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Rice water is the leftover starchy water after cooking or boiling rice, and it is 75%-80% starch. It has been used for centuries, especially by women in Southeast Asia, Japan, and China as it has proven to be beneficial for skin and hair. However, recently, it has gained more popularity due to its easy availability as well as being cheaper than other alternatives.
Rice water is prepared firstly by cleaning the rice to remove any impurities under running water and then put the rice in a bowl and adding water while swirling the mixture. It is then allowed to soak and rest for 15-20 minutes, the water is then drained into a separate airtight container, and then it may be used or stored in the refrigerator. To use fermented or unfermented rice while preparing the rice water is debatable. However, the process of preparing is the same. Nonetheless, the time for soaking and resting of rice in the water is more when it comes to fermented rice water. Fermented rice water is ready when its odor is slightly sour.
Rice water consists of vitamins (B & E) and amino acids along with minerals that are essential for healthy skin. The vitamins help lessen dark pigmentation and the minerals toughen skin pores. Rice water also consists of ferulic acid that soothes the skin and has anti-inflammatory properties. It also has carbohydrates that are beneficial for the hair to reduce surface friction while also strengthening the hair.
Further elaborating on the benefits of rice water, another use that it carries is that it can be used as a facial toner too as it tightens the skin and the pores, keeping the skin fresh and bright. Rice water may also be used to soften the skin as it boosts minerals and vitamins in your skin. This also helps with skin dryness. Research also shows it is beneficial for acne treatment as rice water contracts skin cells, preventing skin breakouts. It may also be used to treat eczema treatment by applying on your skin using a cotton pad as it provides the skin with vitamins, which the skin might be lacking. As rice water consists of inositol, the carbohydrate that has anti-inflammatory properties, it also proves to be beneficial to lessen inflammation and redness caused by sunburn. Using rice water while rinsing hair after shampooing helps keep hair healthy and strong and also acts as a hair conditioner if lavender or other types of essential oils are added to the rice water. Hair elasticity is also improved with the use of rice water as it reduces surface friction. Rice water also helps the hair grow longer as it enriches the hair with vitamins and minerals. Additionally, it is also used for damaged and aging skin, as it smoothens and tightens the skin while reducing and blocking pores.
The benefits of rice water are not just limited to hair and skin but also extend to other parts of the body. It is particularly helpful for digestive issues and eye problems if used in limited quantity. However, these claims are yet unproven and may have adverse effects too. As rice consists of carbs, which is the primary source of energy, it also helps boost energy levels if consumed as rice water. This also helps in summers as it curbs dehydration while keeping your body hydrated and provides other essentials body minerals.
Despite all these uses, many benefits of rice water are still unproven scientifically. Therefore, it is advised to use rice water with precaution and after discussing it with your doctor or dermatologist.