Skin school, Acne, Anti-aging, Skincare

Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate in Skincare

Born from the wisdom of Asia

Benefits of Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate in Skincare

written by Emma Wilson

updated on

Garden of Muses includes affiliate links marked with an *. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate has considerable benefits for the skin 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 highly 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.

Benefits of Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate in Skincare workers in Japan
It is a beautiful Japanese artwork depicting the hard work that goes into the traditional sake brewing process.
The youthful hands of old sake brewers led to the discovery of the Galactomyces yeast (or so the story goes)!
By Emma Wilson for Garden of Muses

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.

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 same thing.

SK II First Treatment Essence *Affiliate links below.

If you don’t have a cool $130 to drop on the cult-classic essence, don’t despair. Other brands widely use Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate in higher concentrations and at lower prices.

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.

Benefits of Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate in Skincare Sesshu Itami sake

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 open the door to more research in this area.

Benefits of Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate in Skincare fermented filtrate

Ferments 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:

  1. “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.”
  2. “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.”
  3. “increases the preservation of the active ingredient because through fermentation a metabolite is created that prevents the growth of unwanted bacteria, 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 skin care 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).

Benefits of Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate in Skincare Bacteriological methods in food and drug laboratories with an introduction to micro-analytical methods(1915)

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. 

Lessens Hyperpigmentation

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.

Galactomyces is rich in amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and organic acids. These can help protect your skin from environmental damage, creating a healthier skin barrier. Galactomyces 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 skin care products with Galactomyces. The ingredient sounds like the ultimate solution to flaky and zombie-looking skin.

Shrinks Pores

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

Galactomyces – 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%.

Reduces Acne

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 exciting 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 vital 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

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 history of fungal acne or skin infections, you can safely try out products containing Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate. It is a beautiful 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 Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate Products

Because some lessons are best taught through examples, here are the best-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.

The best skincare products with Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate are first essences, also known as first treatment essences, FTEs, or fermentation essences. We assume that you’re going to find your holy grail.

1. SK-II Facial Treatment Essence

SK II First Treatment Essence
Courtesy of*Affiliate links below.

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 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.

2. SCINIC First Treatment Essence

Scinic First Treatment Essence
Courtesy of*Affiliate links below.

The Scinic First Treatment Essence is like a treasure for your skincare routine. Its potent formula and incredible benefits have made it a sought-after secret in achieving that glass skin we all desire.

At the core of this essence lies the power of fermentation. The Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, derived from yeast, takes the stage in its formulation. This incredible ingredient does wonders for your skin by encouraging cell turnover, refining its texture, and minimizing the appearance of pores. I’ve noticed that each use makes my complexion more refined and smoother.

Another standout ingredient in the Scinic First Treatment Essence is Niacinamide, a superstar in skincare. This powerful form of vitamin B3 is renowned for strengthening the skin barrier, improving hydration levels, regulating sebum production, and evening out skin tone. Bid farewell to redness, acne, and uneven texture as Niacinamide works its magic, leaving you with a complexion that exudes health and vitality.

In addition to its brightening and smoothing properties, the Scinic First Treatment Essence also provides needed hydration. Its lightweight and watery consistency effortlessly absorbs into the skin, replenishing moisture levels and giving you a supple complexion. This essence prepares your skin for the rest of your skincare routine, allowing it to absorb the benefits of the following serums and moisturizers fully.

Its gentle formula ensures a nurturing and irritation experience. Say goodbye to skincare rituals, as this all, in one essence, makes your routine more straightforward and more effective. Before deciding about this product, I highly recommend reading Mia’s Scinic First Treatment Essence review.

Scinic First Treatment Essence Ingredients List (last checked 2024)

Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, Butylene Glycol, Glycereth-26, Niacinamide, Pentylene Glycol, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Adenosine, Sodium Citrate, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Water, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Rubus Coreanus Fruit Extract, Sea Water.

Ingredients referred from the Scinic official website.

Active Herbs Humectant/Moisturizing Brightening Ferments

3. Secret Key Starting Treatment Essence Rose Edition

Secret Key Starting Treatment Rose Essence
Courtesy of*Affiliate links below.

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 unique, but it does improve my skin. It will hydrate, refresh, and improve blood circulation to my skin. I also noticed my freckles become less evident after using this.

In short, it is an excellent treatment essence at its price. This is wonderful for first-timers or those who use a treatment essence. It is practical, economical, and aesthetic.

Secret Key Starting Treatment Essence Rose Edition Ingredients List (last checked 2024)

Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, Dipropylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Glycerin, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Acorus Gramineus Root/​Stem Extract, Perilla Ocymoides Leaf Extract, Rosa Centifolia Flower Water, Adenosine

Ingredients referred from the Secret Key Official Website.

Ferments Herbs Humectant/Moisturizing Active Fragrance

4. Manyo Galac Niacin 2.0 Essence

Manyo Galac Niacin Essence
Courtesy of*Affiliate links below.

My husband bought it. Manyo Galac Niacin 2.0 Essence is mainly made of Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate(93.69%). The rich vitamin and mineral contents in yeast, such as vitamins B and P, calcium, iron, zinc, iodine, and folic acid, provide a lightweight nutrient fortress for his skin. It moisturizes skin, boosts immunity, and protects it from harmful radiation and external aggressors. It will also accelerate collagen synthesis, making my skin suppler and firmer.

Niacinamide(4%), on the other hand, is a favorite skin-brightening and elasticity-improving star ingredient. It helps clear out my freckles and even my skin tone and makes my skin suppler and more resilient over prolonged usage. Studies have shown that niacinamide effectively lightens hyperpigmentation at 4-5% concentrations. To learn more, please read our Complete Guide on Niacinamide and How to Reduce Hyperpigmentation with Niacinamide.

This essence contains glutathione, which reduces hyperpigmentation by inhibiting tyrosinase enzyme activity. On top of these brightening ingredients, this essence also contains some powerful humectants to help hydrate your skin.

This Korean first treatment essence also includes witch hazel extract, a known astringent and sebum-regulating ingredient. It is used in many toners as a pore tightener and to replace alcohol. It contains tannin, an effective anti-inflammatory and astringent component that treats soreness and bruises on the skin. It is also an effective antioxidant that can prevent free radicals that might lead to skin aging. The ingredient is also effective at enhancing the appearance of dry or damaged skin, reducing flakiness, regulating sebum, and tackling acne-causing bacteria. It’s basically an all-in-one miraculous ingredient commonly used in skincare!

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 to heal and repair oily skin like the SK-II essence.

Manyo Galac Niacin 2.0 Essence Ingredients List (last checked 2024)

Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate (93.69%), Niacinamide (4%), Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate, 1,2-Hexanediol, Butylene Glycol, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Ethylhexylglycerin, Chrysanthemum Indicum Flower Extract, Algin, Glutathione, Pentylene Glycol, Water.

Ingredients referred from the ma:nyo Official Website.

Ferments Herbs Humectant/Moisturizing Active

5. Benton Fermentation Essence

Benton Fermentation Essence
Courtesy of Benton Cosmetics. *Affiliate links below.

I don’t 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.

Benton Fermentation Essence Ingredients List (last checked 2024)

Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, Water, Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Glycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Bifida Ferment Lysate, Ceramide NP, Althaea Rosea Root Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Betaine, Panthenol, Allantoin, Sodium Hyaluronate, sh-Oligopeptide-1, Zanthoxylum Piperitum Fruit Extract, Pulsatilla Koreana Extract, Usnea Barbata (Lichen) Extract, Adenosine, Arginine, Xanthan Gum, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Polysorbate 20, Lecithin.

Ingredients referred from the Benton Official Website.

Ferments Herbs Humectant/Moisturizing Active

6. Purito Galacto Niacin 97 Power Essence

Purito Galacto Niacin 97 Power Essence
Courtesy of*Affiliate links below.

Purito Galacto Niacin 97 Power Essence is such a powerful little essence as it contains 92% Galactomyes Ferment Filtrate and 5% niacinamide, which work together to brighten the skin while improving the health of your skin. Purito products are suitable for sensitive skin types as they contain no harsh ingredients or preservatives.

The Purito Essence is a light, watery essence that absorbs like a dream and softens and hydrates 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.

Purito Galacto Niacin 97 Power Essence Ingredients List (last checked 2024)

Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, Niacinamide, 1,2-Hexanediol, Bacillus/​Soybean Ferment Extract, Propanediol, Lactobacillus Ferment, Acrylates/​C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Arginine, Butylene Glycol, Allantoin, Adenosine, Disodium EDTA, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol.

Ingredients referred from Purito’s official website.

Ferments Active Humectant/Moisturizing Brightening

Why Are First Treatment Essences the Best Products with Galactomyces?

Generally, first treatment essences contain the highest concentrations of Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, usually above 90%. So, choosing a first treatment essence is best if you want to benefit from the Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate.

One of the studies I have linked to in this article used a first treatment essence containing 97% Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate. This study found that Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate has various benefits on the skin at this concentration, including a decrease in the size of enlarged pores, a reduction of blackheads and acne, an increase in skin brightness, and a decrease in sebum production.

To replicate the results of this study on your skin, it may be best to use a first treatment essence with a concentration as high as possible.

Final Thoughts

Benefits of Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate in Skincare Sake barrels in Japan

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 significantly from Galactomyces.

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.

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