What do you think of first when you read the word ‘probiotics’? Gut health, right?
Well, it turns out probiotics can help you with so much more than your digestion. For instance, have you heard about probiotic skincare?
If you’re struggling with unsightly blemishes, discoloration, or some other type of skin issue, there is a chance that probiotics could help.
Let’s take a closer look…
If you’re taking a probiotic, you’re taking a capsule full of beneficial bacteria in order to boost the “good” bacteria already in your system. Probiotics are also found in foods such as sauerkraut and yogurt. And there’s been a lot of buzz about how they can help your digestion for years now…
But these days, there’s more and more evidence that probiotics may help more than just your gut — welcome news for people suffering from issues such as acne, eczema, and rosacea.1
Topical Products For Probiotic Skin Care
There are quite a few probiotic skin care products on the market now, and many of them are topical — meaning you apply them to the surface of your skin. These include cleansers, creams, and masks.
And these work because your immune system works for your whole body — including your skin. In some cases, the immune system senses that there are foreign microorganisms present on the surface of your skin, and it reacts by fighting those invaders. And that’s great, until it leaves behind pain, redness, swelling, and blemishes in its wake.3
A topical probiotic can also keep your immune system from attacking perceived threats to the skin.4
That’s because the beneficial bacteria in this type of product could neutralize or crowd out bad bacteria — so what’s left on your “skin microbiome” is actually good for you. And that, in turn, could prevent the cells of the skin from producing an immune system response.5
The “skin microbiome” is a term used to describe the overall community of microbes that live on the skin. It’s very important that the skin microbiome has a good balance between beneficial and harmful microbes. If there are too many harmful bacteria present, it can lead to skin problems.6,7
Oral Probiotics and Skin Care
Oral probiotics can also help people suffering from skin issues.8
Lots of supplements contain groups of beneficial bacteria known as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacterium. These bacteria have an effect known as the “gut-brain-skin axis effect.”
You see, stress and a poor diet can lead to a slowing of the digestive process.9 As a result, unhealthy bacteria can overtake the gut and weaken the gastrointestinal tract allowing toxins to enter the bloodstream. This string of events can result in the development of frustrating skin issues.10
However, recent studies show a relationship between oral probiotics and an improvement in skin conditions. For example, one study involving nearly 60 acne sufferers showed that drinking a beverage fortified with Lactobacillus bacteria saw a decrease in acne lesions.11
In another study, half of the participants received an oral probiotic supplement to take with their usual treatments for rosacea and acne. The other half only received their standard treatments.
The group taking the probiotic saw a bigger improvement in symptoms than the group that did not receive the supplement.12
There’s also evidence suggesting that probiotics may be able to help support your body as it builds collagen — the substance that helps makes your skin appear firmer. As a result, probiotics could potentially help reduce wrinkling and the other visual signs of aging skin.13
Another potential benefit of probiotic skin care is the ability of beneficial bacteria to promote the production of ceramides. These are molecules that act as a sort of “glue,” helping skin cells bond together. And they play a key role in helping to moisten the skin.14
Turns out, probiotic products help to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria by producing lactic acid. Lactic acid not only reduces the number of bad bacteria on the skin, it also helps good bacteria flourish.15
Wrapping Things Up
Research is only beginning to expose the potential of probiotic skin care. But if the early results are any indication, it appears that probiotics can deliver substantial benefits that could help greatly improve your appearance.
As with any new skin care regimen, however, talk to your doctor first to make sure he or she agrees that it will be safe to try probiotic products.