Kombucha in Skincare: Unveiling the Anti-Aging Secret
You will be hard-pressed to find anyone excited about getting old, especially considering the physical ramifications aging has on us. Most of the effects aging has on us are beyond our control, especially since they involve internal changes as our bodies weaken from use. Unfortunately, some of the negative aspects of aging can impact our appearance and are detrimental to our confidence.
One of the main traits of aging is the development of wrinkles and other skin blemishes that seem to accentuate our age. While aging is not something to be ashamed of, most people want to reduce the cosmetic impact for as long as possible. This desire has led to several cosmetics brands launching "fountain of youth" products, claiming to reverse aging by exposing the skin to certain chemical formulas. While some of these products are viable, not everyone is eager to slather their faces with skin creams made from harsh ingredients.
Fortunately, the rise of these beauty products was concurrent with a surge in holistic care products designed to offer natural alternatives. Some natural resources are fairly simple and easy to use, whereas others are more complex and less appealing. One option that is still popular is kombucha, though not everyone is familiar with it.
Kombucha is frequently used to enhance health, but there might be other applications. Recently, people have been turning to kombucha as a skincare product despite certain skepticism. Therefore, the question of the hour is: Does kombucha have anti-aging benefits?
What is Kombucha?
If you have never had kombucha before, you might be wondering what it is. The short answer is that kombucha is a type of fermented black tea that takes on fungal characteristics when complete. The drink's appearance and preparation have earned it the name "mushroom tea" despite there being no mushroom in the drink. The key component of kombucha is a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY), which is created when the tea is fermented.
As a result, the drink is extremely pungent and has a distinct flavor that might not be ideal for those with sensitive palates. Depending on the preparation, the microbial content of kombucha can vary, but it ultimately possesses the same traits across preparations. The drink's origins are a little more complicated since we do not know when and where the drink was first created. The most likely theory is that kombucha was first created in the Bohai Sea district in China.
It initially spread to Russia and onward to Europe, eventually arriving in the United States (though the exact date is unknown). What is known is that kombucha consumption surged in the early 21st century, primarily in America, after it was marketed as a healthier alternative to beer. Kombucha is made with alcohol as part of the fermentation process, but the content is usually less than 0.5%, making it extremely weak.
However, some kombucha brands were made with alcohol levels exceeding this percentage and could generate a buzz when consumed. As of 2015, federal regulations redefined kombucha as a drink that contains less than 0.5% alcohol, making the alcoholic variant a different drink entirely. Nowadays, fermented tea cannot be marketed as kombucha if it exceeds that limit and must be identified as an alcoholic beverage.
Despite the revisions to kombucha's alcohol content, the drink remains popular with holistic enthusiasts nationwide. Its continued success is because it has been cited as a drink that improves our health. Most benefits associated with kombucha relate to internal health rather than cosmetic enhancements or anti-aging effects. Nevertheless, there is a market for kombucha as a skincare product due to some of its general benefits translating to skincare. The question is: What are they?
Kombucha Can Contain Probiotics
Kombucha's main resource is a SCOBY, which requires bacteria and yeast to coexist before the drink matures. Most people are reluctant to willingly consume bacteria because of their connection to infection and other health issues. What is overlooked is that there are bad bacteria, which contribute to the aforementioned issues, and good bacteria that our bodies need.
Probiotic organisms are an example of good bacteria, which synergize with the bacteria naturally found in our gastrointestinal system. You might not have known it before, but our stomachs are biomes where certain bacteria thrive and help keep our digestive system working. Without them, we would become sick and unable to digest food.
Unfortunately, certain health conditions or improper diet can kill these same bacteria. Probiotic organisms can reinforce the natural bacteria and protect the colony until we naturally produce more to take over our digestive health.
Typically, probiotics are acquired by eating yogurt or consuming probiotic supplements, but kombucha can be made with probiotic organisms. Probiotics contribute to the SCOBY and offer the full range of benefits associated with probiotic consumption.
The problem is that you need to look for kombucha that was specifically made using probiotics since other beneficial bacteria usually take precedence. If you can find probiotic kombucha, the next concern is how it helps skincare since you should drink it. One of the main benefits of probiotics in skincare is that they help restore our natural pH levels, which play a major role in skin health.
When our skin's pH falls out of alignment, it loses hydration and becomes vulnerable to drying and cracking. These issues contribute to the signs of aging in our skin and promote wrinkles, among other age-related blemishes.
A review of studies from 2019 concluded that probiotics improve several aspects of our skin's health by securing the pH levels. This makes probiotic supplements a viable option for maintaining our skin's health and reducing the effects of aging. Therefore, probiotic kombucha can offer pH-related benefits when ingested and keep our internal bacteria level to prevent our skin from drying out.
Kombucha Contains Antioxidants
One of the main threats to our skin is free radicals, molecules that can damage cells and cause damage in the deepest levels of our biology. The resulting oxidative damage can result in health and cosmetic issues depending on where they enter the body. Free radicals are everywhere, and exposure is extremely easy since the number of sources seems to increase annually. Fortunately, there is a way we can fight off free radicals and prevent them from causing lasting harm to our bodies.
Free radicals cause oxidative damage, meaning the effects can be repelled via antioxidant compounds. Antioxidants are another compound that has become popular in holistic care but have also earned a small place in modern medicine. Taking antioxidant supplements can protect most of our bodies from oxidative damage, but their efficacy depends on the compound's strength.
Kombucha is made with ingredients that contain powerful antioxidants, specifically the tea used as the base liquid. Tea cultivated from Camellia sinensis plants contains a powerful type of antioxidant called catechins. The most effective of the catechins in black or green tea is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG is often used to protect the body from the physical effects of free radicals and reinforce it against future damage.
Insofar as skincare is concerned, oxidative damage can harm the cells responsible for maintaining our skin and prevent it from healing properly. As a result, certain blemishes become more pronounced or manifest before their time.
Consuming kombucha made from black or green tea is an excellent source of antioxidants and can protect the skin cells. This prevents premature blemishes by ensuring the skin can repair itself with intact and fully functional cells. EGCG, in particular, is so effective that it has been synthesized and used as an ingredient in topical skincare products for years. Fortunately, drinking substances with EGCG usually provides the same effect since all cells eventually route through the body.
Kombucha Offers the Same Benefits as Tea
While this might surprise some readers, tea is more than just a relaxing drink to start the day (especially since it is caffeinated and energizes us). The tea made from C. sinensis leaves accounts for most of our tea varieties (green, black, oolong, white, and yellow). It is also one of the world's healthiest types of tea plants, especially when grown in specialized conditions to create more powerful variants.
While most kombucha is made with black tea, green tea is one of the healthiest options because it is easier on the body but provides several regenerative effects for our physical state. Even more impressive is that C. sinensis plants grown in the shade produce a more powerful cousin of green tea called matcha. Green tea has become such a popular health tool that studies were conducted to identify other benefits it might possess.
One of the more surprising branches of green tea use is its development into a skincare product. The catechins mentioned earlier are a series of polyphenols that provide myriad health and cosmetic benefits when applied properly. One of the most interesting effects discovered in this line of study is that green tea is highly effective at combatting the effects of age on our skin. One of the earliest studies of this phenomenon occurred in 2005 when a sample pool of 80 women was given topical and oral green tea regimens.
The women in the test group showed improved skin elasticity and hydration, reducing the prevalence of wrinkles and other age-related blemishes. Further studies determined that the effects extended to aging effects outside what naturally occurs as we get older.
A subsequent study in 2013 involved 24 patients who developed skin damage from sun exposure. The subjects in the test group were given topical cosmetics with green tea extract as one of the ingredients. The results showed that the cosmetics improved microrelief and moisture for the affected skin. While the skincare benefits of green tea are more pronounced when applied topically, the catechins are present when consumed as well, meaning drinking kombucha made from green tea can provide similar effects.
The Drawbacks of Kombucha
While kombucha is not predominantly a skincare tool, the ingredients can help enhance our skin's health and appearance. The health benefits typically associated with kombucha consumption are great enough for most people to make it a regular addition to their diets. Unfortunately, kombucha is not a perfect product and has certain side effects that make overconsumption a danger to our health.
Kombucha is made from fermented ingredients that promote bacterial colonization, but there is no way to make it exclusive to good bacteria. Improperly made kombucha or excess consumption increases the risk of ingesting harmful bacterial colonies. There have been instances where improperly prepared or contaminated kombucha drinks have caused serious infections in those who drank them.
The risk of excessively drinking kombucha makes constant use a bad idea if you are trying to improve your skin's health. Skincare requires regular touchups, so relying on something made with bacteria to maintain your skin might be ill-advised. Fortunately, it is still possible to take advantage of tea to reduce the effects of aging on your skin. You just need to find the right products.
Finding the Right Blend
When consumed in moderation, kombucha can be fairly beneficial to our health, but the fact remains that kombucha is a bacterial breeding ground. Overreliance on any compound can cause complications that make the initial issue seem trivial. While many of the compounds in kombucha are beneficial for skincare, you are likely better off using a skincare product focusing on the core ingredients.
Green tea is one of the main sources of kombucha's skincare benefits, and it has been refined into skincare products for years. The challenge is finding a green tea skincare product that is completely natural.
We at Teami have an unshakable love for tea, inspiring us to make it our headline product. We offer several tea blends that could be used to make your own kombucha at home, but if you are trying to protect your skin, we have something better. One of our main products is our Superfood Moisturizer, Lightweight Daily Cream, which uses matcha green tea as one of the core ingredients. It is designed to protect your skin from the effects of aging and does not carry the same risks as kombucha. We encourage you to visit our website and try it firsthand. After all, finding the right blend is a Teami effort.
Subscribe to our Newsletter
Subscribe to our newsletter and get 10% off your first purchase