There is a lot of hype surrounding probiotics and the benefits they offer when used in skin care products. But what exactly are these bacteria-filled actives and are they beneficial topically?
Simply put, probiotics are microorganisms that naturally live on the surface of the skin, creating a protective veil referred to as the skin’s microbiome. When the microbiome is in balance, it helps offset factors that can negatively influence skin causing redness, breakout, dryness, and a weakened barrier that quickly shows signs of aging.
Research has identified the importance of gut bacteria and this has led to a vast increase in development and near obsession with probiotic supplements, foods, and drinks, for example kombucha, kimchi, and kefir. Although oral consumption of probiotics may prove to be helpful, the skin has its own unique flora and has been shown to benefit from targeted skin care.
Probiotic skin care, however, does have its challenges. Probiotics are live bacteria needing refrigeration. Thus, we are seeing the use of postbiotics, a derivative of probiotics known as lysates, as they do not need a cooler temperature to stay viable. Another complexity is that each person has a different need in terms of their skin microflora and that microflora is inherently different in different environments on the skin.
Keeping the microflora of skin balanced can:
What is even more fascinating is that probiotics and postbiotics seem to work in harmony with other skin care ingredients. As the probiotics break down on the skin’s surface, they stimulate the skin’s natural production of hyaluronic acid, peptides, and vitamins, as well as increase the presence of ceramides. This, in turn, leads to diminished signs of aging, better hydration, and a radiance that is visible proof of the skin’s renewed vitality.