Chances are, you’ve stumbled upon the rise of rice-based skincare products all over social media, where conversations about them just never seem to fade. But is there any truth to the trend? Although it may come as a surprise to some, there are many active compounds in rice that are great for your skin. Here’s what we found out about the science behind three of our favourite rice-derived actives…
Skincare fads come and go but it turns out the hottest ingredient on everyone’s lips isn’t that new at all. Rice-based skincare has a long history in multiple Asian communities, where it has been used traditionally to calm and brighten the skin. As a formulator specialising in natural products, I’m always drawn to more conventional ingredients. Although these compounds may not sound particularly exciting, they have undergone extensive studies, ensuring their safety for use. Among my preferred skincare ingredients, rice not only shines for its decades of research but also for its ability to nurture sensitive skin (allergies reportedly linked to rice are virtually zero) while also serving as a source of valuable active ingredients.
Rice Peptides: Keeping Your Skin Healthier for Longer
Rice peptides, also known as hydrolysed rice protein, is a water-soluble protein that has been broken down into smaller peptides. Its size allows it to be easily absorbed by the skin. This is great news considering that this wonder ingredient offers a whole host of potential skin benefits:
- Hydration: Rice peptides can boost hydration as they draw water into the skin cells.
- Barrier Repair: They can also help to repair and strengthen the skin’s barrier function, which can help to protect the skin from irritants and allergens.
- Highly Soothing: Rice peptides have calming properties and work to reduce redness and irritation.
- Powerhouse Antioxidant: Hydrolysed rice protein is also noted for its antioxidant activity, which can help to protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals and other environmental stressors.
- Collagen Defender: If there is one thing that truly sets rice peptides apart for me, it is their ability to protect our skin’s collagen fibres. Research has shown they help boost collagen production and improve the skin’s elasticity, keeping the skin looking young and plump.
Oryza Sativa (Rice) Starch: A Rich History in Skincare
Renowned for its natural properties, rice starch has a longstanding presence in products for sensitive skin. Its historical use in natural medicine dates back centuries when it was used as both a compress and a facial mask. As I always have delicate complexions in mind when I formulate, Oryza Sativa is one of my go-to ingredients because of the following qualities:
- Soothing: Rice starch is a gentle ingredient that can help to calm and alleviate irritated skin.
- Absorbent: Oryza Sativa can also help to absorb excess oil and sebum, which can be beneficial for oily and sensitive skin.
- Natural alternative to synthetic sensory modifiers: Rice starch can also be used as a plant-based sensory powder, providing a light and smooth skin feel to skincare formulas. What’s more, it also gives a mattifying effect.
Gamma Oryzanol: The Rice-Based Skincare Powerhouse
As a unique compound extracted from rice bran, Gamma Oryzanol has a list of skin benefits other ingredients can only dream about. This oil-soluble, multi-functional phytosterol is deemed highly nutritional for the skin as it boosts blood circulation and is easily absorbed. Furthermore, due to its strong natural UV-A and UV-B absorbing capacity, it acts as a potent protective shield against the sun and other environmental stressors that cause free radical damage. These powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities also mean it’s able to inhibit melanin synthesis, both by stopping tyrosinase activity and suppressing melanin synthesis in melanocytes. To make things even more interesting, studies into this rice-based skincare ingredient show it has a positive effect on alleviating dry skin, collagen production, and even reversing hair loss.
As I have been a big advocate for rice derivates since the early years of natural formulation, it is no surprise that I include them in our products. From the award-winning Rapid Eye Treatment to the coveted The London Mask and Great Barrier Relief Cream. Rice-based skincare is backed by science and should be embraced by all of us.