Beer lovers rejoice. It’s time to soak in your favorite brew. What can hops, barley and yeast do for your skin? Well, a lot it seems, especially when poured into a bath. Soaking in beer may be a new concept for North Americans, but in Europe, it’s been practiced for centuries — with glowing results!
Improves damaged skin cells
Ale, one of the earliest inventions known to mankind, is one of the most consumed alcoholic beverage per volume. The “German Beer Purity Law” established in 1516 allows only barley, hops, yeasts and water for brewing beer. The extracts of these ingredients, especially the hops, contain an abundance of polyphenols like kaempferol, quercetin, tyrosol, ferulic acid and xanthohumol/isoxanthohumol/8-prenylnaringenin.
According to research published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 8-prenylnaringenin is the most potent phytoestrogen (or plant-based estrogen) known to date. What does this mean for your skin, and why should you bathe in it? Well, polyphenols are compounds found in natural plant food sources and have powerful antioxidant properties that help prevent oxidative damage of cells, lipids and DNA.
Improves eczema and other skin conditions
According to one study, these compounds have been also shown to possess various antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. They also possess anti-oxidative, anti-angiogenic, anti-melanogenic, anti-osteoporotic and anti-carcinogenic effects. Although the link between consuming beer and skin health is limited, evidence suggests that when applied topically it may work to heal several skin conditions including:
- Contact dermatitis
- Pigmentary disorders
- Skin infections
- Skin cancers
Exfoliates and improves elasticity
How your skin ages will depend on a variety of factors such as lifestyle, diet and heredity. As we age skin changes and becomes rougher, loses elastic tissue, thins and becomes more fragile. Elastin is a structural protein in the skin, which allows tissues the ability to stretch and spring back into place. As elastin decreases, skin begins to sag and becomes flabby. The compounds present in beer provides a powerful anti-aging cocktail. Research suggests that bathing in bubbly brew may actually help restore a more youthful appearance to aging skin with improved elasticity and exfoliation.
Most beers contain barley. Barley contains epidermal growth factor (EGF), a compound that rapidly and visibly builds collagen, making wrinkles and lines disappear. A study published in the journal Europe PMC looked at 29 females, aged 39 to 75 years, with mild to severe wrinkles. Participants applied a treatment serum made from barley twice daily for three months. Researchers noted an improved texture and appearance of facial skin after each topical application of the synthetic, EGF barley serum. Bathing in beer made with barley could improve your skin texture and reduce visible signs of aging.
Helps clear blemishes and acne
If you have an acne-prone skin on areas such as your back — often referred to as “bacne” — beer can help. Acne can affect any body part of the body that secretes oil, including the back, chest and shoulders. But “bacne” can be particularly troublesome. Sebum, dead skin cells and bacteria can build up in follicles or pores on your back and clog them. A clogged follicle or pore eventually breaks down and forms a lesion.
Beer has potent anti-bacterial properties, which helps clear acne as well as other skin infections. A 2006 study conducted at Munich University found that a skin preparation containing young brewer’s yeast cells dramatically improved the skin of acne sufferers within three weeks, reports Truth in Aging. So, if you have “bacne” or acne present on any part of your body, why not give beer a try?
It hydrates the skin
Due to the yeast and vitamins in beer, beer baths apparently hydrate the skin, suggests the Health Science Journal. It may also help maintain the delicate pH balance of the skin.
It conditions your hair
If you’ve never heard about the benefits of beer for your hair, you may want to give it a try. Beer made from barley and hops is a rich natural source of vitamins and proteins necessary for proper hair growth, says hair loss specialists NEhair.com. When mixed with shampoo, beer can actually help grow thicker, fuller and healthier hair.
Detoxifies and stimulates the circulatory system
Beer is thought to detoxify the body and stimulate the circulatory system due to the action of its carbonic acid. This information comes from various beer spas throughout Europe and more clinical research is needed.
How to create your own beer bath
Creating a beer bath is easy. You don’t actually need a whole bath filled with beer. All as you need is one bottle of your favorite brew, two tablespoons of coconut oil and 1 cup of Epsom salts. Add to a warm bath, swish around with your hand and dive in. If you’re a little more adventurous type, and would prefer a keg-sized tub of brew, you may want to indulge at a beer spa.
According to the BBC, select breweries and spas in the United States, Canada and Europe are taking advantage of the many benefits of beer with treatments that allow visitors to sit back and soak in a tub filled with premium suds. Spa-goers can even sip on suds during and after their treatment.
Beer spas: good for overall health
The high content of hop oils helps open pores and contributes to overall vitality, suggests Spa Beerland, a spa in the Czech Republic. Apparently, the high doses of vitamin B and active enzymes in brewer’s yeast are beneficial for longevity and immunity. They even propose that beer baths stimulate metabolism and help remove harmful substances from the body.
Beer baths are also thought to ease fatigue and stress, which results in complete mental and physical relaxation. Beer Spa Prague Bernard boasts that their beer baths include unlimited drinks of unpasteurized beer throughout the entire treatment, ensuring guests leave — hopefully via taxi — feeling revitalized as well as healthy and relaxed. Cheers!
— Katherine Marko