Freeze-Dried Skincare Is Wildly Popular in Right Now—Here's Why

Rael Beauty and Acaderma Freeze Dried Skincare Products

Rael Beauty / Acaderma / Byrdie

You may recognize freeze-dried snacks from your office cafeteria, but the process is now carving out a place in the skincare aisle. Not only that, but experts say the process offers can actually offer serious results. Ahead, keep reading for everything you need to know about the freeze-dried trend.

Meet the Expert

  • Krupa Koestline is a cosmetic chemist and the founder of KKT Consultants.
  • Shuting Hu, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist and the founder of Acaderma.
  • Jessie Cheung, M.D., is a board-certified dermatologist and founder of her own practice, Cheung Aesthetics and Wellness based in Illinois.
  • Ellie Mei Cher, is the sales director at OxygenCeuticals North America.

What Is Freeze Drying? 

Freeze drying is a dehydration process that uses low temperatures to remove moisture in a specific ingredient, which are skincare components in this case. "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," says Krupa Koestline, a cosmetic chemist and founder of KKT Consultants. This means the ingredient is completely dry when it is returned to room temperature. The concept has been around since 1906 in the food technology industry, before trickling over into beauty science.

What Is Freeze-Dried Skincare?

Freeze drying is a fairly new practice in the beauty space, with brands like Saro de Rúe, OxygenCeuticals, ABI Dermaceuticals, Acaderma, and Rael all recently adopting the technology.

Shuting Hu, MD, a dermatologist and founder of Acaderma, decided to create a freeze-dried product because it "maximizes the efficacy of active ingredients and allows the active ingredients to be more potent, making the product overall more effective." This occurs because during the freeze-drying process, "the molecular weight of the ingredient decreases, which helps increase absorption through the skin because lower molecular weights better penetrate lower layers of the skin," says Koestline. This allows freeze-dried formulas to deliver potent, stable actives that give people better results. 

The Impact of Freeze-Dried Skincare

In the past few years, we've learned a lot about waste impact, and Gen-Z consumers are using their dollars to take action. "Nearly one in five members of Gen Z say they are skeptical about the climate impact of products labeled as sustainable, and 29% say they would prefer if there were more information about the product's climate impact," the World Economics Forum reported. So, consumers are seeking out products and brands that keep this top-of-mind.

Removing water within the freeze-drying process extends the shelf life of products since it preserves specific ingredients. "Since there is no water for microbes to grow, this makes ingredients much lighter to transport in vacuumed bags of the products versus containers of liquid, which helps reduce waste in the product-making process," Koestline explains. 

Ellie Mei Cher, sales director at OxygenCeuticals North America, explains how removing the water and decreasing the molecular weight was essential when deciding whether to create their freeze-dried product, BioMatrix Collagen Kit. According to Cher, collagen is a huge molecule that sits on the skin when topically applied. However, she explains it becomes more effective when freeze dried with its decreased molecular weight.

Cher says that educating and informing consumers about freeze-dried innovations will help them make better choices when shopping for skincare. "Consumers expect transparency at every step of their skincare journey, and it's important our products align with their needs," she says. Thanks to its ability to reduce a product's carbon footprint, and preserve its potency, freeze drying checks many boxes for the conscious shopper.

Final Takeaway

Most freeze-dried products benefit all skin types but, like with any new product, you'll want to do a patch test to rule out irritation. Also, as the category evolves, it's important to note that freeze drying does have its limitations. Not all skincare ingredients, like peptides, can be freeze-dried, Jessie Cheung, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist, tells us. "Fragile ingredients that experience structure change when frozen, like peptides, can't be freeze dried," she says. And "The process can't mix multiple active ingredients in one stable product during processing while still maintaining efficacy," she explains.

Still, despite its limitations, many brands realize they can harness the power of freeze-drying to extend shelf life by preserving powerful ingredients while eliminating fillers or unnecessary ingredients, which Hu says has the potential to become "wildly popular."

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Nowak D, Jakubczyk E. The freeze-drying of foods—the characteristic of the process course and the effect of its parameters on the physical properties of food materials. Foods. 2020;9(10):1488.

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