Fermented Skincare: What Is It and Is It Good for Your Skin?

Fermentation, the process that turns grapes into wine and cabbage into sauerkraut, has recently been a trending topic regarding skincare. Fermentation breaks down natural ingredients into smaller compounds and may make it easier for your skin to absorb the natural skin-enhancing properties. While the science of fermentation for skincare products is still new, there is some evidence of its possible benefits. This article explores fermented skincare, its benefits, ingredients, what science says about it, and more.

Key takeaways:
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    Fermented skincare is a trending topic that involves using skincare products with ingredients that have undergone a natural fermentation process.
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    Common ingredients in fermented skincare products include soybean, ginseng, skimmed milk, aloe vera, and berries.
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    Possible benefits of fermented skincare include improved skin hydration, antioxidant properties, anti-inflammatory effects, and potential anti-aging benefits.
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    While fermented skincare shows promise, its science is still relatively new.

What is fermented skincare?

The new trend of fermented skincare stems from a growing interest in Korean beauty, also known as K-beauty, which refers to the particular beauty practices of South Korea. K-beauty products typically use more natural and gentle ingredients than Western products, and many contain fermented ingredients.

Fermentation is a process that involves the use of microorganisms, such as bacteria, yeast, or molds, to break down organic substances. During fermentation, complex compounds break down into small molecules that may penetrate your skin more easily.

Another action of fermentation is the production of probiotics. You may have heard of the importance of having probiotics for your digestive system’s gut microflora. Your skin also has its microflora that may benefit from topical probiotics.

Benefits of fermented skincare

Using fermented skincare products may offer several benefits for your skin. Here are some possible advantages:

  • Balanced skin microbiome. Some fermented skincare ingredients contain probiotics or prebiotics, which can help maintain a balanced and healthy skin microbiome. A balanced microbiome is essential for skin health and may contribute to a clearer complexion.
  • Enhanced bioavailability. Fermentation breaks down larger molecules into smaller ones, making the active ingredients in skincare products more easily absorbed by your skin. This may lead to better results as the ingredients penetrate deeper into the skin layers.
  • Hydration and moisturization. Fermented skincare products often have strong moisturizing properties. This can be beneficial for dry skin types.
  • Antioxidant benefits. Many fermented ingredients are rich in antioxidants, which help neutralize free radicals that can damage the skin and lead to premature aging. Regularly using fermented skincare products may help protect the skin from environmental stressors.
  • Soothing and calming effects. Fermented skincare products can have soothing properties that can help calm irritated or sensitive skin. These products may reduce redness and inflammation, promoting a more even skin tone.

Individual skin reactions can vary, and while fermented skincare can provide many benefits, it may not be suitable for everyone.

Ingredients in fermented skin products

Here are several common ingredients found in fermented skincare products.


Fermented soybean is a rich source of hyaluronic acid, making it an excellent ingredient for boosting skin hydration and elasticity. Additionally, its high antioxidant content helps protect the skin from environmental stressors, while its properties can reduce skin discoloration and promote a more even skin tone.


Fermented ginseng offers anti-wrinkling effects that can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It can also promote a smoother and more radiant complexion. Fermented ginseng also contains anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties, making it suitable for soothing and calming sensitive or irritated skin.

Skimmed milk

Fermented skimmed milk is a natural probiotic that helps maintain the skin’s proper pH balance and improve skin hydration, keeping it moisturized and supple. The high antioxidant content in fermented skimmed milk aids in combating free radicals, promoting a healthier and more youthful complexion.

Aloe vera

Fermented aloe vera offers antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe and protect the skin. Its wound-healing capabilities contribute to faster recovery from skin irritations and injuries. Moreover, fermented aloe vera's moisturizing effect is significantly enhanced, increasing skin hydration by up to 400%, and leaving the skin supple and nourished.


Thanks to their antioxidant properties, fermented berries help neutralize free radicals and protect the skin from environmental damage. Additionally, they are known for their skin-whitening effects, helping to brighten and even out the skin tone. Their anti-aging properties may contribute to reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, promoting a more youthful and radiant complexion.

What does science say?

According to current scientific studies, fermentation changes big molecules into smaller ones, making the active ingredients easier to absorb.

Probiotic bacterial fermentation is a crucial technique in cosmetics. It can reduce the harmful effects of skincare products and help the skin absorb the good ingredients more effectively. This may lead to healthier and more radiant skin.

Some research suggests that certain fermented extracts can help protect our skin from UV damage. When probiotic bacteria ferment these extracts, they may become even more effective in combating the signs of aging.

People who tried skincare products with fermented ingredients reported positive results in 90% of cases, showing that these products can be innovative and give a competitive edge in the cosmetics market.

Research and safety

Research about fermented skin products is still limited. While there is growing interest in the benefits of fermentation in skincare, much of the existing scientific literature is relatively recent and focused on specific ingredients or formulations. There is a need for more comprehensive and long-term studies to fully understand the extent of its benefits, potential side effects, and safety.

Possible side effects may include:

  • Sensitivity to ingredients
  • Allergic reactions
  • Over exfoliation of the skin

Fermentation is a recent trending topic in skincare. The process of fermentation breaks down natural ingredients into smaller compounds, potentially making it easier for the skin to absorb their skin-enhancing properties. Popular ingredients in fermented skincare products include soybean, ginseng, skimmed milk, aloe vera, and berries. Although the science of fermented skincare products is still relatively new, there is emerging evidence of their potential benefits. As with any skincare product, it's best to do a patch test and consult a dermatologist if you have specific skin concerns or conditions.

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