fermentation?
These AHAs are very popular:
- Lactic acid (derived form fermented milk)
- Glycolic acid (derived mainly from fruit sugars)
- Mandelic acid (derived mainly from almonds)
Dr. Engelman explained that AHAs “break down the bonds which hold skin cells together [allowing them] remove the top layer and dead skin cells to reveal a radiant, younger, more even skin underneath.”
3. Peptides and Amino Acids
Dr. Engelman also notes that amino acids are a natural component of skincare products and are created by microorganisms during fermentation.
She says that amino acids are the essential building blocks for proteins and can be used to strengthen the skin’s barrier and improve collagen production and elasticity. If you are looking for anti-aging benefits and overall skin health, they can be a great addition in your skincare routine.
L-lysine and L-glutamate are two key amino acids worth looking out for in ingredient lists. She adds that a peptide is two or more amino acids combined, which can further enhance skincare benefits.
4. Fermented Antioxidants
Dr. Engelman also reiterates the fact that substances often become stronger after they have been fermented. She says that antioxidants provide stronger anti-aging and skin protection benefits. Antioxidants already have a wide range of benefits for skin, including protection against environmental stressors and support against early signs and aging. These effects are amplified when antioxidants undergo fermentation, such as in green tea or cabbage.
Which are the most likely to benefit from using Fermented Skincare Products?
Dr. Engelman states that fermented products are good for the skin, and everyone can benefit from them. However, there are a few skin conditions and skin types that will give you the best results.
She notes that people with sensitive skin such as acne, rosacea and hyperpigmentation, can benefit especially from fermented foods. You’ll need the right products to suit your needs. You may choose to use a probiotic microbiome-balancing product rather than a chemical exfoliant containing AHAs if your skin is very sensitive. If you are still unsure or worried about what your skin can and cannot tolerate, she suggests consulting your dermatologist.
One last note: Dr. Engelman advises that all fermented skincare products should be kept refrigerated in order to preserve their potency. To avoid premature expiration and safe addition to your skincare routine, make sure you follow all directions on the label.
Are you ready to incorporate fermented products in your skincare routine? This is our edit with the skin-friendly, dermatologist-approved ingredients we shared above.
Neogen Real Ferment Micro Mist
This essence, which is a best-seller, contains over 90% fermented ingredients. It comes in a mist. Bifida fermentation lysate increases elasticity, saccharomyces fermentation filtrate intensely moisturizes and rice ferment filtrate balances the production of sebum and enhances brightness. It also contains skincare staples such as vitamins C and E, refining Niacinamide and hydrating Hyaluronic Acid. It’s the best way to get the glass skin you want.
Then I Met You The Giving Essence
We are blown away at the skin-balancing, brightening, and hydrating powers of this Korean beauty award-winning essence. It contains 80 percent fermented ingredients including saccharomyces fermentation filtrate and galactomyces filtrate, which will result in less oil and a more radiant complexion.
PSA Heroine Mandelic & Toner for Licorice Superfood Glow Toner
PSA’s exfoliating toner includes a variety of top fermented skincare ingredients that provide countless benefits. The gentle exfoliating toner from PSA contains six percent mandelic acid and lactic acids. This blend clears dead skin cells and helps boost hydration. Probiotic kombucha helps protect against free radical damage. Radish root ferment filtrate regulates oil output. The skin texture and tone can be improved by the addition of niacinamide and licorice root antioxidants.
Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Moisturizer
This moisturizer is a new product that we think will be a hit with the cult-favorite exfoliating pad fans. This lightweight, oil-free gel moisturizer contains glycolic acid to prevent premature aging and lactic acid to improve skin texture and moisturization. Malic acid is also included to promote skin cell regeneration. BHAs do their magic on pores while ceramides and squalane replenish the skin barrier.
Youth to the People Triple Pepide + Cactus Oasis Skin Serum
Do you want to plump, firm and rejuvenate your skin? This serum is non-sticky and contains a triple bio-peptide combination that supports collagen production. Hyaluronic acid hydrates thirsty skin. This formula is easy to mix with other active ingredients, and it feels completely safe when used in combination with other serums or treatments.
Sobel Skin Rx Oligo Peptide Eye Cream
Peptides strengthen the skin barrier and promote collagen production so it makes sense to include them in your eye cream. The skin around the eyes is often the first to show signs of aging. This eye cream, which was created by Dr. Howard Sobel in NYC, contains triple oligo-peptides that help to tighten and firm the skin around this delicate area. For well-rounded benefits, hyaluronic acids boost hydration and cucumber puffs are also included.
The Nue Co Barrier Culture Moisturizer
The Nue Co, a leading supplement brand, ventured into topical skin care. We expected big things. Their Barrier Culture Moisturizer, with its stable, skin-friendly fermented components, doesn’t disappoint. This science-driven formula uses patented technology to repopulate skin microbiome, as well as peptides and moisturizing ingredients, as well balancing and niacinamide and prebiotics. What is the result? A radiant, healthy, well-nourished complexion.
Allies of Skin Probiotics Treatment Mist
After a few sprays of Allies of Skin, dullness and dehydration will be gone. This probiotic mist contains a concentrated amount of Lactobacillus ferment, which helps balance skin flora. It also includes yogurt, which soothes redness and inflammation. It also contains antioxidants such as glutathione and niacinamide, and clarifying minerals such as silver PCA and zinc PCA. These ingredients combine overtime to give you a more rejuvenated and calm complexion.
Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 1970 Exfoliating Toner
Lotion P50 is a French beauty brand that offers six different formulations. It’s a coveted product by skincare experts around the globe, including Dr. Engelman. Lotion P50 1970 is her favourite fermented skincare product, but it’s worth looking at the entire range to find the right formula for you. You might need to take some time to get used to the intense scent, but the results you will see are worth it.
Vintner’s Daughter Active Therapy Essence
The serum-oil of this natural skincare brand is well-received, but don’t overlook the fermented essence. The treatment includes the brand’s proprietary Phyto Radiance Infusion, which transforms nutrient rich whole plants into a potent topical formulation. It also contains a blend of botanicals fermented for 14 days, which increases nutrient absorption. The essence contains more than 70 active ingredients that hydrate, brighten and exfoliate your skin. These benefits will make you want to try it.
Mara Algae Retinol Face Oil
Mara, a clean beauty brand, uses algae to power their products. This results in plumper and smoother skin. Their Retinol face oil earned us a spot in this roundup due to its inclusion of all 20 known amino acids. This provides a range of anti-aging benefits and fermented green tea gives it supercharged protection from free radicals. This oil is suitable for sensitive skin who might be irritated by other retinol products. To assess your tolerance, you should slowly incorporate it into your PM routine. Avoid using it after exfoliating.
SK-II GenOptics Aura Essence Serum
Pitera is SK-II’s trademark ingredient. It is a “proprietary natural bioingredient derived from yeast fermentation.” It is rich in vitamins, minerals and amino acids that help enhance the skin’s natural cell regeneration process. The lightweight serum contains a variety of brightening ingredients, including Siberian Ginseng extract and niacinamide. Aura Complex blend, which targets UV-induced dark spot for a more even-toned skin tone, is also included. Some reviewers call it a “magical product” that can also help fade post-acne marks and freckles, making it a worthy addition to your anti-hyperpigmentation regimen.