Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate has huge benefits in skincare and is a beloved skincare ingredient in Korea and Japan. As usual, Koreans are ahead of the game and have had fermented skincare on the market for a while, but only recently has it become popular out West. Several products have Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate as the main ingredient, but do you know what that is?
What Is Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate?
Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate is a nutrient-dense yeast created as a byproduct of fermented sake or rice wine.
The story goes that it was discovered in the 1970s in a brewery in Japan. It was noticed that although the faces of the elderly sake makers working in this production house were extremely wrinkled and worn, their hands looked very young, wrinkle-free, and smooth. Usually, when you’re hard at work—especially manual labor—your hands will get rough over time. But not these guys!
People must have been curious about the sake brewer’s young hands, so the scientists behind the SKII brand analyzed it in the lab. Eventually, they found Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, which was reborn as a skincare ingredient.
Derived from a strictly controlled natural fermentation process, PITERA™ is a clear liquid rich in vitamins, amino acids, minerals and organic acids. The fascinating combination of nutrients work to dramatically improve the skin’s natural surface rejuvenation process.sk-ii.com
Is Pitera the same as Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate?
PITERA™ is the brand’s trade name for the Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate. Galactomyces ferment filtrate is a genus, not a species. We don’t know which strain or method of filtration was used. Therefore it doesn’t mean that they are the exact same thing.
If you don’t have a cool $130 to drop on the cult-classic essence, don’t despair, Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate is widely used by other brands in a higher concentration and lower price point.
To be perfectly honest, Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate sounds terrifying. And yet, we still choose to slather it all over our skin. Amazing, right?
But, as the name suggests, it is simply the filtrate of the fermentation of a food substrate by Galactomyces microorganisms. During fermentation, Galactomyces yeast breaks down the natural ingredients added, producing new compounds beneficial to the skin (such as amino acids, organic acids, and antioxidants). So in simpler terms, the ferment filtrate is the liquid that contains all the beneficial compounds created during the fermentation process – and these compounds benefit the skin (not the yeast directly).
Putting something on your face that is also used in soy sauce, wine, miso soup, and other kinds of food is somewhat off-putting. But do not fret because, fortunately, it doesn’t involve smearing kimchi all over your face. The more you learn about this ingredient, the easier it is to understand how it works on the skin.
The Benefits of Ferments in Skincare
Fermented ingredients are pretty big in Korean skincare and have been for a long time. This is why you will see so many fermented ingredients in Hanbang products.
Before I talk about the benefits of Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate in Skincare, there is something important worth mentioning: the skin benefits of fermented ingredients have not been as thoroughly researched as other skincare ingredients. That’s not to say there isn’t peer-reviewed research available. Still, there isn’t as much of it as other skincare ingredients like vitamin A (retinoids), vitamin B (niacinamide), vitamin C, or ceramides.
The growing popularity of Hanbang ingredients in skin care products will surely open the door to more research in this area.
Strengthen the skin barrier
Like a fortress, the outermost layer of the skin called the stratum corneum, which is also known as the brick wall, which contains fatty acids and ceramides, protects the skin layer and other internal organs from external threats such as free radicals, pollution, dust, and also pathogens that can harm your health.
The vitamins and antioxidants created during fermentation help strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier. This helps keep the skin hydrated, prevent water loss, and prevent damage from environmental stress (such as UV light).
Dr. Shereene Idriss, MD, a New York City-based board-certified dermatologist, founder of Idriss Dermatology, and creator of the PillowtalkDerm skincare brand, says fermented ingredients are good for your skin because of three main reasons. Fermentation:
- “increases the potency of the active ingredient by utilizing the yeast, and through the fermentation process, that yeast secretes enzymes which make the active ingredient much more potent.”
- “enhances penetration of the active ingredient because, through fermentation, the ingredient gets broken down into smaller sizes. The smaller the size of the active ingredient, the better it can penetrate deep into your skin.”
- “increases the preservation of the active ingredient, because through fermentation a metabolite is created that prevents the growth of unwanted bacteria, therefore preserving the life of your product over time and making it safer for you to use.”
Fermentation also creates new substances (amino acids, organic acids, and antioxidants) that benefit the skin barrier. Natural ingredients can be used in skincare products to produce substances that help hydrate and nourish the skin.
Fermentation of skin care ingredients decreases the likelihood of skin sensitization. Fermentation of red ginseng results in a significant decrease in skin irritation – which the authors suggest is most likely due to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant substances (such as flavonoids) created during the fermentation process.
Fun fact – The smell of products with Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate (provided no fragrances) is quite sharp and unpleasant due to the production method (fermentation).
The Benefits Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate in Skincare
We’ve discussed the general benefits of fermented skin care products, but the effects can vary between the ingredients in the products and the microorganisms used in the fermentation process.
So what benefits does Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate have on your skin? As mentioned, the story goes that Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate was discovered in the 1970s when it was noticed that the hands of elderly sake makers did not look aged at all compared to their faces (since their hands are in contact with the sake in fermentation).
Japanese luxury brand SK-II was the first to produce skincare products containing Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate – and their Facial Treatment Essence is a favorite among skincare enthusiasts as it is extremely rich in vitamins, amino acids, minerals, and organic acids.
Galactomyces contain many B vitamins and other beneficial elements for the skin, such as iron, calcium, iodine, zinc, and folic acid.
It reduces melanin synthesis, making it a suitable ingredient for reducing hyperpigmentation. This in vitro study, for example, found that melanin in human melanocytes was decreased by 35% when treated with 5% Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate and reduced by 55% when treated with 10% Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate (both for 25 days).
Strengthens the skin barrier
It strengthens the skin barrier by up-regulating keratinocyte differentiation and activating the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), helping to protect the skin from water loss and UV damage—as shown in this study.
GFF is rich in amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and organic acids. These can help protect your skin from environmental damage, creating a healthier skin barrier. GFF also increases the production of hyaluronan in epidermal cells. Hyaluronan is also known as hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronan is the solution to dry skin and younger-looking skin. It will make your skin look more hydrated and healthier. You’ll be closer to your ultimate skin goal—glass skin!
People with dry and dull skin can benefit from using skin care products with GFF. The ingredient sounds like the ultimate solution to flaky and zombie-looking skin.
This Korean study found that treatment with an essence containing 97% Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate reduced enlarged pores and blackheads by 15% and 21%, respectively.
It tightens pores and helps reduce blackheads. According to a Korean study, it was seen that the pores were tightened by 15%, and blackheads were decreased by 21% in those who used the essence containing 90% galactomyces
Galactomysis-based products are effective for narrowing enlarged pores
Reduces sebum production
The same study found that treating the skin with an essence containing 97% Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate decreased sebum production by 64%.
Again, the same study found that Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate essence decreased the number of acne lesions by 9%.
Slows down aging
Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate has rejuvenating and toning properties. Due to its ability to penetrate the deeper layers of the skin, Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate cosmetics are ideal as anti-aging cosmetics.
Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate stimulates cell regeneration, blood circulation, and metabolic processes; due to this, it restores skin elasticity, evens out its relief, helps to reduce mimic wrinkles, and evens out the tone of the face.
Therefore, cosmetics containing Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate are suitable for owners of a dull complexion and those with pigmentation and problem skin.
Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate is also recommended for owners of rough and uneven skin (stretch marks, scars, and scars).
Why is Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate often found in first essences?
The best skincare products with Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate are first essences.
After conducting research, it was found that Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate is a “vehicle” that contributes to deeper penetration of the subsequent skincare products applied to the skin. Therefore, in Asian beauty, there is a skincare step called “first essence.” This essence is the first step in the skincare routine after cleansing and toner.
First essences also differ from traditional essences, which are thicker and similar to serums and don’t contain very high concentrations of fermented ingredients.
While the toner is mainly designed to balance the skin’s pH or provide the skin with partial hydration after washing the face, the first essence focuses more on actives. Therefore an essence is more expensive than a toner because it contains more concentrated and interesting ingredients.
First essences perfectly prepare the skin to absorb the skincare that follows. It is absorbed into the skin very quickly thanks to the lower molecular weight of the substances. First essences often contain fermented ingredients or snail slime, which have key benefits for the skin. Regular use of these products should lead to a naturally radiant skin appearance.
Is Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate Safe?
Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate is not a perfect ingredient. Although most people probably won’t encounter any problems with this ingredient, a handful of people must avoid it like the plague. And that’s people who suffer from fungal acne.
Fungal acne is a type of acne caused by yeast instead of bacteria. Also called Malassezia Folliculitis, fungal acne is caused by excessive yeast production in hair follicles. People who live in very humid areas (like me, yikes) are more likely to suffer from this because fungal acne thrives in sweat.
Many people don’t realize that they have fungal acne. It differs from regular acne because of its itchiness. For a safe diagnosis, visit a dermatologist and save yourself the stress.
Since Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate is technically a fungus, it is not recommended for people with fungal acne to use products that contain it. Applying Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate to skin with fungal acne will only encourage the production of more fungi, worsening the problem.
Therefore, anyone with sensitive skin or Malassezia-induced skin conditions must be wary of ingredients like Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate.
If you have no fungal acne or skin infections history, you can safely try out products containing Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate. It is a wonderful ingredient for the skin, worth putting an extra step into your skincare regime.
You don’t know if your skin will react positively to Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, so it’s not a product you can easily recommend or try on a whim.
You cannot find products containing 100% Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate. As it was obtained by fermentation, the product would spoil within 7-10 days without preservatives. But check the products below and see who tried!
Best Products with Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate
Because some lessons are best taught through examples, here are some fermented skincare products containing Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate. There is still a lot to be discovered in the science of fermented skincare, so experiment with some of our favorites and note any “Eureka!” moments.
We assume that you’re going to find your holy grail.
SK-II Facial Treatment Essence
SK-II Facial Treatment Essence* contains more than 90% PITERA™, a patented ingredient of SK-II. The formula of this essence has not changed in 35 years. This is the best-selling and probably the best-known product of the brand. The main task of the essence is to supply and maintain extra hydration in the skin so that it is always nourished and firm.
SK-II Facial Treatment Essence is the staple among all first essences. It was the first treatment essence that ever came out on the market and the first to raise the storm of “first essence” that swiped across the Asian and Western beauty industries. You have to try SK-II.
SK-II is indeed expensive. It retails at around $130. But even at that price, SK-II is still selling well worldwide. Its sales records tell something about the product’s quality.
After trying out the product for about two weeks, during which my skin was at its worst state when I was in my hometown last year, I must say that I finally understand where all the hype is coming from. This product, despite its funky scent (that gets less annoying over time), was effective at everything it claimed to do. It renewed and rejuvenated my skin despite my body’s sluggish metabolism, resulting in a “deceivingly” younger and brighter look. My skin was at least a tone brighter after using it. My pores also appeared smaller, my texture more refined, blackheads were lesser, and all that… in just two weeks. And it can also effectively calm and control my breakout. It is indeed a miraculous solution to all skin problems! No wonder the Chinese are calling it “the miracle water 神仙水.”
In short, I am vastly impressed, and I will keep a bottle with me all the time even though I don’t use it every day out of budget concerns.
But you have options if you don’t have a cool $130 to drop on this cult-classic first essence.
Secret Key Starting Treatment Essence Rose Edition
This is the cheapest treatment essence I have ever bought. It is a dead-end copy of SK-II Facial Treatment Essence; even the initial “Secret Key” is “SK.” The appearance, consistency, ingredients, and claims of Secret Key Starting Treatment Essence are also highly similar to SK-II. But the one I have here is its limited rose edition, which looks prettier and carries more characteristics of Secret Key than simply copying SK-II.
Secret Key Starting Treatment Essence Rose Edition smells like fermented alcohol and rose flower water. The product is very watery and can hydrate and refresh your skin well. A bottle is good for only two months.
I wouldn’t say this one stands out, having tried more than ten treatment essences in the market. But it has a very high cost-performance ratio. This is probably the best you can find at this price (if you can get a good deal). This essence works, although not amazing, but it does improve my skin. It will hydrate, refresh, and improve blood circulation to my skin. I also notice my freckles become less obvious after using this.
In short, a great treatment essence at its price. This is wonderful for first-timers or those who just start to use a treatment essence. It is effective, economical, and aesthetic.
Manyo Galac Niacin 2.0 Essence
Manyo Galac Niacin 2.0 Essence is made of fermented yeast extract and niacinamide. The rich vitamin and mineral contents in yeast, such as vitamins B, P, calcium, iron, zinc, iodine, and folic acid, provide a lightweight nutrient fortress for your skin. It moisturizes your skin, boosts its immunity, and protects it from harmful radiation and external aggressors. It will also accelerate collagen synthesis, making it suppler and firmer. Niacinamide, on the other hand, is my favorite skin-brightening and elasticity-improving star ingredient. It helps to clear out my freckles, even my skin tone, and make my skin suppler and more resilient over prolonged usage.
Manyo Galac Niacin 2.0 Essence has 93.69% Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, Niacinamide (4%), and other skin-benefiting ingredients.
My husband said he would repurchase, but I am unsure how true that is because he never repurchases anything. He prefers watery skincare like a hydrating toner and finds applying serum a hassle. This will work well for those with acne-prone skin, rough skin, huge pores, aging problems, and dehydrated skin. It may not work perfectly for those with oily skin, although I expect the yeast extract inside can heal and repair oily skin like the SK-II essence.
Benton Fermentation Essence
Honestly, I don’t even need two weeks to see if a product works; I know it works. In Benton Fermentation Essence’s case, I know that it works because my skin tells me so. I could say I get a bit of firming because my face seems well put up, if you know what I mean.
While the firming capability of Benton Fermentation Essence is exquisite, it doesn’t help that much in terms of skin calming or repairing. My Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence performs way better in that department. Luckily, with this being an FTE, I could use this for the toner step in my routine! So, I have been using it with my Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence, and my skin has never been better!
However, I could not give the sole credit for this essence because I have been using sheet masks daily. I knew it would be hard to assess because I couldn’t afford to sacrifice my regimen right now (my skin is more irritated than usual due to extreme heat) to evaluate its efficacy thoroughly.
Purito Galacto Niacin 97 Power Essence
Purito Galacto Niacin 97 Power Essence is a light watery essence that absorbs like a dream and does a great job softening and hydrating my skin. Over the last month or so, it has become a staple product because it never irritates any part of my face, even inflamed areas. My face has been looking very glowy and more even-toned, though the change has been gradual, and I’m not sure I can attribute it all entirely to this essence. Either way, at about $18, this essence is a steal, and I highly recommend it.
Now you know how flexible the Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate is. Yes, it may not be for everyone, but its benefits win over its bad side. Most skin types can benefit greatly from Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate.
And don’t forget: do not use Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate on your face if you suffer from Malassezia-induced skin conditions. This includes psoriasis, eczema, and other infections.
I hope you find what works best for your skin and get closer to achieving the highly-coveted glass skin.
Numbuzin No.3 Skin Softening Serum Review
Show me proof
- Harris-Tryon, Tamia A., and Elizabeth A. Grice. “Microbiota and maintenance of skin barrier function.” Science 376, no. 6596 (2022): 940-945.
- Lee, Hyun-Sun, Mi-Ryung Kim, Yooheon Park, Hyo Jung Park, Un Jae Chang, Sun Young Kim, and Hyung Joo Suh. “Fermenting red ginseng enhances its safety and efficacy as a novel skin care anti-aging ingredient: in vitro and animal study.” Journal of Medicinal Food 15, no. 11 (2012): 1015-1023.
- Woolridge, JaNay, Amy Koshoffer, Ana Luisa Kadekaro, R. Randall Wickett, Raymond E. Boissy, and Tomohiro Hakozaki. “Galactomyces ferment filtrate reduces melanin synthesis and oxidative stress in normal human melanocytes.” In Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, vol. 70, no. 5, pp. AB127-AB127. 360 PARK AVENUE SOUTH, NEW YORK, NY 10010-1710 USA: MOSBY-ELSEVIER, 2014.
- Takei, K., C. Mitoma, A. Hashimoto‐Hachiya, M. Takahara, G. Tsuji, T. Nakahara, and M. Furue. “Galactomyces fermentation filtrate prevents T helper 2‐mediated reduction of filaggrin in an aryl hydrocarbon receptor‐dependent manner.” Clinical and Experimental Dermatology 40, no. 7 (2015): 786-793.
- Lee, Minji, Hyun-Soo Kim, Aryeong Cho, So Hyeon Jeon, Na Kyeong Lee, Kyu Joong Ahn, and In Sook An. “The effects of essence-formed cosmetic ingredients containing the galactomyces ferment filtrate on skin improvements in keratinization, pores, sebum excretion, brightness and acne.” Kor J Aesthet Cosmetol 12, no. 1 (2014): 77-84.