There are literally hundreds of tips and tricks claiming to cure those pesky little blemishes that love to invade people's faces, from essential oils to masks to hardcore treatments. This is one I haven't heard, though — probiotics. In an interview with The Cut, Gisele Bündchen's makeup artist and founder of all-natural makeup brand RMS beauty, Rose-Marie Swift, shared that the healthy supplements are her secret to getting (and keeping) beautiful, clear skin.
Since I've only dreamed of achieving a perfect complexion since I entered my 20s, I am all ears about this. (Thanks for blessing me with immaculate skin as a teenager, body, and saving my all-out war against acne for 22. That's great.) She reasons, "Whatever is going on in your gut shows on your face... You've got to take megadoses [of probiotics]; you've got to fix that whole intestinal tract."
It almost makes too much sense: skin is the largest organ of the human body, after all. And I've had more than one dermatologist tell me that my frustrating and painful cysts, invisible and prominent alike, are not going to see much healing from topical treatments, because cystic acne is just too deep to be affected, for the most part.
Upon some further investigation, my sleuthing has uncovered that Swift isn't the only person with this opinion on probiotics: a news release published by the American Academy of Dermatology last February showed promising evidence for the healthy bacteria's effect on skin when applied topically or taken orally. Topically, probiotics can form a protective shield, and products including probiotics have antimicrobial properties on the skin as well as a calming effect. Orally, they help line the gut with a protective barrier to avoid inflammation caused by toxins entering the bloodstream, which is a result of stress and eating process foods, among other reasons.
Sure, cutting down on unhealthy foods and stress should be the first line of defense, but that's much easier said than done, especially when it comes to the latter. Probiotics can help reduce the visible effects of those factors when it comes to skin.
The bottom line? More research needs to be done, but "although I don’t envision probiotics ever being used as a stand-alone treatment for acne or rosacea, they could be used as an effective combination therapy with prescription medications or over-the-counter topical treatments," said Dr. Whitney Bowe, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Mt. Sinai Medical Center.
So maybe it's time I add probiotics to the mix of topical retinoids and oral medications I've been using, which have been unsuccessful thus far. It can't hurt, right? And hey, if Gisele trusts Swift with her face, I'm happy to trust her with mine.