Surprising Beauty Benefits of Kombucha
Kombucha is a tea beverage that has been fermented by a symbiotic colony of yeast and bacteria – also known by the acronym “SCOBY”. The beverage contents are made up of Kombucha culture, water and sugar. The culture consists of probiotics in a cellulose matrix fermented over weeks or months to produce a mushroom. Kombucha is praised by many for its wide variety of nutritional benefits, but little do people know that it can also improve your skin!
Origins of Kombucha
Many believe that Kombucha originated in China, but could have been named after “Kombu”, a Korean physician. He was known for using a tea for healing purposes and treating ill patients. It’s traced back as early as the 1900s in Germany and Russia, but popularity steadily increased to the surrounding areas of Europe. It didn’t make landfall in the US until the 1950’s as a popular beverage. It was most often ‘home-brewed’ until the late 1990s. Starting around 2010, it became a popular trend in the health and nutrition industry and was considered a health fad. Sales of kombucha have exceeded $400 million in the United States.
It has developed a cult-like following and labeled as a magical health elixir. Some have even claimed its properties are responsible for treating or even healing diseases like AIDS, cancer, diabetes, hair loss, autoimmunity, sexual dysfunction and more. Later, you will read some of the benefits users have found in regards to their skin care by using Kombucha externally as well as drinking the tea beverage. These claims have not yet been quantified by expert research and there are some adverse side effects that you should be aware of in order to understand the risks associated with Kombucha consumption.
Kombucha is a good source of vitamins B and C, as well as the following ingredients. The drink also contains different types of probiotics, which are good for your digestive health.
Lactic acid – Essential for digestive operating systems
Acetic acid – Inhibit harmful bacteria and gives Kombucha the smell and taste
Malic acid – Specifically used in the detoxification process
Oxalic acid – Promotes cellular production and also works as a natural preservative
Gluconic acid – Effective for treating yeast infections
Butyric acid – Also helps to fight yeast infections by working with gluconic acid
Nucleic acid – Works to aid the body’s cell regeneration
Enzymes – Speeding up the process of biochemical reactions
Potential Side Effects
- Allergic reaction
- Blood sugar changes
- Brain fog
- Dry mouth
- Gastrointestinal toxicity
- GI distress
- Gurgling stomach
- Flu-like symptoms
- Lead poisoning
- Liver problems
- Loose stools
- Mood swings
- Muscle aches
- Skin rash
- Stomach aches
- Weight changes
- Yeast infection
*Keep in mind, most of the potential side effects of Kombucha are associated with drinking it, rather than using it topically. There are also a number of factors that contribute to the varying degrees of reaction: Kombucha constituents, additives, pH level, contaminants, duration of Kombucha used, amount consumed, frequency of intake, co-administered substances, or individual factors (age, body composition, genetic variants, gut microbiome, medical conditions).
You may be asking yourself an important question: Do the benefits outweigh the reactions and side effects? Just like consuming or experimenting with any new product, it’s important to make an informed decision based on research, advice from professionals, consulting experts and even talking with your friends or researching online resources. As a consumer, it is your right to evaluate the decision and ultimately determine what is right for you. If you do decide to implement Kombucha into your beauty routine, we have a few important components for you to consider.
- Kombucha works to detoxify your body and can lead to more radiant skin.
- Just like with any detoxification process, your body has to rid itself of the buildup inside.
- Considering this fact, your skin may experience more breakouts than usual in the form of rashes, acne or redness.
How do you determine if my face is experiencing a detox breakout or if there is something else going on? Detox symptoms are known as a herxheimer reaction. When you decide to make lots of big changes, sometimes your symptoms get worse in order to get better. Your skin is one of those things that can react to these changes. If you’re experiencing a breakout, look for these indicators:
- Detox breakout can start anywhere from 1 day to a week after making changes (introducing Kombucha)
- It shouldn’t last more than 2-3 weeks.
- Detox reactions will never continue to get worse and worse, but rather come and go in waves.
- Consider the location of the breakout: if you normally only breakout on your chin and you are now experiencing a breakout on your forehead.
- If you’re concerned about how your skin is reacting to the introduction of Kombucha, consult your healthcare professional for expert advice.
Use Kombucha ON Your Skin
We love drinking kombucha, it’s up to you to decide whether or not it’s right for your body. If you want the beauty benefits without risking it, here’s a couple DIY kombucha recipes for your skin!
Use a bottle of Kombucha and wash your face like you would normally do with your everyday cleanser. It can be used morning and night, it’s that simple!
To use Kombucha as a toner, simply combine the liquid with a few drops of essential oil and mix it together. Using a cotton pad to spread the mixture gently over your face or you can also put the mixture into a spray bottle and transfer the product that way. It works to detoxify and penetrate the pores.
When you’re looking for a little something extra in your skin care regimen, try a SCOBY mask on your face. Let the SCOBY sit on your face for 10-15 minutes. Keep a towel close by in case some of the liquid begins to drip down your face. The SCOBY mask acts like a traditional peel mask. Once the SCOBY is removed, renewed, more even skin is revealed.
Once the cleansing and toning portion of your skin regimen is complete, it’s time to moisturize. You’ll need the following ingredients:
- 1 SCOBY
- ½ cup coconut oil, jojoba oil or olive oil
- ¼ cup kombucha
- 2 drops peppermint oil
- 4 drops lavender oil
- 4 drops frankincense oil
Blend all of the ingredients together and smooth the product over your face evenly. Go back and apply a second level of moisture to areas that are particularly dry. Leave it on for a few minutes and then rinse with water to and lightly dab with a towel to dry. If your skin tends to be considered dry, try using the moisturizer daily at night. For those that have more oily or combination skin, you can use this moisturizer every other or every few days.
f you’re up for trying a little kombucha in your hair, mix 1 part kombucha with 3 parts water. Shake the ingredients together in a bottle. Apply the hair tonic directly to your hair, but avoid your scalp, followed by rinsing with water.
By adding a few drops of kombucha vinegar to your bath, it works to soothe the skin and helps it become soft and smooth. You can combine with Epsom salt or a favorite bath oil to add some variety or personalize it.
SCOBY Face Mask
- 1 SCOBY culture
- Some fermented kombucha tea
- Binder: raw egg or almond oil
Combine SCOBY and enough kombucha tea to create a paste like texture in the blender and pulse until ingredients are smooth. Add a raw egg or almond oil if you need something to act as a binder.
Apply it gently to your face, avoiding the area around your eyes and mouth. It may not go on evenly because of its paste-like texture, but do your best to spread it around. Allow the mixture to sit on your face for 5-15 minutes then rinse with warm water.
This is a great time to relax and practice some deep breathing or meditation while the face mask does its thing. You can also add a few drops of Vitamin E oil or Aloe Vera if you’d like to personalize. Try mixing different ingredients together until you find the right combination for your skin.
Kombucha Clay Mask
- Fermented kombucha tea
- Kaolin clay
Mix together the kombucha tea and kaolin clay until you’ve created a paste like texture. Apply the mask directly to your face avoiding your eyes and mouth. Allow the mask to sit for 15 minutes before rinsing with warm water and patting gently to dry.
Make Your Own Kombucha
If you’re interested in brewing your own Kombucha tea to be used in your beauty routine or to drink, it requires very careful and detailed steps. Watch the above video from Munchies, or follow the steps below to give it a try:
Before you begin, you will need a kombucha tea starter culture, known as a SCOBY, in addition to some other ingredients listed below.
- Quart size glass jar
- Wooden or plastic stirring tool
- Tight Weave cloth or a paper coffee filter
- Something to cover and secure the jar, jar rings or rubber bands work
- Unchlorinated, unflouridated hot water
- White sugar
- Loose tea or tea bags
- Starter tea or distilled white vinegar
- Active SCOBY
Quantities (for 1 Quart)
- 2-3 cups hot water
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 ½ tsp loose tea or 2 tea bags
- ½ cup starter tea or vinegar
- Combine hot water and sugar into your quart size glass jar. Stir contents until the sugar dissolves. Place the loose tea or tea bags into the sugar water to steep.
- Allow the mixture to cool to 68-85 degrees. Remove the tea bags and strain the loose tea leaves remaining.
- Add the starter tea or distilled white vinegar to the contents in the jar.
- Place an active SCOBY in the jar.
- Cover the jar and its contents with a tight weave cloth or coffee filter and secure using a jar ring or rubber band.
- Allow the mixture to rest undisturbed at 68-85 degrees, completely out of the direct sunlight for 7-30 days depending on your taste preference. The longer it rests, the less sweet it will taste and it will take on a more vinegary flavor.
- When it’s reached its desired state, pour the liquid from the top for consumption allowing the SCOBY to remain in the bottom of the jar to be used as the starter tea for your next batch.
While there may be some skepticism about the benefits of kombucha tea and its benefits both internally and as a skin care treatment, those who use it on a regular basis and found it to be beneficial in their life are part of a group of believers. If you’re up for trying new things and looking for creative ways to improve your skin quality, give the kombucha way a try and let us know how it goes!
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