Many people use rice water for the skin, either to improve its appearance or to relieve conditions such as eczema. Rice water is the starchy liquid left over after soaking or boiling rice. One can prepare rice water at home or buy skin care products that contain rice water. This article looks at the potential benefits of rice water on the skin, how to prepare it and how to use it.
Is rice cooking water good for the skin?
Rice water may have some benefits for the skin. Although there are currently few quality studies on the effects of rice water.
Here’s what the current research says about the potential benefits of rice water:
Rice contains antioxidants, such as inositol. Antioxidants help fight the effects of free radicals, which are volatile molecules that can damage cells in the body. Companies often add antioxidants to their skin care products.
A small 2018 study of 12 participants tested a rice water gel on the skin for 28 days. Researchers have found that rice has the same antioxidant activity as ascorbic acid or vitamin C.
Reduce skin aging
There is little evidence that rice water can reduce or slow down skin aging. However, a 2018 study showed that rice water reduced the activity of elastase, an enzyme responsible for skin aging. This indicates that rice water may have the ability to reduce the formation of fine lines and wrinkles on the skin.
According to a 2001 study, inositol can lighten existing wrinkles. Researchers tested a 1% or 2% inositol moisturizer on women of different ages for 7 weeks. At the end of the study, researchers estimated that inositol reduced wrinkle volume by 12.4% and increased elasticity by 17%.
However, it is important to note that both studies were small.
Reduce skin irritation
In 2002, researchers tested the effects of swimming in water containing rice starch on two groups: people with atopic eczema and those whose skin was irritated by sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). They found that the skin’s ability to heal was improved by 20% in people with irritation from SLS. This happened after people bathed in the rice starch mixture for 15 minutes twice a day. The skin barrier also improved with this treatment in people with atopic eczema.
Preliminary research suggests that fermented rice water might inhibit the growth of some fungi. A 2013 lab study found that rice water contains Bacillus cereus. It produces the antibiotics zwittermicin A and kanosamine. These antibiotics can prevent the growth of Malassezia furfur, which can cause dandruff.
However, because this was a laboratory study, it does not necessarily prove that fermented rice water is an effective treatment for dandruff in humans.
How to make rice water
There are several ways to make rice water:
Soaking: Soak ½ cup of uncooked rice in 2-3 cups of water for 30 minutes.
Boiling: Cook rice by boiling it with twice the amount of water normally used for cooking.
After cooking, drain the water into a clean bowl or bottle for immediate use. Store the rest in a clean container in the refrigerator. For fermented rice water, use the soaking method and then leave the rice water at room temperature for a day or two. Then store it in the refrigerator.
How to use rice water for skin care
There are several ways to use rice water for skin care. Anyone can do this:
Wash your face with rice water
Rice water is used as a tonic after cleansing
Sprinkle rice water on the face after pouring it into a spray bottle
Add rice water to the baths
Add rice water to soak the feet
Some people also use rice water as a hair treatment.
Are there risks?
There is no evidence that fresh rice water is harmful to the skin. However, as with any beauty product, it is wise to test the product on a small area of skin beforehand. Rice water is safe to use for about a week. It is advisable to discard any old rice water. People who are allergic to rice should not use rice water.
It should be noted that rice water does not replace medical care.
DeBaby, K, et al. (2002). Effect of rice starch as a bath additive on the barrier function of healthy but SLS-affected skin and skin of atopic patients. [Abstract]. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12353708/
Marto, C, et al. (2018). Rice water: a traditional ingredient with anti-aging efficacy. https://www.mdpi.com/2079-9284/5/2/26/htm
Zhoh, C.-K. , and others. (2001). Effects of inositol extracted from rice on the skin [Abstract]. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/264062918_The_Effects_of_Inositol_Extracted_from_Rice_on_the_Skin
* Presse Santé strives to impart medical knowledge in a language accessible to all. In no way can the information provided replace medical advice.
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