Facts Checked By Freewill Beauty Experts - Written by Sritama Dutta (Medical Science) on 03rd Oct 2020

Health Benefits of Soy for Skin and Hair 

Health Benefits of Soy

Nowadays, consumers are becoming more and more aware and vigilant about the products they consume. And if it is meant for skincare, the cautiousness increases manifold.

It is well-known that the chemicals used in beauty products and cosmetics have been proven to have several side effects. They can be severely harmful to our health.

But why use those toxic chemicals if mother nature has a bounty full of alternatives which can have highly beneficial effects on the skin, hair, or health altogether! There is an abundance of such natural ingredients around us that have been used for centuries. They are now actively incorporated in cosmetics & other products.

In this article, we would uncover/discuss one such ingredient that nature provides us, which has been proven to have many sound effects on the health of your skin and your hair.  

Health Benefits of Soy

The ingredient in focus today is soy. Researchers and studies have demonstrated that soy and its derivative products can significantly impact your skin and health. Are you wondering how? We are hopeful that as we proceed further, we would be able to address all your concerns. We would be discussing soy and its derivatives, its benefits and uses, and its potential side effects, if any.  

What is Soy?

Before we proceed any further, let's have some basic knowledge about what is soy.

Soy or Soybean is a legume obtained from a plant originating from East Asia. Though it is commonly consumed as pulses, soy also has numerous other uses.

Derivatives of soy, such as soy sauce, soy milk, soybean oil, are also used as edible products. Soy milk is a fantastic substitute for milk for lactose intolerant individuals. It is one of the favorite components of a vegetarian/vegan diet as a replacement for animal protein. Soy milk is also used to produce a unique vegan cheese called tofu.  

How is Soy Beneficial to Your Health?

Soybeans and all its derivatives are a great source of natural protein. It contains all of the nine essential amino acids. They have low saturated fat but are loaded with Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) and Folic Acid (Vitamin B9).

Soy is also a rich source of:  

  • Calcium 
  • Iron
  • Magnesium 
  • Phosphorus 
  • Potassium 
  • Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
  • Linoleic acid

All these nutritional components can significantly affect the betterment of your overall health.

For example, Vitamin C is a necessary ingredient for the growth, development, and repair of your body tissues. Vitamin C also has antioxidant properties. It helps in the formation of collagen, faster wound healing, absorption of iron in your body, and promotes your natural immune system's functioning.

Similarly, folic acid or folate is one of the essential components needed for cellular division and synthesis and repair of DNA. Also, it helps improve our metabolism and helps in the maturation of red blood cells.

Soy also contains proteins rich in Isoflavones. Isoflavones have been used as a supplement for estrogen hormone. It is useful in treating menopause and has involvement in building up bone density to prevent osteoporosis. 

Did You Know?

Soy Can Be Anti-Carcinogenic. Soy is believed to reduce breast cancer in post-menopausal women. Studies have shown cases where soy-derived isoflavones have some association in lowering breast cancer risk in pre- and post-menopausal females.  

Soy in Cosmetics

Soy extracts have multiple benefits. Soy has become popular in the cosmetic industry and is being used in skincare and hair care products

How is Soy Good for Your Skin? 

Soy-based skin products are great for the well-being of your skin. It has been incorporated in face washes, cleansers, moisturizers, and even your lipstick! Let's see what effect soy can bring to your skin. 

1) It Can Boost Skin's Collagen Formation

Soy has been tested to have involvement in the production of collagen in our bodies. Higher collagen formation will keep your skin resilient and delay the aging process. Also, it enables us to get rid of wrinkles and fine lines and gives your skin a smooth, supple bounce.  

2) Soy can Fight Hyperpigmentation 

The antioxidant property of soy helps in busting the excess melanin production in your dermal layers. Studies have shown, A soy-derivative is known as a Serine protease inhibitor. It can diminish hyperpigmentation by inhibiting melanogenesis.

When topically applied, it collects at the outer layer of the epidermis of your skin. It checks the overproduction of melanin to give you an even skin tone without any Dark Spots its discoloration.  

3) Keeps The Skin Firm and Plump 

Aging in women brings the dreadful menopausal phase, which comes coupled with fluctuating hormonal balance. Disruption in the equilibrium of hormone levels makes the skin slack and lifeless.

Apart from its role in collagen formation, the isoflavones in soy also cause estrogenic activity. It can come to your skin's rescue. Moisturizers or body-lotions containing soy can help you eliminate aging signs by minimizing wrinkles on your skin. It can give your skin the needed upliftment and bring back it's lost firmness.  

4) Makes Your Skin Bright and Glowing

Rich antioxidants in soy can act as an effective skin brightener too. Along with busting excessive melanogenesis to give you an even skin tone, soy can also moisturize your skin.

Soy-based moisturizers help your skin retain moisture to prevent dry, flaky skin and give you a flawless look. Mild Exfoliators infused with soy milk can help you get rid of dry and dead cells and leave your skin fresh and soft.  

5) Protects Against Sun Damage 

The antioxidant properties of sit are versatile in real sense. Soy moisturizers can also help in treating photodamage. Regular use of soy, in beauty products or your diet, can reduce your skin's harm caused by Ultraviolet rays.

Also, soy has an incredible ability to treat skin infections and other mild skin inflammations. Soy has a soothing effect on skin irritations and calms down skin redness. 

How is Soy Good For Your Hair? 

Soy proteins are also an excellent ingredient that promotes your hair's health, making it silky smooth, soft, and bouncy.  

1) Soy Makes Your Hair Strong

Proteins are known as the 'building blocks' of our bodies. Not only does it help in strengthening your muscles, but it also makes the hair stronger. Hydrolyzed soy protein obtained from soybeans is incorporated in shampoos, conditioners, and hair creams. They can help in repairing brittle, damaged hair and split-ends. It also nourishes the hair and makes them smooth and healthy. 

2) Soy Prevents Hair Loss 

Lecithin, a protein derived from soybeans, helps strengthen the hair follicles by boosting your scalp's blood circulation. It also replenishes the lost nutrients of your hair. More robust hair follicles and hair strands significantly reduce premature hair fall both in men and women. 

3) Soy Moisturizes The Hair 

The isoflavones obtained from soy have been demonstrated to stimulate Hyaluronic acid (HA) production in the dermal layers of your scalp. The hyaluronic acid can hydrate your hair by retaining its natural moisture. This prevents hair from becoming dry and frizzy. Hyaluronic acid also helps in the regeneration of keratin in hair follicles, which further strengthens the hair.  

5) Protects Against Sun Damage 

Soy has been researched to promote the IGF-1 ( Insulin-like Growth Factor-1)levels of the scalp's dermal papillae when administered along with capsaicin. It has been found that this combo has improved hair growth up to 64.5% when compared to a control group. 

Did You Know?

Soy can help in fighting Alopecia.

Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune disorder. It is characterized by excessive loss of hair. The Isoflavone genistein derived from Soybean is a significant ingredient used for the treatment of Alopecia. It is a tyrosine-protein kinase inhibitor that can act against the autoimmune response and inflammation that causes the disorder.  

Can Soy be Harmful To Health?

Soybeans and soy-based foods have been a part of the human diet for quite a long time. Usually, it does not cause any harmful effects, but people with certain conditions should be a little careful while using soy-based beauty products.  

1) Soy Can Have Estrogen-Mimicking Effect 

Soy derivatives Isoflavone shows similar action as the female reproductive hormone, estrogen. It is classified as a Phytoestrogen and selective estrogen receptor.

People with an existing higher estrogen level might have symptoms such as excessive hair loss, excessive menstrual bleeding, soft and tender breast, benign lumps on breasts, uterine fibroid, or even depression and anxiety. Long term use can also cause disorders in growth and sexual maturation in young individuals.  

2) Soy Can Cause Allergic Reactions

Some people can be allergic to soy-based products. Soy allergies can cause symptoms such as hives, itching of the skin, eczema, swelling of the lips, face, tongue, and throat.

Studies showed that patients suffering from atopic dermatitis could have an adverse reaction to soy derivatives.  

3) Soy Can be Harmful to Infants

Studies have shown infants to have adverse reactions to soy-based formulas due to its estrogenic properties. Though there are only a few studies to back this fact, it is wise to abstain from soy-based cosmetics during pregnancy and nursing. A higher concentration of soy-based proteins in your blood circulation can be harmful to the baby. 

The Final Word

Soy is an incredibly beneficial plant product. It has shown positive impacts in various health conditions like cardiovascular diseases, menopause in females, and reducing cancer risk.

Using soy-extracts in cosmetics can be highly favorable to the health of your skin and hair.

On the downside, it is also found that soy can be related to specific adverse health issues, though proper evidence is still lacking in some cases.