Make Peace With Your Acne- How Synbiotics Are the Synergy Your Skin Needs

by Raychel Agramon, RN, MPM, February 27, 2020


Symbiosis is defined as a positive relationship between two groups wherein they benefit from one another. Such an association is not only beneficial for the environment, but it can also work wonders for acne as well! With synbiotics, you can achieve clear skin safely and naturally.


What are Synbiotics?

The term synbiotics was first introduced in 1995 by Gibson and Roberfroid. The term implies 'synergy' - or cooperation that aims to produce a combined effect that is BETTER than its separate effects.

Synbiotics, in a nutshell, is the best of both worlds, as such supplements contain both probiotics and prebiotics. To emphasize the benefits of each: 

According to de Vrese and Schrezenheimer, intake of probiotics may help alleviate the following conditions:

  • Diarrhea or loose bowel movement
  • Lactose intolerance or an inability to process lactose, a substance present in milk and dairy products
  • Bacterial/inflammatory conditions of the gut (Irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, etc.) 
  • Influenza (flu) and the common cold 
  • Acne or Atopic Dermatitis (eczema) 

Apart from these benefits, probiotics may help reduce the risk of certain cancers and allergies. 

Prebiotics, on the other hand, may help make changes in the gut for better digestion and metabolism. It may also improve the body’s ability to digest carbohydrates and absorb calcium. 

The superior result that comes with synbiotic intake is not surprising given that probiotics and prebiotics – when taken alone – have their own merits. Prebiotics, after all, serve as food for probiotics, which are bacteria and yeast that exert beneficial effects on the gut and skin.  


How do Synbiotics Work? 

When the two are taken together, the lifespan of the probiotics in the digestive tract is lengthened. So with longer-living good bacteria, synbiotics can restore normal gut balance as well as strengthen the intestinal barrier.  

More than that, synbiotics may also help improve one’s immune system. 

Common synbiotic preparations involve a combination of Bifidobacterium or Lactobacillus (probiotics) with fructooligosaccharides, inulin, or oligofructose (prebiotics). 

Synbiotics may help achieve the following feats, according to a Polish study:

  • Reduce infections and improve immune system functioning 
  • Boost liver health 
  • Normalize the levels of cholesterol and sugar in the body 
  • Avert the onset of diarrhea or constipation
  • Enhance bone health to minimize the risk of osteoporosis 
  • Flush out harmful substances that may lead to cancer 

Synbiotics for the Skin

Probiotics and prebiotics are well-known throughout the world for their abilities to help improve skin health. Expectedly so, a combination of these ingredients – in the form of synbiotics – may help reduce the symptoms of certain skin disorders as well.

One such condition that may benefit from synbiotics may is acne. The research done by scientists from the Glasgow Caledonian University has shown that a combination of probiotics and konjac glucomannan hydrolysates (prebiotics) may help inhibit the growth of germs that can cause acne. 

Additionally, synbiotics may also be used alongside antibiotics to control acne symptoms, according to researchers from the University of California – Davis

Another disorder that may gain from synbiotics is atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema. This condition is characterized by skin inflammation in different parts of the body, such as the face, elbows, and knees. A study published in the Iranian Journal of Pediatrics has shown that synbiotics might help reduce eczema severity in children.  






Probiotics and Herbs for Acne 

While prebiotics and probiotics work well together, another natural product that could be taken with probiotics are herbs. If we take the definition of Synbiotics to heart, it can be said that the union of probiotics and herbs can do the same thing – because their effects are better together than alone. 

If you are looking for a way to control your breakouts, then do consider adding these herbs to your usual probiotic regimen: 

  • Curcumin – Also known as Turmeric, Curcumin may help fight the bacteria that can cause pimples. Since it targets the pores, this herb may help reduce acne scarring. 
  • Green Tea – This refreshing drink is rich with epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), an ingredient that can help control excessive oil production. This is, after all, a factor that can cause acne. Apart from this, green tea can also boost the probiotic population – thereby leading to a lesser number of breakouts.
  • Bromelain – Sourced from pineapples, bromelain is an enzyme that can unclog the pores and prevent skin inflammation, thereby lessening the number of acne lesions. They also work better together since probiotics can help stabilize Bromelain for treatment purposes, according to a study printed in the International Journal of Biological Macromolecules. 
  • Echinacea – Also known as purple coneflower, Echinacea is an herb that can help fight the germs behind acne development. Apart from that, Echinacea is known to exert anti-inflammatory properties – both of which are essential for the control of pimple growth. 
  • Grape Seed – This herb is rich in Linoleic acid, a substance that can help clear the pores, so acne lesions are further reduced. Grape seed benefits as an antioxidant that can promote wound healing, resulting in acne-related scars that heal faster.

Similar to the usual Synbiotics, probiotics and herbs bring about a combined effect that may fare better when it comes to controlling acne. Best of all, both ingredients are safe and natural – so there is no need to worry about untoward side effects and whatnot.

Perhaps the most important thing about probiotics and herbs is the fact that no drug interactions have been noted when they are taken together. This is especially important to consider when combining treatment for acne. With that being said, these sources are generally safe for use, as shown in a study printed in the Journal Mediators of Inflammation. 


The Takeaway 

To answer the question that has been stated at the start, yes, synbiotics may help reduce acne. After all, this combination of prebiotics and probiotics have promising effects on the body as they can maximize the benefits of each substance. Apart from clearing the skin, synbiotics may help improve gut health and immunity as well.

Apart from synbiotics, a concoction of probiotics and herbs may help improve the skin as well. Since both ingredients have anti-pimple effects, they can help clear the skin from nasty pimple marks and whatnot.