Modern beauty enthusiasts have no shortage of futuristic ingredients to foist upon their faces. Epidermal Growth Factor harvested from human foreskin? It’s a thing, and celebrities love it. (See: Aesthetician Georgia Louise’s “penis facial.”) Red and blue lasers to reduce acne and wrinkles? At-home LED light masks have ‘em both. But sometimes, it’s the old-as-time DIYs that provide the best results — like rice water for skin, which dermatologists say has just as much youth-preserving, hyperpigmentation-brightening, skin-protecting power as that super-fancy stem cell serum in your Sephora cart.
“Rice water has been popular for hair and skincare in Japan, China, and Korea for centuries,” Dr. Aanand Geria, M.D., F.A.A.D, a board-certified dermatologist with Geria Dermatology in New Jersey, tells The Zoe Report. It’s perhaps more commonly known for lengthening and strengthening hair, but this ancient ingredient has serious skincare benefits, too. “Rice water is thought to be rich in minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins B and E,” Dr. Geria says. “Given that, it’s thought to be anti-aging in nature.” The dermatologist says rice water may help moisturize and decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also has the potential to help with hyperpigmentation (like acne scars and sun spots) and texture. Although extensive research hasn’t been done, one 2013 study suggests that rice water may improve signs of sun damage, too.
Is there anything rice water can’t do? Not really. It’s even very, very nice for your wallet. You can make it yourself using only — you guessed it — rice and water; the DIY process is the exact same as rice water for hair. “Oftentimes rice is boiled and the remaining water is fermented; the water is then boiled again to stop the fermentation process,” Dr. Geria explains. (“Fermenting” involves letting the water sit at room temperature for a few hours, FYI.) If that sounds like too much boiling and waiting, don’t worry. K-beauty expert Alicia Yoon, the founder of Peach & Lily, has a simpler process she swears by: “Just take a bowl of rice and put enough water in it to have the rice be fully submerged by an inch or so,” she previously told Bustle. “Let your rice step for about 15 to 30 minutes, without boiling or cooking it." Strain the rice, collect the water, and that’s it: You have rice water.
It's equally easy to incorporate rice water into your routine. You can substitute rice water for your morning cleanse, or use it as “step two” in a double-cleanse. There's really no wrong way to wash your face with it. “Almost all skin types would likely benefit, as everyone's skin craves antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals,” Dr. Geria says. “It’s also known to be particularly good for dry skin as well as uneven skin tone.” He notes there are no risks associated with rice water, so have at it.
If you’re too lazy or busy (or both) to boil water, I feel you. Luckily, clicking “add to cart” takes almost no time at all. Ahead, shop 10 skincare products formulated with rice water.
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