Freeze Drying Is Gearing Up To Be The Next Big Skincare Trend

From biological fermentation to cellular extraction, cutting-edge technologies are constantly incorporated into various aspects of skincare product formulations to boost their quality and enhance end results. Innovative skincare trends and treatments are continually emerging and revolutionizing the cosmetics sector. One such trend that has been taking the cosmetics industry by storm recently is freeze drying. 

Freeze drying is still a relatively foreign technology in the world of skincare. Rael, Acaderma, Saro de Rúe, and OxygenCeuticals are a few cosmetics brands that have adopted this waterless approach in their product development. The idea of freeze drying usually brings to mind freeze-dried meat and fruits that are often used in camping, space exploration, and survival situations due to their light weight and long shelf life. Like freeze-dried food, waterless skincare products are also formulated with the preservation of a product's potency in mind. That's why they are still capable of feeding the skin with ingredients that retain lots of nutrition — perhaps more effectively than their regular counterparts.  

Here are some reasons why freeze drying is poised to become the next big thing in skincare.

What is freeze drying in skincare?

Freeze drying is a dehydration procedure that uses low temperatures to draw moisture from a skincare component so that it is entirely dry when restored to room temperature. "It's done by first freezing the ingredient at a very low temperature and lowering the pressure to remove any water or solvents, which allows the ice to bypass the liquid phase and go directly from solid to gas or steam," cosmetic chemist Krupa Koestline tells Byrdie.  

Dr. Shuting Hu, a dermatologist and the founder of Acaderma, tells Byrdie that freeze drying optimizes the effectiveness of the active ingredients and makes them more potent, increasing the overall effectiveness of the topical treatment.

During the freeze-drying process, the molecular weight of the ingredient is reduced. The lighter the molecular weight of an ingredient, the greater the extent to which it may go into the skin. This enables freeze-dried formulations to deliver powerful active ingredients to the skin more efficiently. 

"Anhydrous (dehydrated) active ingredients have a lower molecular weight, so the molecules can penetrate deeper into the epidermis," aesthetic doctor Dr. Rachel Ho tells Wunderman Thompson Intelligence. The challenge that remains for freeze-dried products, according to Dr. Ho, is to prove that they are just as effective as traditional cosmetics, which primarily comes down to formulations with the right amounts of active substances.

Freeze drying is good for the environment

Sustainability-wise, freeze drying also ticks all the boxes. Excluding water in the product-making process helps to reduce any given product's carbon footprint, resulting in a positive influence on the climate. Freeze-dried ingredients are lighter in weight, so they can be contained in vacuumed bags as opposed to liquid containers, which helps to reduce waste in the manufacturing process, explains cosmetic chemist Krupa Koestline. 

The removal of moisture during the freeze-drying process also extends the shelf life of items because there's no water for bacteria to grow and proliferate. For instance, Moisture Melt Snowball, a product by Rael, features freeze-dried hyaluronic acid in a tablet form that transforms into a liquid moisturizer when added to a serum or essence. It has been clinically shown to last 100 hours. Freeze-dried collagen products are also gaining popularity in the beauty industry. According to Ellie Mei Cher, sales director at OxygenCeuticals North America (per Byrdie), reducing the weight of collagen via freeze drying allows the ingredient to infiltrate the skin more efficiently.  

Pointing out that consumers demand a steady dose of transparency for their skincare purchases, Cher asserts that informing people about the benefits of freeze-dried inventions will help them make wiser skincare decisions.