Probiotics have gained much popularity these days, with many studies chronicling their benefits on digestive and skin health. One of the conditions that probiotics can reportedly manage is acne, a problem that affects young and adult people alike.
If you suffer from acne, then you might have come across some info regarding probiotics as the probable solution to your woes. Curious about whether this is true or not? If you are wondering if probiotics are nature’s answer to acne, then you better keep on reading to find it out!
Acne in a Nutshell
Acne is a skin condition that results in pimples, whiteheads, blackheads, and cysts. They are usually found on the face, neck, upper arms, chest, and back. The usual onset is puberty until early adulthood, although some experience it in the later years of life.
Acne occurs when the pores are blocked with sebum, a yellowish substance that protects and moisturizes the skin. Stress, medications, and a surge of androgens can lead to acne development. The organism Propionibacterium acne is also said to bring about the proliferation of pimples.
Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are the common treatments for acne, however, their effects stop immediately once they are discontinued. In some cases, they do not work out at all. For people who seem to have incurable acne, probiotics may prove to be the better solution.
What New Studies Say About Acne
Apart from medications, hormones, clogged pores, and bacteria, researchers have identified another factor behind acne development: the skin microbiome, or the “balance” of bacteria on the skin.
According to a study conducted by experts from the University of California - Los Angeles (UCLA), skin microbiome can be affected by several factors such as genetics and Vitamin B12 levels. People with acne had high incidences of virulence-related genes. On the other hand, those who had genes associated with bacterial metabolism barely exhibited any signs of the skin condition.
Since the overall health of the skin (like the gut) depends on the balance of good and bad bacteria, it was suggested that treatments should be focused on probiotics rather than antibiotics. Probiotics work harmlessly by adding more good bacteria to the skin. The latter, on the other hand, can kill BOTH the good and bad bacteria. P. acne is also known to develop resistance against antibiotics, which would require a change of medications (to the more expensive ones) every so often.
Taking the microbiome findings into account, antibiotics may bring about acne instead of treating it. Talk about the irony in that.
Topical Versus Oral Probiotics
Given the wealth of scientific literature regarding probiotics, it is safe to say that it can help you achieve acne-free skin. The best route to take, however, is still up for debate.
Some experts believe that topical probiotics, especially the immunomodulatory ones, can help treat acne. These drugs work well since they are specifically designed to curb the growth of bad bacteria. Additionally, other studies have shown that topical probiotics can help minimize inflammation, thereby preventing the development of pimples and other skin conditions.
As for oral probiotics, experts believe that these can help in preventing breakouts well. They might even fare better, since probiotics, when taken by the mouth, go straight to their natural habitat – the digestive tract.
With regards to oral probiotic intake, another question is often asked: “Which is better, probiotic-rich food or supplements?” Experts have weighed in and they deem it better to combine the two. Think of it as hitting two birds with one stone. Eating fermented food and taking supplements would enable you to get the best (bacteria) of both worlds.
For those with severe acne problems, some experts recommend simultaneously taking topical and oral probiotics. This treatment tandem can help hasten the treatment process by balancing the microbiome inside the gut – as well as the skin – all at the same time!
So… Are Probiotics the Answer to Acne?
Yes, and they might be the answer that you have been looking for all your life!
As it has been mentioned, probiotics are truly valuable for skin health. They help balance the skin microbiome, so that good and bad bacteria exist in beneficial harmony. Additionally, they help prevent the inflammatory processes that may lead to acne development.
A good thing about probiotics is that they are available in two forms, namely oral and topical. You can take probiotic-rich foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, and yogurt, or you can opt for supplements that are complete with all the beneficial bacteria. Additionally, there are topical solutions that you can apply directly to problem areas.
Probiotics are generally considered safe and all-natural; you need not worry about any untoward side effects that antibiotics usually give. With the many benefits that come with probiotic use, it’s about time that you get started on this skin-beautifying regimen right away!