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Beauty and the Beer
Author: Allison B. Vought
Thursday, May 29, 2014

Beer has become an up and coming ingredient in herbal skin care formulas because of its skin-loving benefits. Try this unique ingredient in some in your own recipes today.

The application of milk, dead-sea salt and mud, beer, oils, and other herbal skin care formulas dates back to the Egyptians and their anti-aging beauty regimens. The upper classes reputedly used beer for all sorts of cosmetic and therapeutic purposes, i ncluding hair care and skin care.

Hops, used primarily as flavoring and stabilizing agents in beer, contain significant amounts of healthy chemicals. The antioxidants in hops, similar to those found in red wine, have the potential to protect against cancer by protecting against free radicals. Historically, hops have been used for their sedative effects on the central nervous system as well as a treatment for stress, anxiety and insomnia. Hops have also been studied for their antiviral and antimicrobial properties and contain various flavonoids. [1]

Brewer’s yeast, inactive yeast that no longer has leavening power, also helps maintain a balanced pH level in the skin. This allows skin to become softer, more elastic and clear. The chromium and B-complex vitamins found in brewer’s yeast might also help treat certain skin conditions, such as acne flare-ups, eczema and infant cradle cap. The University Of Maryland Medical Center reports that using brewer’s yeast supplements may actually reduce the risk of getting skin cancer. [2] The biotin in brewer’s yeast can also help strengthen brittle nails and dry hair. Brewer’s yeast has been introduced to many anti-aging skin care products such as cosmetics, bath salts, shampoo and soap because it contains high levels of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), which plays a big part in the body’s natural skin cell sloughing process. This aids in moisture-retention and speeds up the natural healing process via a more rapid turnover of new skin cells.

Silicon is a mineral present in beer. Do not confuse silicon with silicone. Silicone is the name of a group of materials resembling plastic that contain silicon, oxygen, and other chemicals. Silicon plays a role in bone and collagen formation. Collagen accounts for up to 75% of the weight of the dermis and is responsible for the resilience and elasticity of the skin. Collagen, which is mostly made up of silica, is the glue that holds the human body together. Silicon is present in beer in the highly absorbable form of orthosilicic acid (OSA), making beer a major contributor to silicon intake in the Western diet. Beers containing high levels of malted barley and hops are the richest in silicon. [3]

Another beneficial component of beer is its protein content. Beer contains roughly 2 g of protein per pint, one-seventh of which occurs as amino acids. Malt is the main source of these amino acids, and beers brewed exclusively from malt are understandably richest in protein. [4] Protein is a necessary component in the repair and maintenance of healthy skin.

Skin care products containing beer and beer by-products are clearly a niche market catering primarily to men. However, in lager-loving locales like Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic and Colorado, spas cater to anyone who wants to bathe in it. [5] However, you don’t need to travel to a Bier Spa when you can offer the same skin-loving benefits in your own line of cosmetics. From hops infused bath products to brewer’s yeast masques to soaps and shampoos containing actual beer, the possibilities are endless. Plus, using beer or its byproducts in skincare formulations has many of the same benefits and properties as wine or wine byproducts. If the addition of beer-infused products by name brands such as Lush [6], Redken [7], Dogfish Head Brewery [8] and BRÖÖ [9] are any indication, beer in hair care is proving to be a profitable and unique ingredient.

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