Probiotic has become somewhat of a buzzword in the past few years. This form of "good" bacteria is renowned for keeping the human digestive system in tip-top condition, but beauty experts are beginning to experiment with adding it into all kinds of products from acne-busting treatments to everyday moisturisers. But what is probiotic skincare and does it really have the ability to make a difference to your skin?
The American Academy of Dermatology states that probiotics have three main benefits to the skin. One: this live bacteria forms a kind of shield. When applied directly to the skin, it stops skin cells from seeing "bad" bacteria and from triggering an inflammatory response that often results in redness and spots.
Two: some probiotics have the ability to produce a substance which is antimicrobial in nature, meaning it can banish the nasty bacteria sitting on the surface of your skin. Three: they send signals to skin cells not to react angrily to unwanted bacteria, producing a calming effect. Vogue also reports that probiotics can boost your skin's ability to deal with the effects of the environment and pollution.
Of course, all of this sounds great for anyone dealing with an inflammatory skin problem such as acne, eczema, or rosacea. But one expert believes that it's still unclear which method is more effective: applying a probiotic cream or swallowing a probiotic pill.
“While more studies are needed to identify the most beneficial aspects of probiotics and determine whether topical or oral probiotics yield the best results, I think we can expect to see some cutting-edge probiotic products for acne and rosacea in the near future,” dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe said in a statement.
“Until then, I would recommend that patients with acne or rosacea see their dermatologist to talk about adding foods with live active cultures, such as yoghurt, to their diets or taking an oral probiotic supplement daily. 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.”
Skincare website Paula's Choice advises those curious about probiotics to look for ingredients that begin with Lactobacillus, Bifidabacterium, or Vitreoscilla. It's also a good idea to be aware that decent probiotic skincare isn't likely to be housed in a jar due to its fragile nature.
Plenty of probiotic skincare products already exist on the market, promising to help improve things like inflammation and complexion.
Aurelia sells one of the biggest probiotic ranges from face and eye creams to body washes and deodorants. Unlike other brands, Aurelia doesn't use live bacteria or ingredients that work solely on the surface of the skin. Its non-live probiotic is mixed with a milk peptide and dives deeper into the skin. Aurelia states that its products can "calm the natural immune triggers in your skin" and "reduce the damage" these triggers cause to cells.
La Roche-Posay's moisturiser works in a slightly different way. It provides nutrients, known as prebiotics, for probiotics in the form of thermal spring water. It also contains Aqua Posae Filiformis (APF) which can improve dry skin conditions.
New skincare trends never do come cheap, do they?