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Fermented Ingredients in Korean Skincare

14 Mar 2018
by S. Safa

If you’ve ever scrolled through our webstore and read our product descriptions, you might have noticed that a fair amount of products contain fermented ingredients. The other day this actually made me think of how I don’t know many Western skincare products that contain fermented ingredients. The ones that I do know (e.g. Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair) fall in the high end-luxury category and tend to be really pricey.
There’s a real disparity between Korean skincare products and Western skincare products in fermented ingredients. Not only in quantity, but also in price. Korean fermented skincare products fly off the shelves and are typically a lot more affordable than Western fermented skincare products. I think that in time the Western skincare market will follow (as usual), but for now, if you’re looking for fermented skincare on a budget, your best choice is to opt for Korean skincare.

I think a lot of us read ‘fermented’ and just think ‘owh ok, interesting’ without exactly knowing what it is and what it means. I had a general gist of what fermentation was from high school, but I decided to research it a little more to understand what I’m putting on my face. So today I want to share the knowledge and wisdom I acquired during my research on fermented skincare. What are fermented ingredients? Why are they so popular? What benefits do they have on skin? Why would I put yeast and bacteria on my skin? Keep reading to find out!


What is Fermentation?

Let’s start with the definition. I think most of us have some idea about what fermentation is. Beer, wine, curd, cheese, and yoghurt are all products of fermentation. But what is the exact definition of fermentation? Fermentation is the chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeast, or other microorganisms in absence of oxygen. (I know, very fascinating :p).
In wine for example, yeasts transform sugars present in grape juice into alcohol. Likewise in skincare, yeasts break down active ingredients into smaller molecules, resulting in nutrients and minerals that are far more rapidly absorbed into the skin. In addition, the fermentation process also creates skin-beneficial antioxidants and amino acids. So this is how fermentation boosts skincare products and makes them more potent and effective.


Benefits of Fermented Ingredients on the Skin

So what are the benefits of fermented ingredients on skin?

1. Quicker & Easier Absorption
Many active ingredients in skincare products are too large in molecular size to be absorbed effectively by the skin. Through fermentation, microorganisms break down these molecules into smaller sizes, which increases their absorption by the skin.

2. New Nutrients & Increased Nutritional Value
The fermentation process produces new amino acids, peptides, and antioxidants to help nourish and renew the skin. In this way, natural ingredients commonly used in cosmetics—like milk, fruit, vegetable, and herb extracts—increase in their nutritional value and efficacy.

3. Reduced Chance of Skin-Irritation
Natural raw ingredients sometimes contain toxic substances like heavy metals and pesticides that can irritate the skin. These harmful substances are neutralized through fermentation, making the products safer and more suitable for sensitive skin. Also, fermentation using yeast (good microorganisms) leads to the creation of substances that prevent the growth of harmful microorganisms. This means fewer preservatives are needed, which eliminates irritation that can be associated with them.

4. Skin Protection
Fermented ingredients eliminate harmful bacteria that can cause acne and irritation. As a result, fermented products strengthen the skin’s immunity and help to reduce inflammation and break outs on the skin.


In Conclusion

Using fermented products is a clever way to increase your skincare’s efficacy. The fermentation process increases the amount of nutrients in skincare products and simultaneously enhances their absorption. The good microorganisms used for the fermentation process reduce the chance of irritation and strengthen your skin’s protective barrier. If you haven't tried any fermented products already, I highly recommend you trying them. You won't regret it!

See you next week!


Soha Safa
15 Mar 2018
2 of my favorites are the Missha The First Treatment Intensive Moist, and the Missha Night Repair Science Activator Ampoule. As for brands, Whamisa do excellent products. All of their products are fermented, so you have loads to choose from. I hope that was useful!
14 Mar 2018
What fermented products/brands (in your shop) can you recommend?
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