Sake is a type of Japanese rice wine that goes through a fermentation process similar to beer. During the fermentation process, kojic acid is created, a byproduct of the conversion of starch to sugar. The acid is used in many industries for its inhibitor properties, which are beneficial to skin care. Using sake on your face is a habit more and more people are swearing by.
Due to the kojic acid in sake and the acid's melanin-inhibiting properties, the Japanese drink can be used to lighten skin. People with freckles, age spots (also called liver spots), pregnancy-related and/or menopause spots, and dark areas from any other cause have had success lightening their skin with kojic acid. It works by decreasing the skin's ability to form the melanin in dark spots. This applies to people of all skin colors.
Many people have found that the kojic acid in sake is effective as a moisturizer. You can apply the sake directly to your face as you would any other liquid. While some claim it's a costly moisturizer, only a small amount is needed to do the job. A number of moisturizers now come with sake included in their ingredient list.
Some people believe sake is an ideal astringent when it comes to cleaning your face. As sake contains alcohol and has antibacterial properties, when it's used as a toner, it can effectively rid a person's skin of acne-causing bacteria. Sake can help keep a face clean in a quest to control acne.
Many skin whiteners used in the past, such as hydroquinone, have been found to cause skin irritations and mutations if not used correctly. Since kojic acid is safe, people looking to lighten their skin have been turning to kojic acid for a skin-friendly alternative to chemicals. Just one or two applications of sake is enough to lighten skin noticeably.
Due to sake's skin-benefiting qualities, face masks that contain the rice wine are rising in popularity. If you're looking for a mask you can make at home, combine one teaspoon of sake with just under one teaspoon of honey. Mix well. Stir in one teaspoon of yogurt. Add three teaspoons of oat flake powder and mix well. If the mask mixture is too runny for your liking, add a little more oak flake powder. Apply the paste to your face and leave it on for 30 minutes. It will feel cool from the yogurt and tingly from the sake.
- Smart Medicine for Your Skin: Dr. Jeanette Jacknin: 2001
- The Insider's Guide to Sake: Philip Harper: 1998
- Sake Handbook: John Gauntner: 2002
Toby Welch has been a full-time freelance writer since 2003. She has published in the "National Post," "Cottage," "Opulence," "Alberta Parent," "The Real Estate Magazine" and Living Safety," as well as many more articles online. Toby holds an accounting degree from the University of Calgary.