Did you know that probiotics can help you get healthy and glowing skin? Yes, besides being great for your gut health, probiotics can work wonders for your skin's health as well.
If you are wondering how, scroll down to know more. In this article, we discuss what probiotics are and how to use them for skin benefits.
- What Are Probiotics And What Roles Do They Play In Skincare?
- Common Probiotic Ingredients Used In Skincare
- Benefits Of Probiotics For Your Skin
- How To Use Probiotics For Best Results?
- Which Probiotics Are Best For Skin?
- What Is The Difference Between Prebiotics And Probiotics? Can They Be Taken Together?
- How Do I Know If I Need Probiotics?
What Are Probiotics And What Roles Do They Play In Skincare?
Probiotics are live microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, etc., which have positive health effects.  These are the friendly microbes naturally present in our body as well as in several fermented food products. 
You will be amazed to know about the large number of microbes that are natural residents of your skin. These microbes collectively form your skin’s microbiome, which plays an important role in keeping your skin healthy in the following ways:
- They create competition for disease-causing germs and prevent them from latching onto your skin.
- They produce enzymes that kill germs.
- They help in the synthesis of beneficial compounds for the skin.
- They also promote faster wound healing.
Common Probiotic Ingredients Used In Skincare
Probiotics can either be consumed as supplements or applied topically depending on your skin goals. The most commonly used organisms in probiotic products are:
- Enterococcus 
Lactobacillus produces lactic acid, which is an effective exfoliant and moisturising agent. It also helps in maintaining the pH balance of your skin. They are commonly used in cleansers, moisturisers and anti-aging products.
Bifidobacterium produces a toxin N5 that not only eliminates harmful bacteria, but also helps to reduce inflammatory skin issues. Enterocin A and enterococcin produced by Enterococci have similar beneficial effects.
Benefits Of Probiotics For Your Skin
1. Improve The Skin’s Barrier Function
Your skin is not only the largest organ of your body but also its first line of defense against invading germs, chemicals and pollutants. The topical application of probiotics plays multiple roles in boosting the barrier function of your skin.
1. Antimicrobial peptides produced by probiotics kill harmful bacteria and fungi.
2. Chemicals produced by probiotics help lock hydration in your skin. 
3. Lysates of probiotic bacteria protect skin against the harmful effects of chemicals. 
2. Reduce Inflammation
Probiotics modulate the function of the immune system, thus reducing the inflammatory response associated with the invasion of germs on your skin. This is especially helpful in managing skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, etc.
3. Fights Signs Of Aging
Probiotics boost the production of peptides, collagen and ceramides in your skin. This increases the elasticity of your skin, which in turn reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Certain probiotics also reduce pores and have exfoliant properties that rejuvenate your skin.
4. Helps Fight Skin Diseases And Sensitivity
Probiotics are helpful in the management of skin diseases such as eczema, psoriasis, skin cancer, etc. Topical application of probiotics not only soothes irritation and improves hydration, but it also helps reduce skin’s sensitivity to chemicals.
How To Use Probiotics For Best Results?
You can either take probiotics in the form of oral supplements and yogurt/curd or use topical formulations containing probiotics for the benefit of your skin. Probiotic formulations can either contain whole, live organisms or extracts (lysates) of the beneficial organisms.
The oral probiotic pills will boost your gut health and modulate your immune system, which in turn will help you achieve healthy skin. Topical application of probiotic formulations will help reduce inflammation, skin sensitivity and boost the resilience of your skin against environmental stress.
There is no one size fits all solution when it comes to probiotics. Everyone has a unique skin microbiome and the goal is to find the right combination of probiotics to meet your skin’s requirements. It is best to consult a dermatologist if you have any specific skin conditions.
Special care should be taken while storing probiotics. Maintain appropriate storage temperatures to prevent the product from getting denatured.
Which Probiotics Are Best For Skin?
Skin Care Benefits
Lactobacillus delbrueckii, Lactobacillus casei
Reduces inflammation, soothes the skin
Sunscreen lotions, moisturisers
Reduces the sensitivity of the skin
Cleansers, hydrating serum
Helps maintain pH balance, fights free radicals
Anti-aging products, under eye creams
What Is The Difference Between Prebiotics And Probiotics? Can They Be Taken Together?
Prebiotics are like fertilisers for the probiotics or the friendly microbes present in your body.  Prebiotics are mostly derived from plant sources and are rich in fibres. They promote the growth and maintenance of probiotic organisms.
If probiotic organisms are like the security guards of your body, prebiotics are the food that enhance their effectiveness. Therefore, they need to be consumed together for maximum benefit.
How Do I Know If I Need Probiotics?
Probiotics can help you if you have one or more of the following conditions:
- Inflammatory skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, etc.
- Severe acne, dandruff, rosacea, etc.
- Itchiness, irritation, rashes, increased skin sensitivity
- Slow metabolism or gastrointestinal disorders
- Recent intake of antibiotics
Probiotics are friendly microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, viruses or protozoa) that benefit your skin in more than one way. You can either opt for an oral or topical administration of probiotics to improve your skin health. However, you need to find the right combination of probiotics that suit your skin best.
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