Topical Probiotics Are the New Skin Care Trend to Try

Rachel Krause
Photo: ImaxTree

Photo: ImaxTree

It’s smart to cultivate a diet that includes plenty of probiotics. The “good” bacteria is key for maintaining a healthy digestive system and promoting better health overall, which means good things not only for your internal mechanisms but also for your complexion. After all, your skin is greatly affected by what’s going on in your belly.

You can find probiotics in fermented foods and drinks like yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, and even ginger beer—and now, they’re showing up in skin care products too. Topical products containing probiotics are cropping up everywhere, and if they have anywhere near the same effect on our faces as they do in our guts, they may just be the new holy grail for all skin types.

“The good bacteria in probiotics have long been recognized as an effective means of fighting inflammation [inside the body], though it’s just recently been discovered that these anti-inflammatory benefits extend well beyond our digestive tracts,” explains Neal Kitchen, PhD, VP of strategy and development and a member of the Scientific Board of Advisors for HydroPeptide, who has performed multiple clinical studies specifically investigating probiotic skin care.

“When applied topically, probiotics restrict microorganism growth on the skin by acidifying its environment and combat inflammation and harmful bacteria on the skin’s surface to improve clarity, eliminate dryness, and enhance antiaging effects,” explains Dr. Kitchen. Basically, probiotics act like a “protective shield” on the surface of the skin, calming inflammation and staving off aggressors. This makes them particularly useful for those who struggle with acne or rosacea.

Inflammation is at the root of countless skin concerns, so anything that addresses it can be helpful to any and every skin type. If you’re wondering what to look for to make sure you’re getting an effective probiotic treatment rather than something that’s just capitalizing on the buzzword, Dr. Kitchen says to scan the ingredients list for Lactobacillus ferment, a lactic acid bacteria that stabilizes active ingredients, improves cell renewal, and encourages skin healing. We may feel a little ridiculous if we start pairing our morning kombucha with a probiotic-centric skin care routine, but, hey, whatever works.

MORE: Healthy Skin Starts in Your Belly: How to Get Your Gut Back on Track