How to Use Bacteria to Your Advantage for Gorgeous Skin


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Probiotics have been touted for years as the key to a healthy digestive system, whether we get them in pill form or work them into our diets by consuming things like kombucha and kefir. They even offer the solution to a simple, hunger pang-free detox when we don’t have the patience or willpower for a juice cleanse. These healthy bacteria maintain the function of the intestines and support the immune system, which not only promotes health, but clear skin as well. You are what you eat, after all—and naturally, so is your skin. Now, experts recommend applying probiotics topically, too, for even better results.

“Probiotics can affect the health and appearance of the skin,” says Dr. Neal Kitchen, the Executive Vice President of Strategy and Development at HydroPeptide. “For example, the inflammation causing acne and rosacea can be tempered through probiotics because they stabilize the lining of the intestinal walls and limit the growth of inflammatory-inducing microorganisms.” Because they combat inflammation and harmful bacteria, they improve skin clarity, eliminate dryness, and enhance anti-aging effects.

Through recent studies, The American Academy of Dermatology has found that topical application also decreases skin sensitivity and redness, and can result in a reduced appearance of fine lines. HydroPeptide has formulated a peptide preservative that includes a probiotic extract. Dr. Kitchen says that it has been proven to increase collagen and protein production, as well as improve oxygen intake—this means more sufficient cell renewal and skin healing.

Dr. David E. Bank, a board-certified dermatologist and author of “Beautiful Skin: Every Woman’s Guide to Looking Her Best at Any Age,” adds that topical versions help fight acne bacteria directly. “[Acne bacteria] sits in the sebaceous oil glands and causes pimples and zits,” he explains, and the healthy bacteria helps to combat it.

Skin care products laden with probiotics have been arriving to the market in mass quantities. Dr. Bank recommends Aurelia Miracle Skin Cleanser and Clinique Redness Solutions with SPF 15. “With probiotic technology, [it] helps fight inflammation to decrease redness,” he says. Leejiham Probiotic Sleeping Cream helps to improve uneven skin tone, smooth texture, and minimize the appearance of pores while you snooze, while Hydropeptide Eye Authority uses their probiotic extract to target common under eye issues, like dark circles, noticeable lines, and puffiness.

For those who like a good DIY, Dr. Bank has just the thing—he says, “You can mix Greek yogurt with baking soda and apply to the face as a mask for 20 minutes a day.” Rinse thoroughly and you’re well on your way to perfect skin, courtesy of probiotics.

Read more: This Nutritious (and Weird) Ingredient Can Give You the Clear Skin of Your Dreams