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Probiotics vs Prebiotics for the Skin

Probiotics are considered live microorganisms that are used to alter the bioflora to gain a health benefit. Prebiotics are the foods and nutrients needed to support the bioflora. Read more...



probiotics skincare

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What are probiotics?

Probiotics are considered live microorganisms that are used to alter the bioflora to gain a health and skincare benefit.

What are prebiotics?

Prebiotics are the foods and nutrients needed to support the bioflora.

What role do probiotics and prebiotics play in your skincare?

Administering probiotics is focused on directly providing microorganisms that can act to impact health while prebiotics are intended to support the needs of the pre-existing bioflora.

Are there any similarities between probiotics and prebiotics? Differences?

Most people think about probiotics when considering their gut health given the impact that the balance of bacteria and other microorganisms can have. The skin has its own bioflora or yeast, bacteria, and other microorganisms that probiotics and prebiotics can impact to result in a health benefit. The bioflora of the skin can process sebum and oils on the skin resulting in changes in inflammation as well as impacting the ability of pathogenic or disease-causing organisms to act.

Can you explain the difference between good and bad bacteria and how that affects your skin?

Good bacteria are thought to support skin health while bad bacteria can be pathogenic or disease-causing. Not all good bacteria are always good, however. The delicate balance between good and bad bacteria can keep overgrowth in check. An overgrowth of even good bacteria can be disease-causing. By keeping the pH of the skin at its best which is about 5.5 and acidic, the delicate balance of microorganisms can be kept in check protecting us from harmful microorganisms.

Are there any specific probiotic strands that are good for the skin?

Most studies I have come across for probiotics with regard to skin diseases tend to be for ingested supplements. Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus have been used in Atopic Dermatitis and Acne. Lactobacillus has been used in some studies topically to address acne.

How can probiotics help to control acne breakouts?

Probiotics have been studied to work with antibiotics used to treat acne to increase tolerance and potentially improve the efficacy of the regimen. A study evaluating the effectiveness of topical use found that the inflammation associated with acne was reduced with use.

How can probiotics improve the skin’s microbiome?

Probiotics can improve the skin’s microbiome by creating an environment that supports the growth of bacteria that can benefit skin health while inhibiting the overgrowth of bacteria that can potentially be harmful.

How can probiotics help balance pH of the skin?

The skin’s pH is ideal at about 5.5, in the acidic range. This pH creates a barrier for the skin referenced as the acid mantle. It is thought that this is a natural barrier for the skin to protect us from potentially harmful microorganisms.

Can probiotics improve or strengthen the skin?

The acidic pH maintained by the skin helps reduce the tendency towards inflammation which can further improve and strengthen the skin.

What is the best way for people to take probiotics and/or prebiotics?

Most studies with regard to pro and pre-biotics are focused on foods and supplements. I tend to prefer recommending foods to focus on foods such as yogurt, miso, and buttermilk as options. Prebiotics include foods such as garlic, onions, bananas, and flaxseeds.

probiotics skincare


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