Acne is a skin condition where the hair follicles are blocked with oil (sebum) and dead skin cells. This then leads to a variety of manifestations – from minor blackheads to pus-filled pimples and tender red bumps.
Acne can be ‘triggered’ by a lot of things. Non-hormonal acne, for one, can occur due to genetics, cosmetics, lotions, cleansers, even the humidity.
Hormonal acne, on the other hand, arises from changes in the hormone levels. It commonly occurs in women who are menstruating or undergoing menopause. It occurs in ladies who have increased androgen levels, such as those with polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Whenever testosterone levels increase – and estrogen levels decrease – the skin ends up producing more sebum. The excess oil congests the skin around the jaw, chin, and mouth. At the same time, these hormones lead to an increased production of pathogens that cause pimples.
Of the various treatments that help minimize hormonal breakouts, probiotics have slowly taken the center stage. More than just being good for the skin, it’s beneficial for the gut and brain as well.
Probiotics are known as the ‘good bacteria’ - live microorganisms that keep your gut (as well as your skin) healthy. They help replace the naturally-occurring good bacteria in your body – the ones you may lose because of an unhealthy diet – or antibiotic intake. At the same time, they help ‘balance’ the good and bad organisms that thrive in your body.
Probiotics also help strengthen your immune system, as they are more than capable of fighting the pathogens that can wreak havoc on the body. Moreover, probiotics may help curb the inflammation that triggers acne and other skin conditions (i.e. eczema and rosacea).
Since hormonal acne is triggered by hormonal fluctuations, the best way to minimize them is to balance your hormones.
Probiotics prove to be the best option for hormonal acne because of these benefits:
Probiotics help maintain the balance of the bacteria in the gut – and the skin. It also prevents the consequences of leaky gut. When this occurs, toxins from the digestive tract seep to the bloodstream and settle under the skin, triggering acne and other skin conditions.
Probiotics produce anti-bacterial proteins that help curb the growth of P. acnes, the organism behind most breakouts.
The skin barrier is responsible for keeping harmful pathogens out. Unfortunately, using certain products may strip your skin off of such defense. Probiotics may help restore this moisture barrier – thus keeping your skin hydrated and acne-free.
Your exposure to pollution and other environmental factors can trigger acne too. Probiotics, with their protective mechanisms, may help defend your skin from such damaging effects.
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Probiotics come in different types:
These types further branch out into sub-species, with some of them faring better against hormonal acne:
This is considered one of the best probiotics for the skin because it can survive the extreme acidic or basic conditions in the body. As such, it can adhere well to the gut, where it exerts its many health benefits. According to a study, supplementation with L. rhamnosus may help improve the appearance of adult acne in just 12 weeks.
The same results were mirrored in an Italian study. Here 40 patients received a probiotic mix of L. acidophilus and B. bifidum. Expectedly, the probiotics were able to minimize acne lesions better than antibiotic treatment.
Now that you know the best probiotic strains for your breakouts, it’s time you got as much as you can in your body.
The first thing you need to do is eat probiotic-rich foods. You can find these helpful critters in fermented foods, such as yogurt, miso, kombucha, sauerkraut, and kimchi, to name a few.
In case you have some sort of intolerance – or beliefs banning you from taking these foods – then your next best option is to take supplements.
Before you buy one, make sure to read the label to see if it contains the probiotic strains that you need. Also, check the quantity (represented as colony-forming units) and the date of manufacture.
Once you have purchased your probiotic supplements, make sure to store them in a cool, dry place.
Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that are good for the gut – and the skin too. With their ability to fight pathogens – and reduce inflammation – probiotics are your best natural bets against acne.
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