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Probiotics, A Precise New Protagonist In Skin Care

Undoubtedly, a healthy lifestyle and food habits make a huge difference in our skin health and that is why probiotic skincare trend is actually worth it. Skin, the largest external organ of our body is a complex ecosystem with a large microbiota community where the pre and probiotics have the capacity to optimize, maintain and restore the beneficial microbiota of the skin by enhancing the skin natural defence barriers, producing antimicrobial peptides and stimulating cutaneous immune responses to kill deleterious pathogens.1 Would we not like to have the prodigious probiotic care with the precious added benefit of having a sparkling healthy skin?

Figure 1: A topical formulation of a probiotic

Probiotics are a beneficial live microbial feed supplement which can improve the host’s intestinal as well as skin microbial balance.2 The probiotics incentivize our skin to remain in a balanced state as they do for the digestive system.3 To proliferate and thrive for recalibration of the skin microbiome, the probiotics need food source which is termed as prebiotics.3 Prebiotics can selectively influence the growth as well as the activity of one or a limited number of bacteria.4,5 What happens when we aim at nurturing a wider range of bacteria? The answer is synbiotic The term synbiotic means a product containing both probiotics and prebiotics giving synergistic action.5 Synbiotics promote a large spectrum of beneficial bacteria and this diversity is pivotal for having a surface-level healthy skin which gives a complexion neither too dry nor too oily and which can effectively repel the environmental inflammatory conditions.3

From a biological and immunological point of view, probiotics trigger a humoral immune response by producing bioactive molecules which are recognized by toll-like receptors (TLR) on dendritic cells, in response to epithelial cell-derived anti-inflammatory cytokines. Dendritic cells then stimulate T-helper cell 2 (TH2) and B cells to activate skin repair mode without inflammation. Further, TLRs stimulate the production of “β-Defencines” to elevate important immune and skin regenerative functions.6 Therefore, it is necessary to galvanize health concerned people not only about their diets but also about their skincare with more “good” bacteria to get the flawless glow, as the good microbiota can educate our own immune system to treat flare-ups and breakouts of skin.3,7

Figure 2: Yogurt enriched with beneficial probiotic strains

Washing face with aggressive detergents could strip the skin of its natural oils, making it drier and paler than ever before, especially in the winter when our skin craves moisture the most. One of the examples of a probiotic and prebiotic cleanser is La Roche-Posay's prebiotic thermal water–infused Hydrating Gentle Cleanser which helps to fortify the skin's beneficial microflora to keep this natural protective invisible barrier healthy.”3,9

Probiotic moisturizers and treatments can also aid all skin types with chronic inflammation. The probiotics can promote a calmer skin and reduce the unwanted breakouts like acne, eczema, rosacea and atopic dermatitis. A recent study also found that patients with Staphylococcus aureus dominated atopic dermatitis (AD) when applied a lotion containing the heat-treated probiotic strain Lactobacillus johnsonii, resulted in less inflammation, redness, and bumps causing local clinical improvement.3,10

Nurturing our skin flora with the augmentation of probiotics is the best place to start if we anticipate a long-lasting sparkling wrinkleless healthy glowing skin.


(1) Al-Ghazzewi, F. H.; Tester, R. F. Impact of Prebiotics and Probiotics on Skin Health. Beneficial Microbes. Wageningen Academic Publishers 2014, pp 99–107.

(2) Probiotics: The scientific basis - Google Books (accessed Nov 10, 2019).

(3) Probiotic Skin Care Is Actually Worth It, According to Experts—and Here’s Why | Vogue (accessed Nov 10, 2019).

(4) Gibson, G. R.; Roberfroid, M. B. Dietary Modulation of the Human Colonic Microbiota: Introducing the Concept of Prebiotics. J. Nutr. 1995, 125 (6), 1401–1412.

(5) Schrezenmeir, J.; de Vrese, M. Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Synbiotics—Approaching a Definition. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2001, 73 (2), 361s-364s.

(6) (2) Probiotic Skin Renewal Technology - Mechanism of Action - YouTube (accessed Nov 10, 2019).

(7) Grice, E. A.; Segre, J. A. The Skin Microbiome. Nature Reviews Microbiology. April 2011, pp 244–253.

(8) Bowe, W. P.; Logan, A. C. Acne Vulgaris, Probiotics and the Gut-Brain-Skin Axis - Back to the Future? Gut Pathogens. 2011.

(9) Blanchet-Réthoré, S.; Bourdès, V.; Mercenier, A.; Haddar, C. H.; Verhoeven, P. O.; Andres, P. Effect of a Lotion Containing the Heat-Treated Probiotic Strain Lactobacillus Johnsonii NCC 533 on Staphylococcus Aureus Colonization in Atopic Dermatitis. Clin. Cosmet. Investig. Dermatol. 2017, 10, 249–257.

(10) Lew, L.-C.; Liong, M.-T. Bioactives from Probiotics for Dermal Health: Functions and Benefits. J. Appl. Microbiol. 2013, 114 (5), 1241–1253.

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