What is fermented skincare? Everything to know about the latest K-beauty trend 

Anti-Aging Medicine
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Anti-Aging Medicine
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Just like how fermented foods are good for gut health, fermented skincare, the latest K-beauty trend, is claimed to work wonders for the skin. Beauty lovers are exploring serum, toner, and moisturizer formulations consisting of fermented ingredients.

Fermented skincare uses microorganisms like yeast and bacteria to break down skincare ingredients in a lab into different compounds. The goal of this skin care approach is to facilitate the effective absorption of the ingredients into the skin.

There are several blends attempted in fermented ingredient formulations, such as hyaluronic acid, collagen, ginseng, seaweed, and mushrooms fermented with yeast and bacteria.


An anti-oxidant-rich K-beauty trend: All about fermented skincare

The latest trend in the ever-expansive K-beauty arena, fermented skincare, might not sound appealing at first because it brings to mind some moldy lotion to be slathered across the skin. However, it is a beneficial formulation method that has multiple benefits.

According to claims, fermented compositions in skincare work wonders for the skin, delivering anti-aging effects and overall nourishment. Additionally, skincare products formulated with fermented ingredients have a long shelf life, making them an economically viable option while aiding skin health.

Speaking to Allure about fermented skincare, Shereene Idris, MD, a New York City-based board-certified dermatologist, says

“Usually, you think of fermentation when it comes to wine [or] kimchi, but it can also be applied to skincare.”

The skincare trend’s popularity is visible, with beauty brands like Clinique incorporating fermented ingredients like fermented aloe vera in their reformulated Moisture Surge owing to its bioavailability and ease of skin penetration.

Beauty brand Glossier also joined the fermented formulation bandwagon for its products by launching their Cleanser Concentrate with grape ferment. Additionally, French skincare brand Vichy also launched Vichy Mineral 89, formulated with prebiotics to ferment hyaluronic acid, offering rapid barrier repair.

Most of the ingredients in this skincare formulation method are plant-based, which are rich in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties. The process of fermentation in skincare is beneficial as it results in probiotics and post-biotics in the form of amino acids, peptides, and other enzymes.

Products with fermented ingredients support the skin’s barrier and reduce the skin’s tendency toward sensitivity and inflammation.

Marisa Garshick, MD, a New York-based board-certified dermatologist, puts forward her views on how fermented skincare works. She states:

“Fermenting skin care increases the potency of the ingredients. Additionally, fermentation can be helpful for the skin microbiome as fermentation can result in probiotics or postbiotics in the form of peptides, acids, and enzymes, which can help to support the skin barrier and as a result reduce the potential for skin inflammation and sensitivity.”

Fermented ingredients have mellow and gentle anti-inflammatory properties that make them ideal for sensitive skin as well. These ingredients work for dry and dull skin by exfoliating the dead layer of the skin and hydrating it. Fermented ingredients are also widely used in anti-aging formulations to reveal glowing and youthful skin.


However, more scientific research is necessary to nail down how specific fermented ingredients are beneficial in skincare.

With the jury still out on how effective and safe fermented skincare is, one can try the formulations that established skincare brands have rolled out to give the latest fermented skincare trend a spin.

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