Probiotics in skincare | treats skin complaints | improves complexions

So you want to add another line to your skincare range. Probiotics in skincare can influence our skin microflora and treat skin problems, and may just give another dimension to your beauty brand.

Before refrigeration, much of the food our ancestors ate had to be preserved. These fermented or cultured (probiotic-rich) foods provided them with large quantities of friendly bacteria which nourished the gut.

As probiotics in foods are largely missing from modern diets, people have been taking supplements or returning to age-old recipes to improve digestive and immune health. Some of these friendly bacteria-rich foods include fermented vegetables, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, tempeh, kombucha and yoghurt.

Probiotics in skincare

So how does this have anything to do with skincare? Our skin has more microorganisms than any other part of our body, except the gut. When healthy, this ecosystem helps to protect the skin from environmental aggressors that inflame the skin causing dermatitis, eczema and acne.

In recent years, studies have found that probiotics applied topically to skin can re-establish and maintain the skin microbiome, treat skin complaints and promote younger and healthier-looking skin.

When these live bacterial cultures are applied via a cream or serum, they lower the pH of the skin by increasing lactic acid production. This brings the skin’s pH back to its happy 4.5 – 5.5 pH range, encourages the growth of resident flora, and provides the skin with a natural line of defence against pathogens.

A quick glance at some of the benefits of probiotics in skincare

Topically applied probiotics can:

  1. protect and shield the skin from pathogens
  2. interfere with microorganisms that provoke a negative immune reaction, such as acne and rosacea
  3. kill bad bacteria and nurture the growth of resident flora
  4. soothe and calm skin at a cellular level, and
  5. reverse signs of ageing due to the production of collagen

However, before developing your new line of skincare, be aware that different strains of probiotics provide different benefits to the skin.

To ensure your formula is using the right species of probiotic for the problem it is solving, use the table below as a guide.

Table courtesy of

Probiotic SpeciesBenefits
Lactobacillus acidophilus, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and all lactobacillus speciesIncreases lactic acid production for radiant skin and overall health.
Bacillus coagulan, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium lactis, Enterococcus fecalis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactococcus lactis, Streptococcus salivariusImproves acne
Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus paracasei, Streptococcus thermophilusAnti-inflammatory, increases skin hydration, and reduces sensitivity
Bifidobacterium breve, Lactobacillus johnsonii, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosusBest for anti-aging and UV protection
Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus salivarius, Bifidobacterium breveBest for eczema (atopic dermatitis).

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