Every now and again, a ‘new’ diet or supplement or exercise program comes along and takes the world by storm. Of course, some of them are clearly fads designed by the unscrupulous to separate the unwitting from their unguarded cash.
But some, like probiotics, have more value – and more staying power. What’s especially interesting these days is all the new research showing how useful probiotics for skin health truly are.
Here we’ll take a look at what makes probiotics for skin care such an attractive choice, examine which probiotics are good for skin, and finally close out with a few product recommendations.
But first, a little background:
Enter probiotics for skin health
Probiotics are suddenly back in the news – this time not for promoting the health of your gut biome, but for helping to keep your skin healthy.
By now, we should all be pretty familiar with probiotics.
The nutritional supplements that are marketed under the broad classification of probiotics are actually made up of dozens of different strains of billions of different individual live bacteria.
These bacteria match the types we carry around in our gut biome every day, and are cultured live and packaged in capsules or in a liquid suspension to take as daily supplements.
There are millions of people around the world who take one strain or several strains of probiotics in order to help with a variety of issues that stem from poor gut biome health.
Some common issues that are ameliorated by probiotics include some that are expected: digestive disorders, bloating, and gassiness for starters.
But as the science evolves, we’re learning from the latest studies showing that probiotics are also beneficial for heart health, blood sugar regulation, fat loss, immune system health, autoimmune disorders and inflammatory disorders.
There’s even some evidence showing they can have an effect on super unexpected outcomes like alleviating fatigue levels and reducing the severity of depression.
But even after all that, the well-deserved 15 minutes of fame for these miracle bugs isn’t over yet. That’s because new studies are making tremendous inroads into showing us the benefits of probiotics for skin health – and fellas, it ain’t just for the chicks.
Probiotics for Skin – Even manly, manly skin
While most of us probably have some idea of how important probiotics are to our ‘inner life’ – that is, the balance and stability of our gut biome – it’s important to understand just how reliant we are on these creatures for our overall health, including the health of our skin.
The reason for that is because, in many ways, we are them.
Yes, Virginia, Santa Claus is the gazillion or so little bacteria swimming around inside you, deciding who’s been naughty and who’s been nice with regard to what you put in your body.
The thing is though, given the fact that our bodies are made up of something like 50 percent bacteria, you not only have a biome living in your gut, you’ve got billions of the critters making up your skin biome as well.
We take physical damage constantly in this modern world, and skin being the first line of defense against this harsh environment, it’s your skin microbiome that bears the brunt of it.
For instance, you may love that post-summer vacation glow, but UV damage to your skin means damage to your skin biome. As does a poor diet, overindulgence in alcohol and other substances, not staying properly hydrated, being out in open exposed to airborne pollutants, and more.
How do you know if your skin microbiome is out of balance?
You might encounter lingering issues with issues like:
These issues and other skin problems can be ameliorated by judicious use of probiotic skin care products, as we’ll show.
Probiotics for skin health and a holistic approach
Most of us have been conditioned by modern medicine to view these and other kinds of health issues as singular events – that is, individual problems for which you use a cream or take a pill until it goes away and then you go on your merry way.
However, more and more consensus is emerging around a more holistic approach to health care.
Now, holistic is a term that gets tossed around casually, and it’s casually misunderstood and casually mocked as well.
However, all it really means is viewing the human body not as a car in which discrete mechanical parts wear out or malfunction and must be repaired individually.
But, rather as a human being with each organ and process inextricably linked up and interconnected with each other and viewing the organism as an entire system.
So when it comes to probiotics for skin care, what this means in real world terms is that your skin microbiome will benefit from taking probiotic capsules and using topical probiotic skin care creams and lotions in a variety of ways.
Getting yourself on a solid probiotics for skin program can help to:
Enhance the skin’s strength against environmental attackers.
Promote the ability of the skin to remain properly hydrated.
Reduce or even eliminate issues that can set off sensitized, reddened skin.
Visibly enhance the appearance of your skin, reducing dryness.
Increase your skin’s elasticity, ridding you of that tight, uncomfortable sensation from dry skin
Return your skin’s surface to a proper pH balance.
Probiotics for skin: Which ones are best?
But let’s get down to brass tacks. There are a number of topical probiotics for skin care products out there and they all tout different specific probiotic strains. However, there are some important studies describing the skin benefits of certain strains.
Among them are:
Lactobacillus acidophilus is one of the most common and most popular probiotics. It can be found naturally occurring in yogurt and fermented foods, and pretty much every multi-probiotic supplement contains it.
However, did you know that as far back as Cleopatra’s time, people have touted the use of lactobacillus for keeping the skin young, healthy and glowing? The clue is in the first part of the name: lacto- of course refers to lactic acid, found in milk.
But if you don’t want to be bothered with taking a milk bath like the Queen of the Nile, try a topical probiotic skin care product that contains lactobacillus. And you might make sure you’re getting plenty of it in supplement form as well.
One Korean study showed that when a group of patients with severe acne were given a lactobacillus-fermented dairy beverage, over the course of 12 weeks time their total acne lesion count and their skin oil production were significantly reduced.
Closely related to lactobacillus is bifidobacterium. It also occurs naturally in dairy products, and has been shown to help a great deal with internal problems like diarrhea, constipation, and some users even swear by it to help reduce the length and severity of the common cold.
As one of the main probiotics for skin health, bifidobacterium is well known for helping to alleviate eczema, as well as help people with sensitive skin. Crucially, it is also known for helping your skin retain moisture.
These are the two most common probiotics to be found in probiotic skincare products, but there are many more as well. Keep in mind that diversity is the key.
As Dr Whitney Bowe, clinician at Mount Sinai in New York and author of ‘The Beauty of Dirty Skin’ puts it, “The greater the variety of bacterial species on the skin, the healthier its barrier will be, and the less dryness, inflammation, itching, and stinging you’ll experience.”
Here are a few of the top-rated products out there for giving your skin that healthy, lively glow:
Best robiotic facial cleanser – Tula Purifying Probiotic Face Cleanser
This soothing gel formula gives your skin a hydrating clean that gets deep into your pores but is still gentle. Tula is a leader in probiotic skincare products, and they rely heavily on Lactobacillus, but also infuse this gel with superfoods and antioxidants like turmeric root and blueberries to give you that healthy glow. $29.99 on Amazon.
Best probiotic skin care moisturizer – Biossance Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer
Biossance and its users tout this product’s usefulness to not only moisturize your skin, but treat it as well. The hydrating and soothing cream will help get rid of redness and treat skin sensitivity, bringing you the anti-aging oil squalane as well as a blend of probiotics. $69.98 on Amazon.
Best probiotic skin care serum – Probiotic Serum from Annmarie
Yeah, the packaging and marketing screams middle-aged Goop acolyte, but once you’ve tried this serum you’ll understand why it should be considered one of the best probiotic skincare products for men as well.
Annemarie’s Probiotic Serum penetrates the skin deeply, delivering a probiotic ferment blend as well as soothing ingredients like aloe vera to help bring back your skin’s natural microbiome balance and keep you looking healthy. $69 on Amazon.
Blitz yourself better!
This article contains general nutritional tips and advice. However, no diet or exercise program should be started without consulting your physician or other industry professionals first. For more information, read our full disclaimer here.