Rice (and rice water in particular) has long been believed to have tons of benefits for our hair and skin. In fact, the earliest known use of it was in Japan over 1,000 years ago!
And lately many online forums and beauty editors have been raving about using rice water as a skin treatment. Those who use it swear by its skin-soothing and toning abilities and believe that it can improve your overall skin health. And what’s even better? Not only is rice water something you can easily make at home, but it is also easily accessible and affordable.
But rice water isn’t the only way to get the benefits of rice! Many beauty professionals like bloggers, vloggers, and editors also enjoy using brown rice protein. Shalini Vadhera, author of Passport to Beauty, explains the “natural anti-inflammatory and skin-protecting properties of rice, and using the grain can lead to…a soft dewy complexion and, over time, a reduction in the appearance of dark spots” as a guest on the Dr. Oz website.
What are the other benefits of rice, and how effective is it at strengthening our skin health? Let’s take a look.
According to the Dermal Institute, brown rice protein is an effective natural physical exfoliant. Brown rice protein “helps the natural shedding process of the skin and encourages healthier, smoother, more even-toned, and clearer skin,” according to Drs. Gina and Sid Dinesh. You can get the exfoliation benefits by using brown rice flour. It does not dissolve when it comes into contact with water, so you are able to exfoliate away dead skin while getting the benefits of brown rice protein. Plus it’s available at your grocery store!
Many of those who use rice water believe that it has the ability to lighten the skin or reduce the appearance of dark spots. Many commercial products like soaps, toners, and creams that contain rice water often tout this benefit although evidence to support those claims is pretty light. However, there are some compounds in rice water that are known to lighten pigment, we are just unsure to what extent.
Sun Damage and Anti-Aging
A 2013 study found that fermented rice water (also referred to as rice wine) can help to improve skin damage caused by the sun. Rice water also increases collagen in the skin, to help keep it looking supple and free of wrinkles. One study found that rice water has some natural sunscreen properties when combined with other plant extracts but we don’t recommend using it as a replacement for sunscreen anytime soon! Another study found that fermented rice water was full of antioxidants that help to fight the signs of aging.
Acne and Inflammation
The primary reason that people use rice water is to help combat acne and inflammation! Although research on the subject is a bit limited, those who use it believe that it can soothe the skin, clear up blemishes caused by skin conditions like eczema, and help it heal. And based on what we’ve previously discussed, there’s a reason to believe that there is truth to these claims!
In fact, a 2002 study noted that brown rice starch appears to help eczema and skin damage. The results demonstrated that rice starch baths did not change the amount of water loss in normal areas of skin, which suggests this treatment does not cause the skin to dry out! The cause is likely to be a mix of skin-healthy components, such as polysaccharides, lipids, enzymes, saponins, prostaglandin synthetic inhibitors, vitamins, and flavonoids.
How to Use
Want to know how to incorporate rice water into your routine? The website, One Good Thing, put together a step-by-step guide to making your own rice water:
- Start by rinsing the rice under running water to remove any dirt or impurities that might be clinging to it. Next, place the rinsed rice in a bowl and cover it with a couple of cups of water. Swirl the rice around a bit, then let it soak for 15 to 30 minutes. Strain the rice away from the rice water and set aside. Pour the rice water into an airtight container for storage. It will keep in your fridge for one week.
- Some people believe that fermented rice water has even more beneficial effects than non-fermented stuff. If you want to give it a try for yourself, just leave your finished rice water out on your counter for 24-48 hours.
- Once it starts to smell slightly sour, bottle it up and store it in your fridge. You can use fermented rice water in the same ways you can use regular rice water.
After cleansing the skin with your rice water, follow up with a skin-nourishing serum to maximize the benefits of the rice water!
Rice can be incredibly beneficial to the skin and is both affordable and easily accessible. It is commonly used as a part of herbal skin care ingredients for women in Asia. You can make your own rice water toner or exfoliator with ingredients from your local grocery store!
Father and son duo Steven Wang, MD and Gui Wang, LAc have over 60 years of combined experience helping patients utilizing both Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and modern medicine. We believe that accessing the knowledge of both worlds can lead to true breakthroughs in the field of dermatology.
After years of focused testing, we are proud to offer a family of skin care products inspired by our love of holistic healing techniques. We offer products that are natural, effective, and never tested on animals.