These days it’s all about using natural ingredients in your skincare products – while most of us are thinking of cold-pressed juices and fresh herbs, a new trend has been brewing (literally) these days: fermented skincare. While it is not a new innovation, it has started gaining traction as a skincare trend of late, thanks to the Koreans’ obsession with it.
However, in order to understand why consumers are hooked on skincare products made with the help of bacteria, we need to first talk about what fermented skincare really is and the plethora of benefits it brings to the table.
Beauty junkies worth their salt may know that Origins is one of the first few brands to launch products made from fermented ingredients. Hence, it was only natural that we got Jo Purwati, Sales and Education Manager of Origins, to share with us what fermented skincare is all about.
What is fermented skincare, and what are its benefits?
Fermentation refers to the process where a substance is further broken down into finer or simpler molecules, usually with the help of yeast, bacteria, or other microorganisms.
The result of the fermentation amplifies its original benefit – for example, wine, which is grape juice fermented with yeast, is actually packed with higher levels of antioxidants than grape juice. You can apply the same logic to fermented skincare ingredients, which means that they have a higher potency than the original ingredients before fermentation.
According to Jo, more beauty brands have been hopping on board this trend and taking their natural ingredients to a whole new level through fermentation, where they get more powerful and richer skincare products that are packed with more benefits. The most commonly cited benefits of fermented extracts in skincare products are skin calming and brightening, as well as enhanced vascular stability. You may see the same skin perks with other extracts in beauty products, but in some cases, fermentation can enhance the potency of these effects.
Another reason why skincare brands love using fermented natural ingredients is way more bio-available than other skincare ingredients due to their molecule size. When fermented elements are added to natural beauty products, the microbes break down the molecules into a smaller, more absorb-able size so that your skincare ingredients are better able to do their job, be it fighting acne or free radicals.
As consumers better understand how fermented skincare is a proven superfood for the skin, it is inevitable that this niche is gaining traction. Just as fermented foods have been increasingly lauded on their abilities to improve gut health (think yogurt and kimchi), fermented skincare ingredients improve overall skin health and appearance – little wonder then that so many skincare junkies are opting for this!
Is fermented skincare for everyone? Can it be used on sensitive skin as well?
For those of us with sensitive, acne-prone skin, you may wonder if fermented skincare can be good for you. After all, these ingredients are fermented with microorganisms like yeast and bacteria, which can sound like a recipe for acne and skin irritation.
According to dermatologists, the long fermentation process itself may create risks, but the fermented ingredients should not pose any risk to the skin.
That being said, Jo reminds us that skincare is personal and individual, so what may work for one may not necessarily work for the other. While fermented skincare is boosted as a superfood for skin, it is always important to understand your own skin needs and conditions. She recommends having a personalised consultation with a beauty advisor to ensure that you are using the most suitable products and application regime.
You are also encouraged to do a patch test before applying any new products to your face.
Best skincare products that use fermented ingredients
Origins Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins™ Mega-Mushroom Relief & Resilience Power Duo
We struggle with external aggressors everyday – these not only affect our health but also damage our skin over time (think the recent haze). To build your skin barrier and improve resiliency, the Origins Mega Mushroom Power Duo has been a constant favourite for its abilities to soothe, calm and hydrate skin instantly.
The duo consists of a serum and lotion, both of which contain power-house mushrooms, including fermented rare Chaga mushroom. For thousands of years, Chaga has been revered by many cultures and named “the gift from nature” for its many health-enhancing properties. Through the natural process of fermentation, Chaga is broken down so that it is easily absorbed into the skin and able to release its full potential to boost relief and resiliency properties. Lactobacillus, a popular probiotic ferment, is also formulated to strengthen your skin barrier and support the immune system.
The serum works great on all skin types, even oily skin; if you have drier skin or are travelling to dry climates, the lotion has a thicker consistency (that is still easily absorbed!) and keeps your skin hydrated and healthy.
Origins Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins™ Mega-Mushroom Relief Lotion retails at SGD63 for 200ml and SGD96 for 400ml, while the Serum retails at SGD138. Both are available at Origins retail stores, as well as major department and online stores, including Sephora and Lazada.
Innisfree Wrinkle Science Spot Treatment
Innisfree’s latest anti-ageing product uses Jeju sea mustard ferment extract and Jeju omega oil with antioxidant omega-3 to firm the skin and enhance the skin’s natural ability to regenerate.
Yes, you read that right – sea mustard, or seaweed, is fermented and used in this spot treatment as it contains essential fatty acids that help to improve skin elasticity, Vitamin A (a powerful antioxidant that prevents skin cell damage), as well as carbohydrates that regenerate skin cells and stimulate the skin’s ability to heal.
You are encouraged to use this daily to see improved elasticity and firmer-looking skin with the reduction of deep wrinkles in only four weeks.
Innisfree Wrinkle Science Spot Treatment retails at SGD55 in Innisfree stores.
Benton Fermentation Essence
Benton’s lightweight, quick absorbing essence packs a punch with a combination of fermented ingredients – this includes galactomyces ferment filtrate, a fermented yeast that can brighten and bring suppleness back to the skin.
Other fermented ingredients include bifida ferment lysate, EGF and ceramides. They may sound unfamiliar, but all you need to know is that they work together to target symptoms of ageing such as wrinkles, fine lines, and dryness.
It sounds incredible that a mix of ingredients broken down by yeast can give you youthful and supple skin, and judging from the multiple positive reviews that we’ve read online, it seems that this product’s claims are not far-fetched at all!
Benton Fermentation Essence retails at SGD29.90 on Shopee.
COSRX Galactomyces 95 Tone Balancing Essence
As you can tell by now, galactomyces ferment filtrate is a huge favourite in K-beauty, thanks to the fact that Korean consumers are well aware of its ability to hydrate, brighten, and smooth skin all at once. If you are also one of those who can’t get enough of this ingredient, you’ll love this essence that contains 95% galactomyces ferment filtrate!
Of course, besides being full of fermented yeast, you will also find hyaluronic acid and panthenol (these add another layer of moisture), as well as niacinamide and adenosine (work together to give you radiant and youthful skin) formulated in this customer favourite.
This essence is said to have a consistency that is lighter than gel – it glides onto skin and absorbs easily into the skin with just a few pats, making this the perfect product to use for both day and night. Remember to tap this fermented skincare product consistently everyday if you want clearer, brighter skin in no time!
Fresh Black Tea Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence
Kombucha is fermented tea that is claimed to come with a whole truckload of benefits, where it can treat several ailments relating to digestion, weight loss, bone health, and inflammation. Hence, it is little surprising that this popular essence from Fresh features the fermented tea as a key ingredient.
Fresh Black Tea Kombucha Facial Treatment uses fermented sweet black tea to hydrate your skin for 24 hours, defend your skin against pollution, and prevent premature signs of skin aging. The highly concentrated age-delay treatment is widely-raved about among users for its efficacy in smoothing the look of fine lines, refining the look of pores, and improving the elasticity of your skin.
Now who says too much tea could be bad for you?
Fresh Black Tea Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence retails at SGD45 for 50ml and SGD108 for 150ml in Sephora.
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial
Pumpkins are great for Halloween, but did you know that they are even better for your skin when fermented? We didn’t know either, not until Drunk Elephant created this mask!
T.L.C Sukari Babyfacial comes out as a beige-coloured product, thanks to the fact that it contains real Pumpkin Ferment Extract, a rich source of fatty acids, antioxidant components, and naturally occurring enzymes that aid in gentle exfoliation. Of course, there’s more to this mask than just fermented pumpkin – it comes in a 25 percent AHA/two percent BHA blend that gently exfoliates pore lining and resurfaces by removing dead skin cells.
Are we sold on applying fermented pumpkin on our faces? You bet we are!
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial retails at SGD133 on Shopee.