How Yeast Ferments Can Benefit Skin
Yeast are microorganisms classified, along with mushrooms and molds, under fungus. They can be found almost anywhere in nature, inside the intestines of animals, and on human skin. On a cellular level, yeast are quite similar to us, and can therefore be used to study biological processes that occur in humans. Even though yeast can cause certain health issues such as vaginal infections and diaper rash in some situations, there are many ways they can help us.
The Fermentation Process
In the absence of oxygen, yeast can grow by a process known as fermentation. In this process, the yeast feed on sugar and convert it into carbon dioxide gas and alcohol. While fermentation certainly benefits the yeast, it can also benefit us. Humans have exploited the fermentation process for making bread, beer, kimchi, kombucha, and many more foods and alcoholic drinks we enjoy today.
Effects of Yeast Ferments on Skin
In addition to food and drink, it turns out that yeast ferments may have a place in skincare as well.
Galactomyces fermentation filtrate (GFF), a topical fermented yeast product, was found to help protect the skin from environmental damage and maintain proper hydration by contributing to skin barrier function. In another study, GFF was also found to increase skin barrier proteins, which may especially be beneficial for certain skin conditions such as eczema that display a decrease in these proteins. Researchers also observed anti-inflammatory effects and protection of skin from damage by another fermented yeast product, called Saccharomycopsis fermentation filtrate. As such, skincare products formulated with yeast ferments may provide additional benefits.
Human gut microbiome
The human gut microbiome, the microbial community, and the molecules they produce within our gut have been discovered to play a role in the development of some inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.[5,6] Since an imbalance of the gut microbiota can lead to skin diseases, consuming fermented products can help by restoring the balance of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ microorganisms within the gut.
Table 1. Yeast byproducts and their effects
Helps protect skin against environmental damage such as dryness and increases skin barrier proteins
Inhibits epidermal damage
- Dashko S, Zhou N, Compagno C, et al. Why, when, and how did yeast evolve alcoholic fermentation? FEMS Yeast Res.2014;14(6):826-832; PMID: 24824836 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24824836.
- Effects of galactomyces ferment filtrate on epidermal barrier marker caspase-14 in human skin cells. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.62(3):AB54; PMID: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaad.2009.11.599.
- Takei K, Mitoma C, Hashimoto-Hachiya A, et al. Galactomyces fermentation filtrate prevents T helper 2-mediated reduction of filaggrin in an aryl hydrocarbon receptor-dependent manner. Clin Exp Dermatol.2015;40(7):786-793; PMID: 25786502 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25786502.
- Tsai HH, Chen YC, Lee WR, et al. Inhibition of inflammatory nitric oxide production and epidermis damages by Saccharomycopsis Ferment Filtrate. J Dermatol Sci.2006;42(3):249-257; PMID: 16533596 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16533596.
- Langan EA, Griffiths CEM, Solbach W, et al. The role of the microbiome in psoriasis: moving from disease description to treatment prediction? Br J Dermatol.2017;10.1111/bjd.16081PMID: 29071712 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29071712.
- Thomas CL, Fernandez-Penas P. The microbiome and atopic eczema: More than skin deep. Australas J Dermatol.2017;58(1):18-24; PMID: 26821151 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26821151.