Right, school is in session! Let’s get into everything you need to know about probiotics! The evidence around their use, topically, is still fairly junior. However, the early results of probiotic skincare have been overwhelmingly positive 🦠.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are microorganisms or rather, live bacteria and yeasts! There are trillions of microorganisms and they can be found, naturally, in and on our bodies. They are also commonly found in food and supplements. They are less common in topical use (in skincare) but the research supporting them is ever growing!
Each person has their own unique and ever-changing combination of microorganisms. This is called the microbiome or microflora/microbiota. You have a gut microbiome, skin microbiome (our focus today), vaginal microbiome, respiratory microbiome and on and on, you get the idea!
Your different microbiomes can help you to absorb food, train your immune system, regulate your mood… plus many more things! Without our microbiome, we couldn’t survive! Dramatic but true!
The Skin Microbiome
The Microbiome of the skin plays a protective role and is an important part of the skin’s barrier function. Microorganisms in your microbiome work to maintain a balanced state, one that results in a complexion that is neither too oily or too dry and one that is able to repel the environmental conditions that may cause inflammation. Without microorganisms, the skin’s ability to protect itself would be diminished.
So in short when your skin’s microbiome is happy, your skin barrier is happy. A happy skin barrier can fend off free radicals, maintain hydration and regulate oil production.
What Can Affect The Balance Of My Skin’s Microbiome?
The following factors have been shown to affect the microbiome balance:
- Sun damage
- Poor diet
- Use of irritating skin products
- Airborne pollutants
These are just some of the factors! The result of the skin’s microbiome being off-balance are: acne, redness, dryness and sensitive skin.
So What Is The Goal Of Probiotic Skincare?
Very simple – to restore and maintain the delicate balance of the skin’s microbiome to allow the good bacteria to flourish! Probiotics work to benefit the skin in 3 ways, they:
- Act as a protective shield to prevent bad microorganisms from provoking an immune reaction (which shows as inflammation and can result in skin conditions like eczema).
- Produce natural antibiotics called ‘antimicrobial peptides’ that fight the bad bacteria.
- Boost the skin’s functionality to better deal with external damaging factors such as free radicals, sun, and pollution (which can cause premature ageing, amongst other skin concerns!).
In these 3 ways the skin’s surface is strengthened, the skin is better able to become and stay hydrated and skin is calmer, less red and less sensitised. The pH balance of the skin is also restored and signs of dryness and feelings of tightness are diminished. I mean if that’s not enough to convince you to try out some probiotics, then I don’t know what is!
Is It Just About Probiotics?
No. There are also prebiotics and postbiotics.
- Prebiotics = Fuel the growth of probiotics and help them to thrive so that they can do their job. Probiotics work better when combined with prebiotics.
- Postbiotics = When probiotics break down on the skin’s surface they become postbiotics. Postbiotics boost hydration, improves tone and reduces the visible signs of ageing.
So you can see they all work in synergy together to help maintain that balanced skin state.
So What Do I Look For In Ingredients?
Ideally within your probiotic product, you also want pre- and post- biotics too. However, you may have pre- and post- biotics within other products in your skincare routine, so check out your INCI lists!
Examples of each:
- Prebiotic = xylitol, rhamnose, glucomannan, oligosaccharides.
- Probiotic = lactobacillus, bifidobacterium, vitreoscilla.
- Postbiotic = hyaluronic acid, peptides, vitamins.
Who Needs Probiotics?
As with many ingredients, probiotics can benefit all skin types. However, if you have chronic inflammation, so that would be those with acne, eczema and rosacea, probiotics have the potential to be your bestie! This is because probiotics (as we’ve discussed above), can reduce redness by calming the skin and provide better control over breakouts. It does this by balancing the skin’s microbiome, balance is key to happy skin!
What Probiotic Products Can I Use?
You can find probiotic skincare products through brands like Gallinee, La Roche Posay and Allies of Skin, to name a few! The one I’ve been using is in a mist form and I’ll be reviewing that next week for you!
Have a great weekend all and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog so that you never miss another post!
Love & Knowledge
S A M A N T H A