Meet The New Guard Of Moisturizers — & They All Contain One Key Ingredient


Whether you think the concept is cool or gross, bacteria in skin care products are really beneficial for your skin, for the same reason that the bacteria in fermented foods (like kombucha and kimchi) are really beneficial for your gut. In both scenarios, probiotics swoop in to balance, diversify, and propagate the good bacteria already present in your body while warding off the bad. Not for nothing, applying probiotics topically can make your skin look glowier, bouncier, clearer, and — in the case of the best probiotic moisturizers in particular — feel deeply hydrated.

Probiotics in the best skin care products with probiotics are microorganisms that mimic the functions of naturally occurring good bacteria already in your skin microbiome. Put simply, a balanced microbiome bolsters your skin against pathogenic bacteria (both endogenous and environmental) that can lead to conditions like eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, inflammation, and acne. A strong skin barrier is better able to retain moisture, too. So probiotics in moisturizers are just supercharging the product’s other hydrating ingredients, in addition to probiotics’ myriad other jobs that we all appreciate so much.

The four best probiotic moisturizers here suit a range of budgets and skin types — including acne-prone skin and sensitive skin, both of which can especially benefit from probiotics' balancing effects — but they’ll all give your skin the boost of hydration and bacteria it needs. Yum.


The Overall Best Probiotic Moisturizer For Most

This TULA Skincare 24-7 Moisture Hydrating Day & Night Cream is a great choice if you’re looking for an all-purpose probiotic moisturizer for day and night use, regardless of your skin type. Let’s start with its dreamy texture: It’s rich and creamy, but not overly dense — think more low-fat yogurt, less Greek yogurt — and there’s a hint of refreshing wetness to it. It sinks in quickly, dries to a velvety-soft finish, and somehow balances both halves of my combination skin (hydrates the dry, lightly mattifies the oily). Plus, it makes my skin immediately firmer and more elastic to the touch, so I love using it as part of my pre-makeup routine. At $52 for a 1.7-ounce pot, this moisturizer is definitely a splurge. But a little goes a long way: I’ve been using it almost every morning for the past two weeks, and I’m still working through the product stuck to the top of the lid.


The Best Probiotic Moisturizer For Acne-Prone Skin

Lots of skin care products with probiotics can help prevent and clear breakouts — probiotics contribute to healthier-functioning skin generally, and just one function of a balanced skin barrier is staving off the bad bacteria that leads to acne and inflammation. That said, some probiotic skin care products might include aggravating ingredients, like synthetic fragrances and alcohols, that could negate all the good things those probiotics are doing.

So your safest bet is to go for a probiotic moisturizer designed especially for treating congested skin, like this Glowbiotics MD Probiotic Clarifying Lotion. In addition to probiotics, the formula contains an impressive number of proprietary blends that target typical acne-prone skin concerns, like killing bacteria, reducing redness and inflammation, and absorbing excess oil on the skin’s surface. To counteract the drying effects of these powerful clarifying ingredients, the formula also contains hyaluronic acid and glycerin (two of the best, non-oily moisturizing ingredients), so your skin will feel soft and hydrated.


The Best Probiotic Moisturizer For Sensitive Skin

Like people with acne-prone skin, people with sensitive skin can safely use and benefit from probiotic skin care products, since a balanced microbiome is less vulnerable to irritation and inflammation. But if you have very sensitive or irritation-prone skin, you’ll feel even more secure using a calming, ultra-gentle probiotic moisturizer. This TULA Super Soothe Calming Moisturizing Lotion has worked really well on my sensitive skin. Like all TULA products, this lotion is free of common irritants like fragrance, alcohol, and mineral oil. Instead, it contains naturally derived skin-soothers like cucumber, aloe, and colloidal oatmeal (the stuff your parents might have poured into your bath if you ever had chickenpox as a kid). Since it’s non-comedogenic in addition to very calming, you can also opt for this lotion whenever you’re dealing with a breakout.


The Best Affordable Probiotic Moisturizer

As you now know, probiotics do basically everything good for your skin. But in particular, this Andalou Naturals Probiotic + C Renewal Cream focuses on rejuvenating compromised skin cells, healing sun damage, evening out skin tone, and boosting your skin’s overall radiance, which all sounds great to me. In here, bacillius coagulans, a powerful vegan probiotic, teams up with antioxidants, plant-based oils, and nourishing glycerin for brightening and hydration while actively bolstering your skin barrier. Reviewers confirm that this moisturizer works on all skin types, and its firming and brightening effects are instantly noticeable. Pretty amazing that it goes for less than $20 on Amazon.

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Studies referenced:

The Skin Microbiome, Elizabeth Grice-Julia Segre -

The Gut Microbiome As a Major Regulator Of the Gut-skin Axis, Iman Salem-Amy Ramser-Nancy Isham-Mahmoud Ghannoum -