What Is Probiotic Skincare?

1. What is the microbiome?

2. What are probiotics?

a. What are prebiotics?

3. What are the benefits of probiotics?

4. Are probiotics good for the skin?

a. Do probiotics improve skin health?



You’ve probably heard the words “prebiotic” and “probiotic” before. Doctors and wellness experts have been praising probiotics for years, saying that they have the ability to improve gut flora in the digestive tract and boost the immune system. Just like your gut, your skin barrier is home to a diverse network of microorganisms, so it, too, can benefit from prebiotics and probiotics. But you might still be wondering: What are probiotics for skin? Are probiotics good for your skin?.


Right now, one of the most-talked-about skincare ingredients is bacteria strains designed to work from the outside in. New research is showing that probiotics can have microbiome-balancing properties when applied topically to the skin. Sounds intriguing, right? We dig deep into the latest skincare trend. We break down the essentials so you can find a probiotic-laced skincare regimen that works for you.



1. What is the microbiome?


We can’t talk about probiotics skincare products without first explaining what the microbiome is. Both inside and out, the body is home to trillions of microorganisms that consist of bacteria as well as fungi and viruses. In fact, the skin has 1 billion microbes (bacteria) per square centimetre, and that natural beneficial bacteria help support the immune system, provide nutrients for cells and prevent the invasion of harmful pathogens and viruses. To put this into context, consider this: The entire body is made up of 50% human cells and 50% bacteria cells. Just like the bacteria in the gut, these essential bacteria exist to fight infections, protect the body from environmental damage and can even keep skin looking clear, plump and dewy.
Diversity is critical to the health of the skin’s microbiome. Basically, the more variety of beneficial bacterial species on the skin the healthier the barrier will be, and that’s where probiotic skincare comes into play.



2. What are probiotics?


Probiotics are live microorganisms that are beneficial to your health, both topically and internally. These microorganisms occur naturally within and on the body but can also be taken in supplement form or from foods with “good” bacteria and certain types of yeasts. Foods prepared by bacterial fermentation such as kefir, yogurt and kimchi are chock-full of probiotics. Now, probiotic-infused skincare is yet another way to feed your skin and help create a more balanced and healthier microbiome on the skin.


a. What are prebiotics?


The counterpart to probiotics is prebiotics, which are essentially foods made from carbohydrates found in fibre-rich fruits and vegetables that help to nourish the friendly bacteria (probiotics) that are already in your gut.



3. What are probiotics good for?


Probiotics are part of a larger picture concerning bacteria and your microbiome. They may contain a variety of microorganisms, but the most common are bacteria that belong to groups called Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. These good bacteria help you in many ways, including promoting a healthy balance of gut bacteria that has been linked to a wide range of health benefits. But what are the benefits of probiotics in general? Well, they can include weight loss, digestive health support and boost immune function, lessening the severity of allergies and the improvement of the skin’s health. While probiotics are well known in the food and supplement world, applying probiotics topically within skincare is new territory.



4. Are probiotics good for the skin?


The idea of putting microbes on your skin might give you pause; you’re probably asking yourself: Can probiotics cause itchy skin? Or, worse: Can probiotics cause skin rash? In short, probiotics ingested or applied topically aren’t directly linked to skin reactions or rashes; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. What are the benefits of probiotics in skincare, you ask? Simply put, they help protect the skin by ensuring that it has what it needs to keep its barrier intact. Plus, probiotics can help balance the skin’s microbiome, thereby reducing the risk of redness and dryness. They’re now being used as a treatment for atopic skin. Research and studies are touting probiotics as an effective treatment for chronic skin conditions such as eczema.


a. Do probiotics improve skin?


Harsh facial cleansers and antibacterial soaps strip your skin of healthy bacteria and disrupt and damage the biodiversity of your microbiome. Consequently, this stresses out skin and leads to dryness and other issues like breakouts and eczema flare-ups. Probiotic-infused products can benefit the skin in several ways. Using probiotic-laced products like a face cleanser with probiotics or a face moisturizer with probiotics adds bacteria back to the skin, helping to restore and maintain its balance. Unlike most acne cleansers, Vichy Normaderm Anti-Acne Purifying Gel Cleanser won’t strip the skin. The oil- and soap-free formula is infused with Bifidus Probiotic, which is the best kind of probiotics for clear skin. The addition of Bifidus Probiotic reinforces the skin’s natural defences while helping the acne-fighting ingredients (salicylic acid and zinc) in the formula to perform without irritating the skin. It also helps foster a rich microbial community that boosts the skin’s functionality in dealing with external damaging factors such as pollution, UV rays and free radicals. They act as a protective shield by preventing bad microorganisms from provoking a reaction. Finally, they produce antimicrobial peptides that combat bad bacteria.



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