Lacto...What? The Secret To Eliminating Acne

by NIKKI POPE, December 19, 2020

Are you suffering from a bad case of acne? If you think that the usual treatments are not working for you, don’t lose hope just yet. You can still attain clear, blemish-free skin with the help of organisms known as Lactobacilli. 

What are Lactobacilli?

Lactobacilli are rod-shaped organisms that are part of the lactic acid bacteria group. They help convert the carbohydrates that we eat into the body’s source of energy.

Lactobacilli’s many species are categorized as probiotics. According to a World Health Organization report, these are live microorganisms, that, when consumed in certain amounts, may bring about several health benefits.

Most of your lactobacilli live in your digestive tract, though some thrive in your urinary and genital systems. Apart from protecting these areas from harmful organisms, Lactobacilli produce a wide variety of nutrients that nourish the body as well.

Lactobacilli for the Skin

Of Lactobacilli’s 180 species, there are a handful that benefit the skin. Two of these types include L. acidophilus and L. paracasei.

L. acidophilus

  1. acidophilus is an organism found in the mouth, the gut, and the vagina in women. Previously known as Bacillus acidophilus, it was first isolated from the human gut in the year 1900.
  2. acidophilus is well-known for its ability to fight harmful bacteria in the body. It is particularly effective in reducing the number of S. aureus, a germ that causes acne, boils, and other infectious skin diseases.

With its anti-bacterial properties, it comes as no surprise that L. acidophilus may help reduce acne lesions. Such results were seen in an Italian study that used 250 mg of L. acidophilus and B. bifidum for supplementation. 

While L. acidophilus is widely used for acne, it may help manage eczema symptoms as well.

Apart from improving skin health, L. acidophilus may also help address the following conditions: 

  • Diarrhea 
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • High cholesterol levels 
  • Cold and flu symptoms 
  • Allergies 
  • Vaginal infections 

It is worthwhile to note that L. acidophilus’ benefits go beyond the human body. In the food industry, it is used as the starter culture for yogurt, milk, and infant formula. As such, these concoctions prove to be some of the best sources of this probiotic. 

L. paracasei

  1. paracasei is a rod-shaped organism with over 34 sub-species. They are usually found in dairy products, plant sources, and human & animal digestive tracts. 

As with most Lactobacilli strains, L. paracasei may help enhance the gut barrier. These organisms make the gut 'less leaky' by creating a tight junction that prevents toxins from reaching the bloodstream. When these substances escape the gut, they can trigger several conditions.  

According to a study, a leaky gut may lead to the onset or worsening of celiac disease, inflammatory bowel syndrome, diabetes, and hepatitis. In terms of skin health, 'leaked' toxins can accumulate under the skin, leading to the development of acne and other skin problems.

Apart from patching up a leaky gut, L. paracasei may help reduce acne by fighting the harmful microbes that can cause pimples. This is made possible by the bacteriocins, proteins that inhibit the growth of organisms. These substances also make L. paracasei’s beneficial against Salmonella enterica and Helicobacter pylori. These are responsible for Salmonella and stomach ulcers respectively.

According to one study, L. Acidophilus exerts anti-inflammatory effects on the skin too. As such, it may help reduce the pimple swelling triggered by organisms such as P. acnes. 

As per another study, L. paracasei may also help boost one’s immunity. As it helps improve B-cell function, it may help enhance the production of antibodies that fight bacteria and viruses. It also increases the action of T-cells, which are in charge of killing infected cells. In essence, L. paracasei’s immune-boosting response makes it handy against infective organisms. In terms of skin health, a better immunity equates to fewer chances of breakouts.  

Apart from keeping the skin blemish-free, L. paracasei may help make it less sensitive as well. Such results were seen in a research that detailed the effects of 2-month supplementation on reactive skin. More than just making the subjects’ skins less sensitive, L. paracasei also helped hasten the recovery of their damaged skins. 

  1. paracasei’s effects are not limited to the skin though. It is also used to reduce the symptoms of ulcerative colitis and allergic rhinitis. 






Where to Get Lactobacilli

  1. acidophilus and L. paracasei are widely available as supplements. Various forms are available, including capsules, tablets, powders, wafers, and suppositories.

As for its food sources, Lactobacilli can be obtained by eating the following:

  • Yogurt
  • Miso
  • Tempeh
  • Kefir 
  • Sauerkraut
  • Cheese 

What is the Appropriate Dose?

According to WebMD, the typical dose is 1 to 10 billion colony-forming units, which should be divided into 3 to 4 doses a day. 

What are the Side Effects of Lactobacillus Supplements?

Lactobacillus pills could lead to some mild side effects such as bloating and gas. Constipation and increased thirst may also occur with the intake of L. acidophilus supplements. 


Lactobacillus should not be taken together with antibiotics as these can end up killing them. If needed, probiotics should be taken 2 hours before or after antibiotics. 

Some Lactobacillus supplements contain lactose. Make sure to read the label before taking a pill especially if you are suffering from lactose intolerance. 

Lactobacillus can also lead to infections when taken by those who need drugs that affect immunity. Such supplements should be avoided by those taking the following medications: 

  • Azathioprine
  • Basiliximab
  • Corticosteroids 
  • Cyclosporine
  • Daclizumab 
  • Muromonab-CD3
  • Mycophenolate
  • Prednisone 
  • Sirolimus 
  • Tacrolimus 

Special Considerations for Taking Lactobacillus Pills 

Lactobacillus is ‘generally recognized as safe’. However, people with certain conditions may end up developing infections. That being said, probiotics should be avoided by those who have the following: 

  • Weakened immune systems, i.e.  those with HIV/AIDS or those undergoing cancer therapy 
  • Short bowel syndrome 
  • Severe ulcerative colitis 
  • Damaged heart valves 


Lactobacilli are rod-shaped organisms that offer many health benefits to the body. They are particularly useful against acne, which is the 8th most prevalent disease in the world. With their anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory effects, Lactobacilli probiotics are good natural remedies for acne sufferers.