Updated 24 February 2014

Can probiotics give you flawless skin?

We know probiotics are good for your digestive health and weight control, but could this non-digestible food ingredient be the next big thing in skincare?

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help to maintain the health of the intestinal tract and aid digestion.

They also help keep potentially harmful organisms in the gut (some bacteria and yeasts) under control. Now researchers are saying that by getting a good daily dose of probiotics it can also help clear up problem skin while therapists are starting to use them in skincare products in the fight against problem and ageing skin. 

Read: The benefits of probiotics

They help the gut, but is there a knock-on effect?

Research studies, including by the British Journal of Dermatology and Journal of Dermatological Science, have discovered a range of benefits associated with probiotics, suggesting that it can help improve the balance of bacteria in your skin the same way it improves the bacteria in your digestive system.

These studies have shown an improvement in eczema as well as acne if you regularly eat products containing probiotics - either through a supplement such as acidophilus or in specially formulated yoghurts or fermented products such as kimchee, keiffer, miso, tempeh, aged cheese, some soy beverages and sauerkraut.


How to choose a good probiotic product
How gut bacteria affects your health

According to Natural Solutions (Jul. 2008, issue 109, p.89), probiotics can clear up one’s complexion. Authors concluded that when the good bacteria enter the body, they strengthen the skin’s acid mantle and protects the outermost layer of the skin from pathogens and free radicals.

Probiotics in skincare 

When you cleanse your face, depending on the product you use, you often strip all the good and bad bacteria off it, leaving it vulnerable. By using a skincare product - cleanser, cream or serum - with a built-in probiotic, you put the good ones right back.  

According to the Health & Wellness Trends database, the sale of probiotic products has soared in the last four years from 11.6€ billion to 23.35€ billion and though researchers’ opinions on the skin benefits of probiotics may differ, cosmetics scientist Eric Perrier says it is now an ingredient in many skin products for a reason: it works. 

What probiotic skincare can do for you
  • Helps skin retain moisture

  • Guards against ageing

  • Helps calm down interior inflammation (which causes wrinkles)

  • Helps repair sun damage

  • Boosts skin's natural defences 

  • Supports the balanced micro-ecology needed for healthy skin

“ [probiotics] can stimulate the skin’s protective mechanism from the inside, and also with external application,” says Perrier.

Look out for Gatineau Melatogenine™ AOX Probiotics Cream or Modish-i Probiotic Skin Care in SA, or search Wellness Warehouse or Amazon's skincare section for international brands.

Or, make a simple mask at home by mixing a couple of tablespoons of full fat yoghurt with a teaspoon of honey and apply, leaving on for about 15 minutes. Do this weekly. 

Read more:

Homemade beauty treatments
Your complete guide to probiotics
Dr Marmur shows us how to recognise our skin type

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Image: girl at the spa from Shutterstock


Your complete guide to probiotics

Probiotics limit infant skin problems

The benefits of probiotics


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