Lactobacillus Rhamnosus - The Probiotic for Better Skin Health

by Raychel Agramon, RN, MPM, February 22, 2020

probiotics for acne

Lactobacillus Rhamnosus is just one of the many strains of probiotics or microorganisms that are beneficial to one's health. Despite its minuscule size, it packs on quite a punch when it comes to skin health. Curious as to what these gram-positive bacteria can do for you? Then read on to learn more L. Rhamnosus and how it can help control acne.

An Overview of Acne

Acne is a chronic skin condition characterized by red, swollen, and painful lesions. It is one of the most prevalent skin disorders, affecting as much as 645 million worldwide. In the United States alone, acne-related expenditures (such as doctor’s appointments and prescription drugs) can cost as much as $2.2 billion per year.

With the high prices associated with traditional acne treatment, more and more sufferers are setting their sights on a cheaper yet more effective option: probiotics. And they are not wrong to so, as research shows that such bacteria may help reduce the risk of acne. 

One of the probiotics that show promise when it comes to skin health is L. Rhamnosus. It belongs to the genus Lactobacillus, a type of organism that produces lactase. This enzyme breaks down lactose, a sugar found in most dairy products. The byproduct of this metabolism is lactic acid, the body’s fuel source during strenuous exercise. 

  1. Rhamnosus, as a probiotic supplement, is preferred because of its ability to survive in the extreme conditions in the body. It can thrive in an acidic environment such as the stomach, to the more basic environment of the intestines. Because of this adaptability, L. Rhamnosus can live longer in the body - so they can exert their health benefits for a longer time.

Speaking of benefits, here are several reasons why L. Rhamnosus helps combat acne:

  • L. Rhamnosus may help regulate the hormones responsible for acne growth. 
  • A finding states that L. Rhamnosus bacteria can inhibit insulin and insulin growth factor 1, both of which are responsible for mechanisms that lead to acne. 

    When you eat, blood sugar levels increase. In response to this, the body releases insulin, a hormone that moves the sugar from the bloodstream to the cells. 

    While insulin is helpful for your metabolism, constant high levels of such can lead to the development of acne. This hormone activates insulin growth factor 1, a substance that brings about inflammation. This makes acne lesions more severe, specifically in women (Cappel et al, 2005). 

    Insulin also increases the surge of androgens, sex hormones that boost sebum production. Such can lead to acne development, especially in men, who have already have waves of androgens circulating inside the body.



  • L. Rhamnosus may help improve skin barrier function.
  • The skin barrier is the outermost layer of the skin. It works by preserving moisture and protecting your skin from harmful factors. When the barrier is compromised, the skin might end up dry, blemished, and weak. These put you at risk for developing acne. 

    Ironically, conventional treatment for acne (antibiotics, benzoyl peroxide) can also disrupt skin barrier function – and the cycle goes on and on. This is the reason why acne cannot seem to go away even after several types of treatment. 

    Moisturizing the skin is helpful for the skin barrier, but you should go beyond that. You need to set your sights on probiotics. After all, a study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences has shown that L. Rhamnosus may help protect the skin barrier - thereby reducing your risk of developing acne. 

  • L. Rhamnosus may help inhibit of the growth of acne-causing germs. 
  • The skin is the largest organ of the body. It is the home of millions of bacteria, yeast, and fungi. They work together to protect the skin, but when the balance of the skin microbiome is disrupted, acne may be the ugly result. 

    Propionibacterium acnes, a naturally-occurring bacteria on the skin, is rarely harmful in normal amounts. But if you are taking antibiotics - or if you are not having enough probiotics in your diet - an overgrowth of P. acnes may occur. Such can lead to acne.

    With that being said, L. Rhamnosus is vital in ensuring the balance of the skin microbiome. The good and bad bacteria keep each other in check, so no overgrowth of harmful germs can occur. 

  • L. Rhamnosus may help improve the gut microbiome. 
  • Like the skin, the gut is home to millions of microorganisms. When the balance of intestinal bacteria is disrupted, germs may leak out of the gut. They can migrate to different parts of the body and cause infection. 

    While the digestive tract is far away from the skin, disturbances in such can affect your skin as well. To wit, a leaky gut can lead to the release of the FOX 1 Skin Expression. High levels of this substance may worsen your acne symptoms. 

    With that being said, it is important to consume supplements rich in L. Rhamnosus. They help ensure gut balance and prevent the production of acne-related factors.

    While L. Rhamnosus works fine by itself, consuming additional probiotic strains can help reduce the severity of acne more efficiently. Make sure to look for a supplement that does not only have L. Rhamnosus but Lactobacillus Plantarum and Lactobacillus acidophilus as well.  With these 3 in the bag, your acne problems may dissipate faster than expected.