People Are Using Kombucha On Their Faces Now

Full hipster skincare alert -- people are using the scoby from their kombucha on their faces.

Of course, not everyone is  across what we're talking about here.

What is a scoby, you ask?

Erm, no, that's SCOOBY. Image: Warner Bros.

Well,  scoby is actually an acronym for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast,” and it’s essentially how kombucha is made.

Gross, right?

And kombucha, for the uninitiated, is a drink produced by adding a scoby to sweetened black or green tea, then letting it ferment for between one and four weeks.

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This is a scoby. Image: Getty

The result is a fizzy product with a tangy, sweet and vinegar-like taste. Its specific flavours depend on how long it’s left to ferment, the type of tea used and the addition of other ingredients like fruit, juice or herbs.

The bacteria and yeast in the scoby break down the tea’s sugars and convert them into alcohol, carbon dioxide and acids. Fermentation also increases the concentration of probiotics -- a type of beneficial bacteria in your gut with many positive health effects.

Anyway, people are now using the scoby -- typically dense, round, rubbery and opaque with a mild vinegar-like smell -- on their faces, according to a recent US article.

Like, what the actual?

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Well, as it turns out, it kind of makes sense.

Fermented beauty is actually an emerging trend, you see. Skincare brand Weleda is one brand available here in Australia already who are harnessing fermentation -- they have a range of body washes that already utilise fermented coconut and sugar.

"Fermentation helps skin-care products enhance the beneficial properties typically attributed to natural extracts including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects,” Craig Kaffert, MD, a US dermatologist was quoted as saying.

“The most commonly cited benefits of fermented extracts in skin-care products are skin calming and brightening, as well as enhanced vascular stability.” He adds that you typically see the same skin perks with other extracts in beauty products, but “in some cases, fermentation can enhance the potency of these effects."

Makes sense then, that people see a link between fermented products and something that, well, ferments.  Putting probiotics on your skin is already a good thing, as they support the healthy microbiome and help with anti-ageing. And fermentation can make skin-care products more potent. So a scoby is just a perfect mix of the two that’d only bestow your complexion with radiance, no?

Well no.

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"I'm not aware of any evidence for using scoby to improve the quality of your skin" says consultant dermatologist and Senior Conjoint Lecturer with the University of New South Wales Dr Deshan Sebaratnam.  "There may be a transient moisturising effect or an effect similar to a mild chemical peel, but this is speculative,"

"Any product that hasn't been tested rigorously shouldn't be applied to the skin. Even products that are natural or derived from a natural process may be harmful, particularly on the delicate skin of the face. I wouldn't recommend it -- there are safer, established and tested alternatives available.

So there you have it. Drink kombucha, look into fermented beauty products available online, try out probiotic skincare like Esse. But don't confuse them just yet.

Feature image: Getty