May 25th, 2022

Skincare In Review: Rice Flour

As an aesthetician, I am always reviewing ingredients and cataloging them so I can better understand and create skincare routines for clients that work in synergy. I come across Oryza Sativa Powder quite a lot when researching exfoliants. Oryza Sativa Powder is the technical term for rice powder. Rice itself, can be a popular ingredient in skincare. Rice extract is a common ingredient that can assist in hydration of the skin and encourage the retention of moisture. Rice Bran Oil is known to assist in the skin’s natural regeneration process, as well as being nourishing to skin cells with vitamins and antioxidants.

Rice products in skincare for those of us state side in the US may not be well known, but they are extremely popular in countries including South Korea, Japan and China.

Rice Flour Benefits

Depending on the way rice is processed into rice flour, rice flour can have potentially have different benefits. Whole grains consist of three different parts: the endosperm, the germ and the bran. The bran is the hard outer layer and is commonly used because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is important to note that bran contains ferulic acid and phytic acid. These can be extracted from bran and added to skincare products. Ferulic acid is a potent anti-oxidant. Bran also contains B vitamins, such as B10 or para-aminobenzoic acid (aka PABA or vitamin B10), which stimulates cell growth.

Rice flour contains Allantoin, which assists in soothing skin, facilitating in skin cell regeneration and repair.

Phytic acid found in rice flour is used in skincare for it’s exfoliating effects. Phytic acid is an antioxidant alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). This acid has been found to be as effective as glycolic acid, but gentler on the skin. (1) Because of this, some dermatologists and aestheticians use phytic acid to reduce acne scarring and the appearance of dark spots caused by melasma.

Rice flour is excellent for absorbing excess oils found in skin and hair. You will find that rice powder is used for oil absorption properties and in exfoliating products more than any other application.

When Would I Prescribe Rice Flour In Skincare

I trust science and clinical studies before anything else. The truth about rice powder is it has not been studied enough to determine how much of the ingredient is being absorbed into the skin. The data on, “How much para-aminobenzoic acid, ferulic acid or phytic acid is being absorbed?” is very limited at this time. There are many different components of rice that are extracted to use in skincare products and it is unclear how much benefit rice powder is provided on it’s own.

With this, I will say I have witnessed some beauty influencers claiming that because rice flour has ferulic acid and allantoin, that it is beneficial for sun protection. And while it does contain sun protecting agents like ferulic acid and allantoin, the effectiveness on it’s own does not make it an approved form of sunscreen. Used with sunscreen however, rice powder could play a supporting role with your sunscreen.

On the opposite spectrum, I have seen beauty influencers claim that rice powder causes acne or clogs pores. Rice flour is non-comedogenic, meaning it does not cause break outs. The bacteria that cause acne, bacterium propionibacterium acnes actually feed off of sebum in the skin.

Rice bran in exfoliating products are much, much gentler than some other ingredients in the market such as walnut scrubs or scrubs with micro-beads. This ingredient is ground down into extremely fine powder and makes an ideal exfoliant especially for sensitive and oily skin types, perfect for breaking down and removing dead skin cells.

So at the end of the day, why would I suggest this ingredient?

  • Rice powder would be beneficial for my clients who have extremely oily skin and do not want to wear any kind of makeup with oil reducing benefits who are looking for a product like rice blotting papers to control shine.
  • Clients who would use rice powder as a setting powder to absorb excess oil to eliminate unwanted shine while providing the skin with a flawless matte finish.
  • Clients who have reactive skin, oily skin or sensitive skin and need a facial scrub that is gentle.
  • That’s it.

I retail Palladio rice powder products in my spa for this. SkinSAFE has reviewed the ingredients of Palladio Rice Powder and found it to be 91% Top Allergen Free and free of Gluten, Coconut, Nickel, Top Common Allergy Causing Preservatives, Lanolin, Topical Antibiotic, MCI/MI, Soy, Propylene Glycol, Oil, and Irritant/Acid. (2)