You might already be familiar with the positive benefits of ingesting fermented foods like miso, sauerkraut, and kimchi—but have you ever tried fermented skincare? From lactic acid to kombucha, a growing number of Youth To The People products owe their success, in part, to these funky ingredients. Skincare devotees who don’t want to compromise on results are slathering on the universally face-friendly fermented formulas, (like the Kombucha + 11% AHA Exfoliation Power Toner and the brand new Superclay Purify + Clear Power Mask), gravitating towards their ability to minimize the overproduction of oil and balance the skin’s natural microbiome, among other things.
It makes sense, and there’s a major demand for non-toxic ingredients that deliver good on their promises without any troubling side effects.
“The fermented ingredients we use aid the skin in many ways because they are very nutrient-dense,” explains Youth To The People’s Senior Manager of Field Sales + Education, Jacob Tomás del Rosario. “These nutrients help to fortify the skin's natural protective barrier and provide vitamins and amino acids—as well as boost the performance and potency of other ingredients in the formula by breaking them down to a smaller molecule size that is more easily absorbed by the skin.”
Under controlled lab conditions, YTTP’s proprietary black tea blend is fermented into a prebiotic and probiotic-rich kombucha.
“Yeast is introduced to modify or break down the natural chemical structure of the tea, and what follows are 'postbiotics' or small metabolites that benefit all normal and healthy functions of the skin,” continues del Rosario. “These are super energizing, and help enable optimal skin health by increasing its optimal function.”
Similar to when we talk about the internal benefits that fermented foods can have on gut health, the topical application of YTTP’s fermented ingredients can have positive—and lasting—effects on the skin’s microbiome.
“Just like in the gut, the surface of the skin has a mix of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria,” says del Rosario, adding that visually, an overpopulation of ‘bad’ bacteria typically manifests as premature aging, acne, or even more lifestyle-related concerns like maskne or inflammation from popping a pimple.
“Skin issues like acne can feel like a battle on the skin, but when you add more good soldiers from fermented ingredients, you’re making less room for the bad ones to win the war,” he continues. “The probiotics in our kombucha, for example, directly help replenish the depleted side, while the prebiotics in it act as an energy source, stimulating and strengthening the healthy microbes."
But as with most good things, change won’t happen overnight.
“With something like the Kombucha + 11% AHA Exfoliation Power Toner, the skin will immediately feel more supple, and you can expect less breakouts long term as it minimizes excess sebum,” says del Rosario. “In our new Power Mask, it works overtime to ensure less congestion and further maximize the benefits of the other ingredients for continual radiance with regular use.”
And there are other fermented YTTP ingredients, too. The reishi mushroom in the Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream is fermented to provide a longer shelf life, safeguard the bioavailability of its star antioxidant, and maintain the overall health of the skin’s protective barrier and its ability to cope with irritation, dryness, redness, and fine lines and wrinkles.
There’s also lactic acid, an old-time skincare hero favored for its brightening, smoothing, and firming qualities, which works by loosening the bonds between dead skin cells to reveal an uber glow-y complexion.
“Most people have experienced topical ferments with lactic acid in skincare before, without being aware,” says del Rosario. “It’s traditionally sourced by fermenting milk—but of course we’ve come up with an exclusively vegan source at Youth To The People.”
Written by Elsa de Berker for Youth To The People