Probiotic skin care is a newer phenomenon with an amazing array of possibilities. Is this a trend that will quickly pass or should probiotics be the new staple in your skincare regimen? I set out to discover the truth behind this trend and make an informed professional decision.
Honestly, at first it sounds a bit gross. We are being encouraged to apply microscopic living bacteria to the skin. These organisms, called probiotics, can be found in cleansers, toners, serums, moisturizers and even in your SPF. In response to this trend, I asked myself 3 primary questions.
What does the science and data conclude about probiotics in our skin care, are all probiotics created equal and can these organisms really live outside the refrigerator? What I discovered might surprise you.
The skin microbiome
Recently, science discovered a new layer to our skin. This layer is called the skin microbiome. Similar to the gut microbiome our skin microbiome is composed of billions of microorganisms. This layer acts like a protective shell for our skin.
All About the Skin Microbiome (And 5 ways to keep it in balance)
The biggest takeaway from research on the skin microbiome is the absolute confirmation that, just like our gut microbiome, we have billions of microorganisms living within our skin. However, just like our gut health, the skin microbiome can get out of balance and needs support. This is where probiotics in skin care can come to the rescue.
How the skin microbiome works
The skin microbiome contains “good” and “bad” bacteria at all times. These bacteria work together to keep external attacks at bay, but we have to be careful to maintain more of the good bacteria to keep our skin health and appearance at optimum. When the bad bacteria over produce, imbalances in the skin like acne, rosacea and water and collagen loss can all result.
The bad bacteria can overgrow on our skin from environmental influences like pollutants and temperature extremes, as well as from dehydration, dietary imbalances, topical scrubbing or application of harsh product ingredients. These are some examples when our actions or environments kill off the good bacteria and create a skin state where bad bacteria will thrive. When bad bacteria levels rise, a decline in skin health quickly results. What can we do about this?
7 Ways TO MAINTAIN SKIN BACTERIA BALANCE
- Use pH balanced products, such as the Aloe Herb Cleanser [Bad bacteria thrive within imbalanced pH]
- Apply skin care with pure organic ingredients [These won’t harm good bacteria]
- Be gentle with your skin [ex: limit or avoid harsh scrubbing and exfoliants]
- Avoid toxic preservatives in your skin and body care [these can kill your good skin bacteria]
- HYDRATE. [dehydrated skin kills good bacteria, stimulate bad bacteria]
- Apply prebiotic and probiotic skin care [these feed and boost good bacteria on the skin]
- Regulate your body temperature [good bacteria on our skin is happy at our preferred body temperature of 98.6 degrees; in a higher or low temperature, bad bacteria can thrive]
With the above actions, you can support your skin’s microbiome, keep your good bacteria levels up and make sure these microorganisms are able to protect and care for your skin effectively.
The scientific results show having probiotics in skin care is beneficial for your skin health—but what are the visual results that you can experience by incorporating these living friends in your daily skin care?
5 Benefits of Probiotic Skin Care
Probiotics help protect the skin against environmental stressors and keep these elements in check.
Probiotic skin care improves the level of hydration of your skin through preventing and limiting skin water loss.
Using a probiotic based skin product can prevent the appearance of breakouts, temporarily reduce the appearance of redness, and calm the skin.
4. Sensitive skin included!
Probiotics work to repair the skin, and are gentle enough to use on sensitive skin, Not only are they safe to use, but they have positive effects on sensitive skin.
Probiotics reduce the appearance of aging, fine lines and wrinkles, and prevent the further look of aging through protecting against environmental stressors.
A powerful skin ally
This powerful list of benefits for probiotics in skin care is why you are seeing so many probiotics skin care products popping up everywhere. The discovery of the skin microbiome has stimulated a new direction and understanding of how we can care for and support our skin health and appearance.
The scientific research and data as it emerges has been consistently building the list of benefits probiotics (living bacteria) and prebiotics (the food our bacteria thrive on) and how these can affect change in the skin. How do they work though?
The science behind probiotic skin care
One example is through the fermentation process, probiotic bacteria produce acidic compounds like lactic acid, reducing the pH of skin. Acidifying the skin discourages the growth of most pathogens favoring growth of resident flora, the good bacteria.
When your good bacteria is thriving, the above list of skin care benefits can result. With the increased science supporting these results it has motivated me to try probiotic enhanced skin care. There was one other question that made me hesitate though. If my products contain living bacteria, why don’t the labels say that I need to refrigerate them?
WHAT ABOUT REFRIGERATION?
One of the first things I was a bit skeptical about when first hearing about probiotics skin care is that the majority of products are bottled and put on the shelf without requiring refrigeration.
Previously, my exposure to probiotic enhanced foods included mostly yogurt, dairy products and beverages like kefir and kombucha. All of these very clearly stated they must be kept in the fridge and all have a short expiration date.
So, what’s different between the probiotics pill supplements and probiotics skin care products? More importantly, if these bacteria are supposed to be alive, how do they survive outside of the refrigerator?
Freeze dried probiotics
Enter the concept of “freeze dried” probiotics. In this preserved powder state the levels of bacteria have been tested and found to mostly maintain consistency. The manufacturers enhance the levels to account for subtle losses based on the assumed effects of packaging, storing or shipping.
Fascinatingly, as long as air, moisture levels and extreme temperature changes are controlled, the bacteria content will be within the effective range intended for the product even without keeping it in the fridge.
Storing your probiotic skin care
It is important to note that temperature and the expiration date are very important in formulations that don’t need to be refrigerated though. If the product is not kept in a dark cool place, the healthy good bacteria levels will decline. Also, as you near the expiration date the bacteria content significantly decreases and the effectiveness will be impacted.
Skin care containing probiotics is no different, it will simply have a shorter life span so pay close attention to the expiration dates on these products.
ARE ALL PROBIOTICS THE SAME?
The last thing to note when considering probiotics in your skin care products is that diverse bacteria on our skin have different jobs. With this in mind, it is not surprising that there are a range of probiotics that our skin care can be enhanced with.
Different oils affect the skin differently and diverse strains of probiotics also will create a variety of results. Keep this in mind when you are trying a new product out. If the probiotics strain you tried didn’t give you the results you were looking for, it might be worth trying a different formulation.
Common strains of probiotics
Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium have emerged as two of the most commonly used probiotics, although newer strains such as Bacillus coagulans are being investigated with positive results. The following are the most common strains found in skin care today, each with different intended benefits and results.
- Lactobacillus plantarum – found to improve skin’s appearance in patients with acne.
- Lactobacillus Ferment Lysate – found to reduce temporary appearance of redness, maintain pH balance, and prevent water loss.
- Lactococcus Ferment Lysate – found to protect against environmental stressors.
- Enterococcus faecalis – found to be effective in individuals with acne.
- Streptococcus thermophiles – found to significantly increase stratum corneum oil levels and skin hydration.
- Bifidobacterium longum – found to help sensitive skin and reduce water loss.
- Bifida Ferment – found to help your skin retain moisture and protect against environmental stressors
- Bacillus Coagulans – found to have strong protective properties and to help with hydration of the skin, which makes it ideal for dehydrated, stressed, or sensitive skin.
- Aqua Posae Filiformis – a postbiotic that has been found to balance your skin and improve hydration.
Do Your Research
As you can see, there are a variety of options to choose from with varying intended results. Since it is a newer discovery, I look forward to seeing more research done studying the results of topically applying these good bacteria.
However, I have high hopes that these living friends could be the key to finally fully treating a variety of skin imbalances. In the meantime, trend or not, I feel it’s definitely worth it to give them a try. Check out the Probiotic Serum with Tremella to give probiotic skin care a try!
All About the Skin Microbiome (And 5 ways to keep it in balance)
Probiotics For Skin Explained (60 Studies): Everything You Need to Know in 2019
Could probiotics be the next big thing in acne and rosacea treatments
Are skincare products with probiotics worth the hype?
Health effects of probiotics on the skin.
4 Probiotics That Might Be The Answer To All Your Skin Care Woes
BACTERIA HACK: PRE- AND PROBIOTICS IN SKINCARE
Why Probiotic Skin Care Is Worth The Hype, According To Experts
Does Acidophilus Need to be Refrigerated?
Some Surprising Results from Tests of 43 Probiotic Supplements and Kefir Drinks
Do probiotic pills require refrigeration?
The effect of probiotics on immune regulation, acne, and photoaging