You’ve probably spent your whole life with bacteria — but mostly getting rid of it. Think washing your hands, sneezing into the crook of your elbow, going through eight million bottles of sanitizer every winter. So it seems pretty counterintuitive that smearing bacteria all over your face could actually help your skin. Sounds crazy (and kind of gross), right?
While there are parts of the body in which bacteria aren’t welcome, others, like your gut, make a good home for the little guys — which, in turn, help digest food and regulate your immune response. Your skin, too, naturally plays host for a number of good bacteria. But external factors (like pollution) and harsh formulas in your skin care routine can kill off these good bacteria. That’s when you get into trouble…
If you have been my client for a while, you have heard me talking about probiotics at some point…… Probiotics are bacteria — but don’t worry, it’s not like you’re rubbing your face with the bottom of your shoe. Instead, most of the probiotic technology you’ll find in skincare is derived from bacteria cultures common in milk and yogurt. Bifida is the best known, but there are many different strains available. They’re alive during formulation and usually dunzo by the time you get them. But even dead, probiotics offer skin benefits. They keep the skin’s acid mantle intact, which helps prevent trans-epidermal water loss. Trans-epidermal water loss can cause dehydration, sensitivity, dryness, and irritation.
The whole goal of probiotics is to calm skin. Different parts of the bacteria — the cell walls, their hydration — balance skin by strengthening the protective barrier, maintaining skin’s moisture levels, and boosting its immune defenses. Probiotics are gentle and effective multi-taskers, making them the closest thing to a cure-all.
Probiotics benefit every single skin type (sounds too good to be true, I know). They modulate the immune response and they quickly quell inflammation and redness for those with sensitive skin and rosacea. Other studies show that strains of probiotics are effective acne-fighters — the big plus being that probiotics actually hydrate skin, while most acne solutions try to knock out breakouts by turning your face into the Sahara (looking at you, benzoyl peroxide). And, on top of this, they help skin seal in moisture, smoothing out any fine lines and wrinkles.
Certain ingredients found in beauty products sold over the counter can knock your skin off-balance — in either direction.
Sodium laurel sulfate, or SLS, completely strips skin of the natural oils and bacteria. On the other hand, mineral oils and some waxes can leave a greasy film on skin, clogging the pores and creating congestion and dullness, so bacteria can’t do its work.
Even going on topical antibiotics for acne — or oral antibiotics for an infection — can affect your skin flora. That’s why you need probiotics, which restore the good bacteria to skin. Probiotics are becoming more and more popular item in my clients skin care routine. My go to probiotic moisturizer is Epicuren`s. Have you tried it yet?