When we implement probiotics, or healthy bacteria, and prebiotics, which feed healthy bacteria, into our skin care routine, it supports the healthy function of our skin barrier. Our skin barrier, albeit powerful, is sensitive and can easily be disrupted by, well, almost everything. Environmental pollution, allergens, dirt, bacteria, moisture (or lack thereof) in the air, rays from the sun, and more all affect how our skin barrier functions. Probiotics and prebiotics, though, affect how our skin barrier functions in a good way.
Researchers have only scraped the surface of their many benefits for the skin, but we’ve heard enough to know probiotic and prebiotic ingredients can be incredibly beneficial. Read on to learn more about the best probiotic skin care and how it can impact your skin for the better.
You’ve heard the hype, but what actually is probiotic skin care?
What is Probiotic Skin Care?
Probiotics are good, beneficial bacteria and yeast that exist in the body but also are typically found in yogurt and oral supplements. They support the healthy bacteria found in the gut, which can aid digestion and ward off a slew of gut-related issues, including...wait for it… skin problems. Oral probiotics benefit the skin, but topical probiotics should have a place on your shelf too.
Similar to how probiotics promote a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut, they can promote a healthy balance of bacteria on the skin. When the skin microbiome (where the bacteria lives) is in balance, it helps better regulate the skin barrier, which affects how the skin manages breakouts, irritation, and other aggravators. Read our blog called “How do Probiotics Work” for more details.
TL;DR: Healthy balance of bacteria, healthy-looking skin. And the topical application of probiotics can help support a healthy balance of bacteria.
Now, when we talk about topical probiotic skin care, it’s important to note that there isn’t “living” bacteria in most probiotic skin care products, as no bacteria would survive in the midst of preserving ingredients. There are non-living strains of probiotic bacteria, though, as well as microbiome supporting ingredients (prebiotics and postbiotics). These are the types of ingredients found in “probiotic skin care”. And this is a good thing! It means your products still boast the benefits of living bacteria but will work for you longer.
Probiotic Skin Care Ingredients
When you survey the labels of skin care products, you won’t always find “probiotics” listed. So, you’ll need to look for the scientific ingredient. This can get a little tricky, so we’ve listed some of the key players out for you here.
Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Vitreoscilla and variations
Probiotic ingredients commonly found in skincare:
Lactococcus ferment lysate, Bifida ferment lysate, and other ferments and lysates
What is Prebiotic Skin Care?
What, then, is prebiotic skin care, and how is it different from probiotic skin care? We’re so glad you asked…
Prebiotics are a type of fiber that good bacteria feed on. The microbiome of your skin is made up of living organisms that require prebiotics in order to stay balanced. In this way, prebiotics support the skin’s microbiome by feeding it the ingredients it needs to produce probiotics that keep it balanced and healthy.
Prebiotic skin care is slightly different from probiotic skin care in the fact that instead of containing actual probiotic ingredients, the ingredients support a healthy balance.
Similar to probiotic skin care ingredients, you won’t find “prebiotics” on the ingredient label. Instead, you may see something that looks like these:
Prebiotic Skin Care Ingredients
Prebiotic ingredients commonly found in skincare:
When it comes to probiotic skin care and prebiotic skin care, it’s not a question of which one. Both probiotics and prebiotics offer benefits that support the skin, and when used in tandem, work even more effectively. These are the main benefits of probiotic and prebiotic skin care, which apply to everyone:
The Benefits of Probiotic & Prebiotic Skin Care
The skin microbiome, remember this is where the good bacteria live, is a key component of the skin’s barrier function. Probiotics support the healthy balance of bacteria in the skin microbiome, which strengthens the skin barrier, encouraging its shielding ability. When the skin barrier is strong, the skin is protected from environmental stressors such as UV damage, environmental pollution. Another important role of the skin’s barrier is keeping moisture from escaping. By supporting the skin’s natural barrier, probiotics also support hydration. Check out our blog on How to Protect Your Skin Barrier to learn more.
Helps Strengthen the Skin’s Natural Barrier
Probiotics have soothing benefits for the skin as well. Whether you have sensitive skin or your skin is prone to irritation or redness, probiotics are not only gentle enough to use but also beneficial. They can not only have a quick calming effect but also decrease skin sensitivity and increase resistance to aggravators in addition to strengthening the skin’s barrier to shield against them.
The skin microbiome has both good and bad bacteria, but when the bad bacteria overrun the good, you may get blemishes. When it comes to blemishes, bad bacteria are a major culprit. Probiotics can ensure a healthy bacterial balance and thus help prevent and reduce blemishes.
Help Manage Blemishes
The real benefit of strengthening the skin’s natural barrier, helping lock in moisture, calming down the skin, and managing blemishes, thanks to probiotics and prebiotics, is that these actions help to achieve healthy-looking skin. When the skin’s moisture barrier is strong, the skin is less prone to irritation, dehydration, blemishes, developing signs of aging, and more. Further, by supporting the skin’s natural microbiome, probiotics and prebiotics help the skin function as it should.
Promotes Healthy-Looking Skin
If you are sold on the benefits of probiotic and prebiotic skin care, we’re happy to share that it’s actually quite easy to incorporate it into your routine. Here at REN, we have harnessed the power of probiotics and prebiotics in a number of products. Here are a few simple ways to add them to your regimen and experience results.
How to Use Probiotic & Prebiotic Skin Care
If you’re looking for a one-step wonder, a serum is it. By incorporating a probiotic and prebiotic-packed serum into your routine, you can reap a boatload of benefits. To make the most of the soothing benefits, reach for our Evercalm™ Anti-Redness Serum, which brings the skin back into balance by adding hydration, soothes visible redness, and helps to increase resilience by strengthening the skin barrier.
Simply Add Serum
Strengthen your skin’s barrier all over with a body serum too such as our AHA Smart Renewal Body Serum, which combines barrier-strengthening probiotics with moisture-locking Xylitol and exfoliating Lactic Acid to reveal smoother skin day by day. Give your body and face the same treatment with the Face and Body Glow Duo.
When you’re done with your skin care routine and ready to apply makeup, squeeze in one more step to give your skin a probiotic punch. Reach for our Perfect Canvas Clean Primer, which features skin-boosting extracts that help balance good bacteria and promote a healthy microbiome on your skin’s surface.
Prime Before Makeup
You don’t have to necessarily add any additional steps to your routine to reap the benefits of probiotics and prebiotics. Simply use a body wash that contains these essential ingredients and your skin will thank you. Our Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium Body Wash is just that. With nourishing kelp extracts, moisturizing magnesium, and prebiotic inulin, your skin will feel truly revived.
Take It In The Shower
You’re already following a skin care regimen, putting on makeup, and showering, so what’s easier than using these products along the way? By incorporating probiotic skin care and prebiotic skin care products into your routine, you can experience all of the benefits above, plus the impact of supporting ingredients as well. What’s not to love?
1. Dermatology Times
2. Research Review
3. Probiotics & Prebiotics in Dermatology
About the Author
Camille Poggi is a doctor in Pharmacy (PharmD.) and is passionate about skincare and how the skin works in general. She specializes in the cosmetic industry and worked for renowned companies in France like L’Oréal and Chanel before moving to London. After being a training manager for 4 years, Camille is at ease with explaining how products work in the skin and how to adapt her speech according to the audience.
She joined REN in January 2020 as International Training Manager and moved to the Research & Development team earlier this year to be the new Scientific Education Manager. A tailored-made role where she assesses and leads all technical communication and ensures scientific compliance is always met. She’s also involved in new product development from the earliest stages. Finding a way to create sustainable skincare products and making sure the message is properly delivered and understood is definitely a big challenge but also her favorite part working for REN.