Yeast could be found in all your favourite things: beer, bread and even as an additive in the form of nutritional yeast (vegans like to sprinkle it on their food as a cheese powder alternative.) But did you know that the microorganism also can be beneficial to your skin?
The B vitamins and trace minerals found in brewer’s yeast can help correct any nutritional imbalances that could lead to acne breakouts, helping to reduce the inflammation and clear the skin. These same nutrients may also improve the symptoms of other skin conditions, such as eczema.
But yeast extracts, or hydrolyzed yeast protein are also important to the cosmetic and hair care industry. Hydrolyzed yeast protein is made by using acid to break down the peptide bonds that separate amino acids from one another. The product is then processed further to remove any non-protein impurities, resulting in a purified yeast protein product.
Yeast proteins are ingredients in some skin care products because of their skin conditioning and moisturizing properties. They also appear to enhance wound healing. A study published in the Journal of Burn Care and Research showed that a yeast extract applied topically accelerated wound healing in mice.
In addition, yeast proteins are believed to increase the production of collagen by fibroblasts in the dermis of the skin. Collagen is the main structural protein in skin that gives it its support and youthful firmness.
Collagen production slows down with age and the remaining collagen bundles and fibers become disorganized and damaged. Exposure to sunlight also accelerates the loss of collagen by activating enzymes that break it down. This is what causes skin to develop wrinkles and laxity that make it look less youthful.
Therefore yeast extract and yeast proteins may help to fight skin laxity and keep wrinkles in check. Some skin care products that contain yeast protein include facial moisturizers, under-eye creams, body moisturizers and lip gloss.
Yeast proteins are also added to hair care products due to their hair conditioning properties. Yeast proteins coat the hair shaft and help to reduce static. This makes hair easier to style. Hair static can be a particularly frustrating problem in the winter when humidity levels are low, and hair care products that contain yeast proteins help with this problem.
According to a study published in Cosmetics and Toiletries, yeast extracts increase the production of keratins that give hair its support, strength and resistance to breakage.
That’s why some manufacturers of hair care products add yeast extract and proteins to shampoos and conditioning products formulated for fine and damaged hair.