Probiotics For Acne - Benefits and How to Properly Use Probiotics

Tina Adoniou

What are Probiotics?

First thing’s first, what exactly are probiotics? It helps to understand these supplements so that you can have a more comprehensive understanding of their potential effects.

Probiotics are a type of bacterium that are found in great quantities in your gut flora. There’s a tendency to think of bacteria as a bad thing, but your body actually contains billions of friendly bacteria which help it function. Probiotics are one of these good bacteria, and are actually living microorganisms found in your body. A probiotic supplement is a popular way of ingesting this good bacteria and increasing its presence in your body.

Do They Work For Acne?  

So now that we’ve outlined the basics of probiotics, let’s check out their applications for acne. First, let’s examine how acne is caused:

What is Acne?

Acne is a skin condition in which follicles become clogged by oil or dead skin. The result is bumps on your face in the form of blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples. Acne can present itself in varying degrees of severity, and can last for varying lengths of time. 

Some people are more predisposed to acne than others, and it affects people more prominently at different ages. People will turn to many methods to help or cure acne, and a probiotic is developing as a common method of treatment for this issue.

But the main question is to the probiotic’s effectiveness. While probiotics are surely more popular for their other touted benefits, their effect on acne is encouraging as well. Next up, we’ll examine some of the promising research in this area.

The Research on Probiotic Use for Acne 

Promising research points to the fact that probiotics could be successful in the treatment of acne. Probiotics might actually modify a few factors in pathophysiology of acne development and might improve the condition.

Understanding the science is a bit complicated. Basically, acne formation is dependent on several processes in the body. One of these processes is Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) colonization. The topical application of certain probiotics has been shown to modify the barrier function of the skin microbiome, which leads to an increase in certain antimicrobial properties. Specifically, certain topical probiotics have been shown to increase ceramide production in vitro and in vivo, which can exhibit direct antimicrobial activity against Propionibacterium acnes colonization.

So by decreasing the counts of P. acnes in the skin, probiotics target a major source of acne formation. By spurring the production of certain ceramides, they help to restore healthy fats, which can provide benefits to preventing acne formation directly. 

Overall, while there is promising research in probiotics's role in treating acne and targeting certain biological processes that lead to acne development, it is acknowledged that more research is needed in this area to conclude definitively.

The Bottom Line 

As you can see, there is promising research that probiotics can help with certain processes which lead to acne formation. And although more research is needed in this area, what is there is very encouraging. To learn more about probiotics, and also how to use them for acne treatment, read on.

How to Properly Use Probiotics

So, you’re interested in probiotics for acne treatment. You might now have one question – where do I start? 

There are so many products on the market that tout the benefits of probiotics. Sifting through these products and finding the best ones for acne treatment can be difficult. We’ll examine some of our favorites. 

The two main methods of supplementing probiotics is through ingestion or by utilizing topical products in your skincare routine. Let’s check them out in turn, and give you our top recommendations.

Topical Probiotics for Acne

The first option for supplementing probiotics for acne is to apply topical probiotic products to your skin. And, admittedly, we may be a bit biased, but we highly recommend our probiotic spray for this purpose. Let’s check it out:

Mother Dirt AO + Restorative Mist

Mother Dirt AO+ Restorative Mist is a probiotic spray which allows you to mist your face and body with a live & active culture as part of your skincare routine.

Mother Dirt touts a pretty extensive probiotic formula within this mist. They are the only probiotic which has a live patented bacteria to combat harmful bacteria on the skin.

This product has a very simple ingredient list, and has 4 biome-friendly ingredients which will restore balance to skin within 4 weeks. 

As we mentioned above, the research is quite promising as to the beneficial effect of probiotics for acne treatment. But even aside from the probiotics, the hydration benefits of this product alone are enough to make it worthwhile. This Mist results in smooth, comfortable skin health.

Application is easy. Simply mist onto your face and body with 3 or 4 good pumps, and rub gently or allow it to absorb on its own. Put special emphasis on your T-zone (nose and cheeks) as this is where acne tends to develop most.

The AO+ Restorative Mist is part of a The Difference: Active Probiotic System Acne Treatment Kit. The kit features a Probiotic Foaming Cleanser, Acne Treatment Lotion with salicylic acid, and the Mist. The 3 products work together to treat acne with FDA approved salicylic acid, and then restore your skin microbiome with probiotics, which is more holistic approach to solving skin issues. 

Ingesting Probiotics: Best Oral Probiotics for Acne

Your other option to supplement probiotics is to ingest probiotics in capsule form. This is probably the most popular way to supplement probiotics. It’s really up to you how you prefer to consume them.

What to look for in an oral probiotic

US Health Report’s guide on the top 5 things to look for in an oral probiotic is a great place to start. Some of the things they say to look for are:  

  • High CFU count. CFU stands for colony-forming unit, and is essentially the number of living/active micro-organisms in each serving of the probiotic.
  • Strain diversity - a diverse microbiome helps your gut stay healthy
  • Formulated with prebiotics to help you get the most out of your probiotic 

A Note On Consumption

As you can see, there are numerous methods of supplementing probiotics, be it orally or topically. Even within both categories, there are many products to choose from. We gave you our top two choices, but you are free to do more product research as you see fit.

It’s important to note that probiotic supplementation is not intended as a replacement for proper skin care. Although the research is promising as to the beneficial effects of probiotics for acne treatment, it should be done in conjunction with an overall healthy skin routine. It also heavily depends on personal genetics, age, and various other factors that make a person more or less susceptible to acne.

Other Benefits of Probiotics

Before we wrap up, it’s important to note that the benefits of probiotics don’t stop at acne treatment. Acne is not even the benefit that probiotics are mostly known for. Let’s check out a few more of the popular benefits of probiotics that are backed by research:

  • Digestive Health: Perhaps the most popular benefits of probiotics have to do with their effect on digestive health. There is a lot of encouraging research which points to the fact that probiotics can help with a variety of digestive issues – including diarrhea, IBS, and general gastrointestinal health.
  • Weight Loss: Probiotics are also popular for their effect on weight loss. In fact, some research suggests that gut microbiome health and bacterium plays a role in determining your body weight. In one controlled trial, taking a certain probiotic led to a decrease in belly fat among trial participants who were given a probiotic.
  • Inflammation: Probiotics may also contain a beneficial effect for helping with inflammation. 


As you can see, this is a rather complicated area of science. The science on probiotics is far from settled in many areas, but we hope we have helped you to understand all the promising research surrounding probiotic use for many different health factors. This article focused primarily on probiotic use for acne, and we examined all the encouraging research in this area.

We hope we have inspired you to add probiotics to your skin care regimen. Check out these products and get started on your path to better skin health!

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