Probiotics are health-promoting bacteria that can improve not just gut conditions (where the vast majority of probiotic research has been focused), but skin conditions, too — including rosacea. To find out more about how probiotics work in relation to skin health — and to narrow down the best probiotics for rosacea, specifically — I got in touch with Dr. Whitney Bowe, M.D., a New York-based dermatologist and author of The Beauty of Dirty Skin: The Surprising Science of Looking and Feeling Radiant from the Inside Out.
According to Dr. Bowe, a compromised gut “can allow bad bacteria to ‘leak’ out of your intestines and to then travel throughout your body via your bloodstream. Your immune system marks these foreign substances as threats and therefore attacks them. This, in turn, gives rise to many substantial health issues. You can also have ‘leaky’ skin. When your skin microbiome is off balance, meaning that the healthy balance of good bacteria on your skin is not intact, this can compromise your skin’s natural barrier. This leads to inflammation, and chronic skin conditions," including rosacea.
In other words, focusing on improving your gut health can have a major impact on your skin. Skin-benefiting probiotics are often found in fermented foods and beverages, like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha. “Upon ingestion, they help preserve the gut lining, balance the body’s pH, regulate immunity, act as natural antibiotics, control inflammation, and more," Dr. Bowe explains. And though Dr. Bowe believes it's best to consume probiotics through these wholly natural sources, oral probiotic supplements can also help. These supplements aim to promote gut and skin health by regulating our immune system, fighting off bad bacteria, and preventing the interrelated conditions of a leaky gut and leaky skin.