Probiotics have been gaining popularity lately as they have been touted as the saviors of both the gut and the skin. But if you are one who’s not easily swayed by rave reviews, then you would probably dismiss these claims as pure fanaticism. That’s understandable though since some trends don't live up to their claims.
Probiotics, however, are a different bunch.
Unlike other skincare trends, the effects of probiotics are backed up by science. If you are looking for concrete facts, then here are some excerpts from probiotic research studies – which are all published in reputable journals:
Probiotics may enhance the natural skin barrier.
The skin serves as the body’s barrier against pathogenic microorganisms. The skin barrier or the outermost layer of the skin protects you from exposure to harmful substances and toxins. Expectedly, when the skin barrier is disrupted, diseases can occur.
This should no longer be a concern, granted that you take the right probiotics for your skin. That’s because South Korean researchers have proven that Lactobacillus rhamnosus may be effective in improving the skin barrier. Not only did they help increase the amounts of loricrin and filaggrin, but they also managed to decrease the adverse effects of sodium lauryl sulfate, a known skin irritant.
Probiotics may improve skin immunity.
The skin, which is the largest organ of the body, largely contributes to your immunity. After all, it is home to millions of bacteria – some beneficial, some pathogenic. When bad bacteria overcrowd the good ones, your skin’s immunity is left vulnerable. Good thing there are probiotics, which work by enhancing your skin’s immune responses.
According to a study published in the Journal of Beneficial Microbes, probiotics, together with the skin’s resident bacteria, can produce antimicrobial peptides. These help in the eradication of pathogens that cause disease. A particularly helpful strain is the Lactobacillus plantarum, which works by regulating and boosting the immune system.
Probiotics may encourage wound healing.
Nutrition is a factor that affects wound healing. It can be improved following the intake of food sources rich in protein, zinc, and Vitamin C. Apart from these nutrients, research suggests that probiotics may help the cause as well.
A study conducted at the University of Manchester made use of the Lactobacillus rhamnosus extract on wounds. Results show that it may be useful in counteracting infection and reducing the toxicity of pathogens. With that being said, it may be concluded that probiotics may be useful for improving the wound healing process.
Probiotics may help reverse the effects of skin aging.
Everybody dreams of having young-looking skin, unfortunately aging (as expected) and UV exposure usually come in the way. You need not fret though, as you may finally be able to enjoy youthful-looking skin with the help of probiotics.
How does that work? Probiotics work by restoring the skin’s acidic environment to help make it healthier and fresher-looking. Additionally, these good bacteria may help in the production of polysaccharides. These can help combat free radicals, thereby preventing further cellular damages to the skin.
Probiotics may also help reduce the damage caused by exposure to UV rays. A study published in the British Journal of Dermatology has shown that probiotics, in combination with nutritional supplementation, may help delay the visible effects of skin aging. With that being said, probiotics may help decrease the appearance of liver spots, wrinkles, and many other UV-related effects on the skin.
Probiotics may help with skin conditions such as acne.
Acne affects about 50 million Americans annually. The Global Skin Disease Morbidity and Mortality study places it second after atopic dermatitis. With so many affected by this illness, many are searching for a novel, yet a more effective solution – an example of which is probiotic skincare.
Probiotics exert their acne-healing powers in several ways. By virtue of the gut-brain-skin axis, oral intake of probiotics may help with acne by reducing systemic inflammation.
The Lactobacillus strain, on the other hand, may help stop the growth of Propionibacterium acnes – a bacteria that causes acne – by producing proteins that fight the said microbe. When applied directly on the skin, probiotics may help enhance the skin’s antimicrobial properties as well.
Probiotics may also help decrease the levels of insulin-like growth factor 1, a substance that can lead to acne development. By doing so, the probiotics can control acne systemically and mechanistically.
Lactobacillus paracasei is another beneficial strain that works by inhibiting a neurotransmitter called Substance P. It is known to be responsible for inflammation and enhanced sebum production, both factors that can lead to the development of acne.
Enhancing the skin barrier, improving immunity, reversing aging, and treating acne – these are just some of the many skin benefits that have been associated with probiotics. Whether you are looking to beautify your skin – or to cure some pesky skin conditions – probiotics may just be the solution you are looking for!