When it comes to new probiotic skincare brands emerging, it's becoming a bit difficult to know which ones are the good ones. Looking closely, many of these probiotic skincare products don't contain any live bacteria, meaning they have prebiotics or postbiotics instead.
Mother Dirt was one of the first ones to introduce probiotic skincare products with live bacteria on them – in our famous AO+ Restorative Mist, of course. So, let's go down memory lane and find out what probiotics are and why they matter for our skin microbiome.
The Skin Microbiome
Our bodies are beautiful ecosystems and home to trillions of microorganisms that are too small to be detected by the human eye, including bacteria. Bacteria living on the surface of your skin make up your skin microbiome, which serves as your first line of defense against foreign invaders, toxins and harmful substances.
A strong, healthy and balanced skin microbiome means that there are enough beneficial bacteria to keep pathogens and environmental aggressors at bay. In other words, beneficial bacteria are essential to keeping the peace, and a peaceful microbiome means skin that appears healthy, vibrant and clear.
We know what you're thinking - if our skin has its natural checks and balances in place, how does it become imbalanced in the first place?
What Causes Imbalances?
Just like your gut microbiome can get knocked out and imbalanced, so too can your skin microbiome. This imbalance causes many chronic skin conditions, and traditional skincare is one of the leading contributing factors.
Rather than nourish skin, traditional skincare has worked against the skin and disrupted its natural biological state. Your beneficial bacteria love a natural pH level of 5, but many soaps contain harsh ingredients with a pH of 10.
These high levels of alkalinity can cause both damage the skin barrier and throw off the necessary environment that beneficial bacteria need to thrive. Studies have shown that this imbalance can lead to inflammatory responses and leave us vulnerable to environmental aggressors and toxins. In other words, it gives the bad bacteria an open invitation to come in and wreak havoc.
So how can we repair the damage caused by traditional skincare and restore our skin's natural, healthy balance?
Probiotics And Your Microbiome
Essentially, probiotics are live microorganisms that support the healthy bacteria in your body. Probiotics can help fend off harmful bacteria to maintain a balanced skin microbiome. When consumed or applied topically on the skin or hair, they can improve or restore the microbiota.
Achieving a perfect balance of the microbiome can ensure harmful bacteria levels are kept at non-disrupting numbers to prevent infections or bacterial overpopulation. Probiotics help maintain this balance.
The best way to support your skin microbiome and repair the imbalance caused by traditional skincare is to give the beneficial bacteria back. "Probiotics" is just another way of saying "beneficial bacteria," and topical probiotics benefit the skin in three key ways.
- First, they act as a protective shield to prevent more bad bacteria from entering your microbiome.
- Second, they actively combat harmful bacteria that have made their way in.
- And third, they repair skin function to better deal with environmental stressors like pollution.
In addition to probiotics, prebiotics and postbiotics are essential to the balance of your skin microbiome. Prebiotics feed the probiotics so they can multiply, thrive and diversify. And postbiotics are by-products of bacteria that offer anti-inflammatory benefits.
So what does all this mean for your skin? On the surface, restoring your skin microbiome with probiotics translates into healthier, glowing skin and a clearer complexion, no matter your skin type.
Probiotics sound pretty amazing, right? But not all probiotics are created equal.
Our Revolutionary Discovery
About 100 years ago, our skin contained a powerful bacteria called ammonia-oxidizing Bacteria (AOB). AOB was the ultimate peacekeeper and protected skin from everything: bad bacteria, harmful substances and environmental aggressors.
But since it was nowhere to be found on most modern skin, how do we know that it even existed? The answer lay with the Yanomami, a group of people indigenous to the Amazon rainforest. Untouched by developed environments and traditional skincare, the Yanomami still have AOB on their skin in a native, healthy state.
When our MIT scientists figured out a way to biohack it back in, we knew we were onto something revolutionary. We made it our mission to give skin back what it was missing, restore its health and bring it back to life for good.