The 3 Best Probiotics For Acne

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Considering the many benefits of taking probiotics, it makes sense that you’d want to track down the best probiotics for acne, too. After all, probiotics help keep your gut healthy and balanced, and the health of your gut can have a major impact on your skin.

Whitney Bowe, MD, 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, is one of many experts who believes that healing our skin starts by healing our gut. As Dr. Bowe tells Bustle, “When our intestinal lining is working properly, it forms a tight barrier which controls what is absorbed into our bloodstream. However, a compromised gut lining allows toxins, undigested food particles, and 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. But, 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 which in turn results in chronic skin conditions including acne and rosacea.”

“Oral probiotics support the health of the ‘good bugs’ that make up our microbiome, to keep our gut and skin healthy," Dr. Bowe explains. That includes preventing a leaky gut and consequently leaky skin, because the two are intimately related. Additionally, Dr. Bowe suggests adding fermented foods and beverages to your diet (including Greek yogurt, kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, pickles, and kombucha) for even more probiotic benefits.

Below are four well-reviewed probiotics in both oral and topical form, whether you're dealing with run-of-the-mill breakouts or chronically inflamed skin. Scroll on to shop now.


The Overall Best Probiotic For Acne

Vitamin Bounty makes an extremely highly-rated probiotic, with more than 5,400 five-star Amazon reviews and an overall rating of 4.7 stars. It contains 13 strains of probiotics, including lactobacillus paracasei, which Dr. Bowe says "has anti-inflammatory properties and helps strengthen the skin barrier to prevent moisture loss," and may benefit people with acne, rosacea, eczema, and generally dry, sensitive skin.

Many users find that this supplement has improved their skin and overall health, such as one who reported, "I was having ongoing issues with acne and sporadic IBS. Within days of taking the recommended dose, my skin cleared up and my IBS subsided. This is just amazing. No more bloat, no more acne!"


The Best Chewable Probiotic For Acne

A well-known brand's offering, Culturelle's daily probiotic is an easily tolerated chewable probiotic for people who prefer not to have to swallow their supplements. It's made with lactobacillus rahamnosus GG, which may improve gut health and immune response. That, in turn, may improve your overall health, including that of your skin, and is a particularly good choice if you have gut-related conditions including IBS and bloating, in addition to acne.

One reviewer wrote, "These are great. I've been using them on and off for years! They really help get your body in order."


The Best Probiotic For Clear, Healthy Skin

This Codeage Skin Probiotic contains 19 strains of probiotics, including both strains of probiotics called out by Dr. Bowe: the anti-inflammatory, skin-strengthening lactobacillus paracasei, and bacillus coagulans, which she says is "shown to have positive effects on immune function to the extent that it may reduce the production of free radicals, which means it could potentially help control acne." The brand says these supplements will promote generally clearer, more radiant skin, so whether you're dealing with acne or not, it's definitely worthy trying.

"I used to have very problematic skin and get hormonal breakouts every month and I’ve noticed since taking this product that my skin hasn’t had ANY breakouts for months," commented one reviewer. Another wrote, "These probiotics are amazing. My skin is glowing and has never looked better."

Can taking probiotics clear acne?

It may come as a surprise to you, but scientists are still figuring out the exact causes of acne today. That said, there is mounting evidence that probiotics can be beneficial in treating acne. Probiotics can help to balance the immune system and reduce inflammation in the body, including inflammation of the skin.

But always keep in mind that your microbiome is unique, which means that what works for another person might not work for you, and vice versa.

Does gut bacteria cause acne?

Research has shown that the microbes in your gut can influence inflammation in the body. Since acne is an inflammatory skin condition, it's possible that an imbalance in your microbial environment could contribute to acne.

Can probiotics worsen acne?

There's a chance that taking a new probiotic might worsen acne, at least at first. When you alter the microbial environment in your gut, you may see temporary changes in your skin, including breakouts. One approach recommended by Mary Schook, an aesthetician and cosmetic chemist, is to give probiotics a "breakout period" before determining if they could work to treat your acne in the long run.

Studies referenced:

Kober, M., & Bowe, W. P. (2015). The effect of probiotics on immune regulation, acne, and photoaging. International Journal of Women's Dermatology,

Lee, Byun, & Kim. (2019). Potential Role of the Microbiome in Acne: A Comprehensive Review. Journal of Clinical Medicine,

Salem, I., Ramser, A., Isham, N., & Ghannoum, M. A. (2018). The Gut Microbiome as a Major Regulator of the Gut-Skin Axis. Frontiers in Microbiology,

Szántó, M., Dózsa, A., Antal, D., Szabó, K., Kemény, L., & Bai, P. (2019). Targeting the gut‐skin axis—Probiotics as new tools for skin disorder management? Experimental Dermatology,


Dr. Whitney Bowe, MD, board-certified dermatologist, Medical Director of Integrative Dermatology, Aesthetics & Wellness at Advanced Dermatology, P.C., and Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center.

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