Probiotics, or as they say, good bacteria have been a popular subject in the health and wellness industry for some time now. Anyone who visited a health store recently or picked up a magazine should be aware of probiotics, after all, it’s trending. So, what’s all this hype over probiotic skin care about? Are topical probiotic products the next skincare revolution? Keep reading to find out.
What are Probiotics?
Generally, bacteria are known for creating chaos in your system but did you know, there are good bacteria that live in your body? These good strains of bacteria are called probiotics. Probiotic bacteria help eliminate extra bad bacteria while restoring your system, and are known to keep your body healthy and in the best working condition.
How are Probiotics Different from Prebiotics?
Simply put, prebiotics are the food for probiotics. They are the nutrients that encourage the growth and reproduction of probiotics. Let’s just put it this way – probiotics are the microorganisms and prebiotics are their food.
So, Are Probiotics Popular?
As said above, probiotics have gained popularity in recent years, as reported in the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). It showed that around 1.6 percent of U.S. adults i.e., around 4 million people used probiotics or prebiotics in one month. The demand for probiotics increased tremendously by 4 times between 2007 and 2012. This clearly states that an increasing number of people are turning towards probiotics for their skincare.
What Types of Bacteria are Found in Probiotics?
Probiotics are known to contain various microorganisms but the most common ones belong to the groups, named Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
Different bacteria have different effects, for instance, a specific kind of Lactobacillus bacteria may have the potential to prevent an illness. But this does not imply that all types of Lactobacillus probiotics will have the same effect. Remember, no two bacteria types are the same and they will play a different role in maintaining the system of your body. So, be careful in choosing a probiotic application if you want to overcome a specific skin issue.
How Do Probiotics Work to Help Your Skin?
If you’re into skincare, you know how ingestible probiotic products have gained popularity in recent times. Use of yogurt, fermented foods, powdered and pill supplements are increasingly being accepted to improve overall skin health from the inside out. They help balance the friendly bacteria in your digestive system, prevent and treat diarrhea, improve your immune system, enhance heart health as well as mental health, reduce the severity of certain allergies, control some digestive disorders, and much more.
While people were considering the internal application, probiotics gave them another option – topical application. Yes, now you can find various probiotic skincare products to enhance your skin externally. So, do topical probiotics really work for your skin? Let’s find out.
What are Topical Probiotics?
In simple words, topical probiotics are beneficial to your external skin just like oral probiotics are to your gut. Like your gut, even your skin has a microbiome (a distinct web of healthy bacteria). Having a balanced skin microbiome is essential to keep your skin looking good, similar to how a balanced gut microbiome keeps your system working efficiently.
From cleanser to oils, topical probiotic skincare products are infused with good bacteria and are targeted to maintain your overall skin health. It cleanses your face, brightens your under-eyes, prevents premature aging, and purges your acne. It also strengthens your skin’s natural protective barrier. Keeping your skin barrier intact is the key to good skin health as it makes the skin stronger, firmer, and more radiant while keeping it moisturized. It also can prevent the bad stuff like rosacea, acne and other forms of inflammation.
So, if we have to sum up the major role of topical probiotics for your skin health, we can say that it:
As per the American Academy of Dermatology, topical probiotics have the capability of protecting your skin from bad bacteria. They literally interfere and fight with the bad bacteria’s ability to provoke an immune reaction. In fact, they prevent your skin cells from getting in touch with bad bacteria. So, using topical probiotics can safeguard your skin from bad bacteria while allowing it to stay clean, radiant and healthy.
A study suggests that when probiotics are applied to your skin topically, they secrete anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial substances that further help with skin conditions like eczema, rosacea and acne. Additionally, as they have the potential to calm the inflammation, they help avoid wrinkles, boost tightening of the skin, as well as prevent premature aging.
The use of probiotics topically creates an equilibrium of good bacteria on your skin’s surface. Also, it naturally strengthens and enhances your skin’s protective mechanism. The equilibrium created, in turn, prevents acne and rosacea flare-ups.
What are the Benefits of Using Topical Probiotics for Your Skin?
Apart from using probiotics as a supplement, considering them topically can also benefit you in various ways.
It can help you to deal with a variety of skin conditions
If you are suffering from skin conditions like eczema, rosacea, acne, rashes, or psoriasis, there is a great possibility that your gut health is disturbed up to some extent. So, apart from oral, consider topical probiotics as they can contribute to reviving your skin.
It can help you prevent premature aging
It is believed that using topical probiotics can help in building collagen, which is known to add smoothness to your appearance as well as strengthening your skin. Also, as it contributes to reduced inflammation, it makes your skin more resistant to extreme heat or direct sun exposure. This, in turn, keeps your skin intact with fewer fine lines and wrinkles.
It increases the hydration level of your skin
Studies have revealed that certain strains of probiotics help to strengthen the skin barrier. So, the stronger the skin barrier, the less water loss you experience. This means, your skin will remain hydrated and healthy for a longer time.
It can help to prevent breakouts and clarifies your skin
Various studies revealed that certain food types lead to excess skin oil production. If this happens, it can further lead to skin problems like clogged pores, breakouts and acne. Mostly, the root cause for people who have acne is elevated inflammation. So, the regular use of probiotics can subside this inflammation, while bringing you much-needed relief along with beautiful, clear skin.
It can reduce the sensitivity of your skin while repairing and rejuvenating it
Skin disorders bring various other unpleasant symptoms like itching, burning and painful sensitivity to touch. Additionally, even when those unlikely red bumps subside and heal, it seems impossible to get rid of their marks and scars. However, with the persistent application of topical probiotics, users have reported diminished scarring as well as improved smoothness of the skin. This means, topical probiotics do the magic of healing and repairing your skin.
Is it Safe to Expose Your Skin to Bacteria?
As said earlier, probiotics are good bacteria that help in enhancing your skin health. However, it is recommended to test the skincare products individually.
Additionally, keep in mind that natural skin care products that contain live probiotics will relatively have a short shelf life. So, see the label to check the expiration date. This will assure you that the product is effective and hasn’t spoiled.
Last, treat your probiotic skincare products the same way as you would treat probiotic supplements. This means, keep them refrigerated or in a cool, dry place. Also, make sure to follow the specific brand recommendations, if any. For example, we recommend storing our AO+ Restorative Mist in the refrigerator so you can maximize its shelf life.
Are Benefits of Topical Probiotics Limited to Specific Skin Type?
The answer is – no. Probiotics are considered to be suitable for all skin types. Regardless of your skin type, applying probiotic skincare products will maintain the balance while strengthening the skin barrier function. In fact, people having stressed skin, sensitive skin, or reactive skin should definitely go for topical probiotics as there are high chances of getting benefits from them.
Some Interesting Tips:
Protect Your Skin’s Microbiome
Just like our gut, our skin has numerous healthy bacteria, yeast and viruses. These germs, when combined, form a skin microbiome. To achieve radiant, optimal skin as well as gut health, it becomes imperative to have a healthy microbiome. While probiotics may help you with it, additional points to consider here include:
Taking care of your gut – Whatever you eat will have a direct impact on the health and glow of your skin. It’s recommended to include gut-friendly foods and beverages like kombucha, yogurt and miso. You may also consider supplementing your diet with oral probiotics to nurture your healthy skin as a whole.
Adding fibrous food to your diet – Fibrous foods like barley, leeks, oats, and asparagus are considered to be an excellent source of prebiotics. Consuming them won’t only improve your immune system but will also enhance the growth of good bacteria in your gut.
Avoiding harsh scrubbing – Never exfoliate daily as it can lead to harsh scrubbing, which can affect your skin health negatively. Instead, consider using a gentle, pH-balanced cleanser and exfoliate no more than once a week.
Protect your skin’s microbiome and good bacteria as plenty of factors can affect your skin health while increasing the risk of acne, rosacea, eczema, wrinkles, and much more. Boost your skin’s microbiome with a careful selection of topical probiotic skincare products and attain clean, clear, healthier, and glowing skin.