You are probably familiar with the concept of freeze drying from the food industry (mango bites, strawberries and other melt-in-your-mouth snacks). Now the same technology is seeping into beauty products. Well, maybe “trickle” is the wrong word because the whole point of freeze drying is to remove the water. “It’s basically low-temperature dehydration,” says Ranella Hirsch, MD, a dermatologist in Boston.
Take aloe, a plant known for its skin-soothing effects: instead of heating the plant’s sap to evaporate the water and concentrate the extract, manufacturers freeze the ingredient in a vacuum, causing the water to sublimate (vaporize, without going through the liquid). Phase). The resulting solid is then ground into a powder, explains Krupa Koestline, a Florida cosmetics biochemist who uses freeze-dried aloe in skincare (including in Chantecaille 300 face and body cream and Kopari Tropical Glow Cleanser) for its anti-inflammatory benefits.
Freeze-dried ingredients don’t need preservatives (no water means no bacteria can grow), and that may be better for people whose skin may be sensitive to certain preservatives, says cosmetic chemist Ginger King. Powdered botanicals are also more concentrated. “When you need to use a typical 1 percent botanical extract [to see a result]you may only need to use 0.1 percent of the powder version,” says King. Since they are dehydrated, they can be used in powder makeup and – the latest skincare trend – waterless formulas.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of freeze drying is its potential environmental benefits. “They have a longer shelf life, fewer preservatives, less weight,” says Dr. Deer. Lighter products mean fewer greenhouse gas emissions during transport – a good thing, as CO2 emissions from global freight transport are expected to quadruple by 2050, according to an environmental report from the International Transport Forum. “Reducing the carbon footprint makes freeze drying environmentally friendly. That’s the best seller [trend]”, adds Dr. Deer.
According to King and Dr. Hirsch already popular in the Korean beauty industry. Korean brand Wellage makes a Real HA Cica Calming One Day Kit with a capsule of freeze-dried Centella Asiatica extract, a plant extract known for its skin-soothing benefits (it’s sold with a solution that dissolves the capsule for application). You can find it at K-Beauty retailers like Olive Young, and we’ll likely see more freeze-dried botanicals in the US soon: Juice Beauty already sells a Stem Cellular Instant Eye Lift Mask, a pair of eye patches made from freeze-dried seaweed containing antioxidants contained and act as a moisturizer.
There’s also the possibility that freeze-dried botanicals retain their higher potency in traditional water- or oil-based skincare. “Freeze drying is said to reduce an ingredient’s molecular weight, so it has been suggested that this may help increase it [skin] penetration,” says Dhaval G. Bhanusali, MD, a dermatologist in New York. Humanrace’s Rice Powder Cleanser contains freeze-dried snow mushroom extract, a powerful moisturizer. And Acaderma uses freeze-dried mulberry root in its Star Light Spot Corrector. The plant extract has mulberrosid F, an organic compound that inhibits increased melanin production that can cause hyperpigmentation. Says Anar Mikailov, MD, a dermatologist in Burlington, Massachusetts, “I would be curious to see how freeze-dried mulberry root helps melasma.”