Fermented beauty is a big skincare trend for 2022 – this is what it means

It’s like kombucha, but for your face.

Putting fermented ingredients onto your skin might sound counterintuitive, but there is lots of goodness to absorb when using this kind of skincare.

‘Skintellectuals’ are increasingly becoming aware of the importance of the microbiome, which is kept healthy through having an array of good bacteria on the skin.

While the pandemic may have made us germ conscious, beauty has been getting ‘dirty’.

So, why is good for the skin?

Clare Varga, head of beauty at WGSN, a trend forecasting agency, tells us: ‘Driven by the K- and J-Beauty markets, fermentation releases enzymes that break down molecules so they can better penetrate the skin, delivering powerful ingredients into the very structure of the skin or hair.

The process of fermentation cultivates the growth of beneficial bacteria such as lactic, organic and acetic acids, which act as natural preservatives.

These naturally occurring bacterias prolong the shelf life of formulas, appealing to both the sustainably minded and value-focused consumer.

While fermented beauty might sound like a new term to you, the experts of this industry have been in the know for years.

Clare adds: ‘Although it may seem like an over night success, fermented beauty is one of the oldest beauty trends around.

‘From Ancient Rome and the earliest Chinese dynasties, the beauty benefits of fermented ingredients including rice, fruits and roots have long been prized and used to nourish the body and mind.

‘What we’re seeing today is old world wisdom and science coming together, proving the results our ancestors already knew.’

According to Mintel, 28% of all skincare products launched in 2018 and 2019 contained fermented ingredients – so you might unknowingly be already using them.

It’s a figure that’s rising rapidly,’ Clare says, as it’s prominence has been accelerated by the pandemic-driven desire for products that boost health and wellness with fewer environmental concerns.

There’s plenty out there to shop, though some products with fermented ingredients aren’t necessarily shouting about it – yet.

The Fresh Kombucha Antioxidant Essence is one exception, with the fermented black tea being said to protect against damage from free radicals, which is vital for skin health.

Skin Proud Sleep Defence Calming Kombucha Overnight Mask is another newer launch, showing how kombucha being used as a stand-in word for fermentation.

Kombucha as a drink has been popular for some while, and so we’re familiar with it.

Clare says this is why the trend is being billed as ‘kombucha for the skin’.

While that might explain the buzz word, there’s more to this trend than just our interest in ‘alternative’ ingredients in beauty and food.

Clare explains: ‘There is a growing desire for potent ingredients that are clean, safe and have a longer shelf life.

‘Recent education around gut health and the benefits fermented foods and beverages have on the skin’s microbiome have accelerated the acceptance of fermented skincare and consumers are increasingly adopting this “inside out” approach to beauty.

‘Fermented beauty products are also more sustainable alternatives in manufacturing due to boosted product longevity.’

Chemical breakdown never sounded so good.

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