PROBIOTICS IN SKINCARE: HYPE VERSUS REALITY
‘Probiotics’ is the buzzword of the decade in healthcare.
In a nutshell, probiotics are the good bacteria that keep the harmful, disease-causing bacteria at bay.
When ingested, probiotics have been proven to promote a healthy gut flora, aid digestion, reduce levels of inflammation and contribute to overall health and wellness.
You might have come across probiotics in yoghurts, fermented foods such as sauerkraut, and popular supplements such as fermented beverages.
While the benefits of probiotics when consumed aren’t under dispute, you may also have noticed that probiotic-based skincare products are lining retail shelves too.
And, knowing that probiotics are a health supplement, you might be wondering what on earth good bacteria has to do with skincare?
Probiotics in skincare: The hype
Probiotic products are currently flying the flag for toxin-free, naturally-derived skincare.
Formulated with the intention that the good bacteria (created when natural products are fermented and broken down into sugars and acids) counteract the bad bacteria that cause skin conditions such as acne, eczema, rosacea and psoriasis.
Benefits of probiotic skincare include:
- Reduce redness and inflammation
- Restore the natural PH balance of the skin
- Diminish fine line and wrinkles
- Brighten complexion
Topical probiotics are all the rage with some of the biggest brands in the world jumping on the probiotic bandwagon. Cleansers, moisturisers, serums and sunscreens are claiming to use the power of the probiotic to offer modern-day – natural- skincare miracles.
Probiotics in skincare: The reality
To understand probiotics as a natural solution to skin concerns, we need to go back to how probiotics are formed.
Probiotics come from the preservation of food which breaks down to form sugars and acids.
The most important part of the plant for skin health is the nutrients which are, as we know, notoriously unstable once extracted. Once exposed to air or water, plant nutrients extracted using traditional methods decompose quickly offering zero benefits to the skin whatsoever.
The only way to protect the integrity of the plant nutrients is to keep them in the liquid matrix the plant produces. All products containing water will contain a preservative which will kill any microbes that may be introduced to the product once opened; thus, the inclusion of a living bacteria to a preserved cosmetic will only kill the bacteria rendering the product useless.
Probiotics also have no benefit to the skin as the microbes from the probiotics are only compatible with the flora in the gut, not on the skin.
The only way to use probiotics to treat skin conditions is to ingest them as part of a healthy, balanced diet, including lots of water and addressing lifestyle factors such as reducing stress and increasing sleep.
Probiotics in skincare? Another myth busted.