Right now, a new breed of probiotics are taking centre stage. Step forward an arsenal of topical beauty products like cleansers, moisturizers + serums, packed with the friendly bacteria that promise to soothe inflammation, strengthen the skin's barrier and even diminish acne.
Sounds legit, right?
But is it really worth incorporating probiotics into your ever-expanding skin regime already packed with the likes of hyaluronic acid, retinol + a multitude of vitamins to name but a few?
Here's why probiotic skincare is the key to to keeping your skin in good health...
What Exactly Are Probiotics?
In General: Probiotics are live bacteria (the good kind) + yeasts which hold key benefits for the overall health of our digestive system. Found in yoghurts + supplements, they have the ability to block pathogens + balance bacteria in the gut to fight off bloating, stomach cramps + other issues.
In Skincare The name 'probiotic' comes from Latin meaning 'for life', which is fitting because 'probiotic' is the term used to describe 'beneficial live micro-organisms that transfer various food sources into a rich fusion of concentrated nutrients to nourish our bodies'. Probiotic Skincare is a top 2017 Skincare Trend and it’s important to understand quality variances. Some brands only use 'freeze dried' probiotic methods while others use 'active' probiotic methods.
#1 – FREEZE DRIED METHODS -GOOD vs. BAD BACTERIA
Probiotic skin care is a relatively new trend and the name can be misleading. The concept of 'probiotics' is for the beneficial placement of live microorganisms onto your skin. One has to remember that in order to produce any skin care product, formulators must make sure that the shelf life of the product is at least 6-12 months. In order to do that, they have to kill any micro-organisms through a heat process during the manufacturing of the product. Preservation agents must also be added to prevent bacterial growth to prevent spoilage of the product.
So how is it then possible to have live probiotics in the jar? Some formulators will 'freeze dry' the probiotic elements, encapsulate them and hope that once they make contact with the skin these probiotic elements will 'wake up' and go to work producing beneficial bio compounds for your skin. This is not an effective method. We all have a mixture of good and bad bacteria on our skin. When the bad bacteria starts to take over, our skin’s protective barrier can become compromised leading to a number of skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, psorisis, eczema. From a scientific standpoint, it is a long shot to think that this kind of freeze-dried probiotic skincare has the ability to keep the balance between good and bad bacteria in harmony. The freeze-dried probitotics can not perform to the level required to make them beneficial to our skin.
#2 – ACTIVE PROBIOTICS – FEED YOUR SKIN
The second school of thought is to FEED YOUR SKIN a rich fusion of vitamins by using probiotic technology. This process uses natural ingredients + subjects them to a probiotic process (under a controlled environment) producing a concentrated, bioavailable fusion of peptides, omega fatty acids, vitamins, enzymes, antioxidants + other bio-active compounds.
This 'rich fusion' created from the probiotic process is bioavailable to the skin so it can be absorbed + put to use in boosting your skin’s overall health and is the secret to good probiotic skincare! These natural probiotic ingredients can survive the manufacturing process (without heat treatments + preservatives) and can maintain a 2 year shelf life.
This 'rich fusion' produced by beneficial micro-organisms brings true benefits to your skin’s health. Under this school of thought, the main point is to FEED YOUR SKIN instead of just overpowering bad bacteria on the top layer of your skin as seen in the freeze dried probiotic skincare lines
How Do Probiotics Work And Why Are They So Good For The Skin?
Similar to how probiotics treat + prevent problems in the stomach, topical versions are known for their calming effects on the skin by harnessing a surge of good bacteria to help cells flourish.
Now for the science.
'The bacteria cell content interacts with receptors to modulate the immune response, which helps soothe inflammation in the skin.
The natural bacterial ecosystem of our skin has a very important protective role + with our over-clean modern lifestyle, this ecosystem is often damaged + can result in dry, stressed, sensitive skin. Bringing probiotics + prebiotics into the equation can help rebuild this healthy skin ecosystem, giving you back the glowing skin you're supposed to have.
Would I Benefit From Probiotic Skincare?
You Have Sensitive Skin
Probiotics have the rather clever ability to rebuild and strengthen the skin's barrier. Sensitive skin may take a while to repair itself after damage but incorporating probiotics into your skincare regime helps speed up the process.
You're A City Dweller
Free radicals such as pollution have the ability to accelerate ageing and zap the skin of it's youthful radiance, but when applied topically, probiotics can boost the skin's natural defence.
Probiotics calm the natural immune triggers in your skin which can be overstimulated by pollution and stress and they reduce the damage these immune triggers cause to collagen, elastin and healthy cells. Think of them as an apron against said environmental aggressors + whatever else we fling at our skin daily.
Studies have found that products containing aforementioned lactobacillus (a type of bacteria usually found in yoghurt) was effective in treating acne - and this is something that many believe will totally change the way we tackle the common skin problem in the future.
Think antibiotics NOT probiotics.
Doesn't it make so much more sense to feed the good guys + starve the bad ones (aka acne bacteria), rather than to kill all types and hope for the best?!
Pretty interesting right? Now here's our pick for the best probiotic skincare line...