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August 15, 2020
We’ve all heard of probiotics and how it benefits our gut and digestive system, but have you heard of using probiotics in your skincare? Before we deep dive into this, let us go back to basics and discuss what are probiotics?
For those unfamiliar with probiotics, they are essentially “friendly” bacteria which helps your gut and immune system stay healthy and in top form. They are naturally occurring in your gut and facilitate several health functions, ranging from improving mental health, keeping your heart healthy, alleviating allergies and eczema to treating diarrhoea conditions.
You can find probiotics in most everyday foods such as yogurt, kim chi, miso, sauerkraut, kefir and of course the trendy health drink nowadays, kombucha. Many doctors also prescribe probiotic supplements for conditions relating to the gut and children who have constipation problems. In fact, most local pharmaceutical shops now carry daily probiotic supplements to be incorporated into your daily diet to maintain general wellbeing.
it is important to note that there are different species of good bacteria with different benefits. These are the commonly known species and the different strains:
As much as there are “friendly” bacteria living in your body, there are also “friendly” bacteria living on your skin. This is known as skin microbiome which depicts a flurry of microorganisms living on your skin, both good and bad. These are known as “skin flora” and consists of mostly bacteria but can also include viruses and fungi. It is crucial to maintain a good balance of microbiome on your skin as it defends the skin against painful skin conditions.
In fact, when the ratio of good bacteria vs bad bacteria goes out of balance, some may experience eczema flare-ups, acne due to abundance of P. Acnes (that’s where the word ‘acne’ comes from), dermatitis, inflammation and skin sensitivity. This is the reason why certain dermatologists prescribes antibiotics for severe acne problems.
There are few reasons why your skin microbiome is out of balance:
We all know scrubbing your face excessively will disrupt not only your skin’s natural oil and barrier but also your skin’s microbiome.
Gentle cleansers are usually microbiome-friendly and support the skin’s natural pH. There is a close link between good bacteria and skin pH. The optimal pH of skin on most of our face and body lies between 4.7 and 5.75. Cleansers which are too alkaline, such as those with sulphates, will strip the good bacteria off our skin and promote the growth of harmful bacteria.
UV rays not only can cause skin sensitivity and redness, but also can destroy your skin microbiome. Help your skin protect itself from harsh UV rays by not forgetting your sunscreen!
I’m sure you’ve heard of some of the best DIY natural masks out there, which includes yogurt face mask. Not only is yogurt delicious to consume, it is also great for your skin! And part of the reason for this is because yogurt contains lactic acids. Yes, if you recall, lactic acids are produced by our friendly bacteria species, Lactobacillus, hence giving it its natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Lactic acids also soothes and balances your skin just like probiotics can do for your gut.
Now, probiotics alone may not be enough as it works best together with PREbiotics and POSTbiotics. Now what are prebiotics and postbiotics and why are they good for your skin microbiome?
Prebiotics are essentially “food” or “fertilizers” for probiotics to grow and stay healthy. In food, they are most commonly found in whole grains, bananas, greens, onions and soybeans. Because we don't digest these foods, they go straight to our guts where the good bacteria feast on them. In skincare, look for ingredients which contain plant sugars such as xylitol and rhamnose.
Postbiotics are simply put, by-products of good bacteria/prebiotics and are known to contribute to the overall general health of your skin and gut. Considering the links between prebiotics and skin health, its no surprise that we might see topical postbiotics in the future or skincare?
From toners to serums, there is a plethora of probiotics-infused skincare products in the market these days. When buying a probiotics-packed beauty product, look for ingredients like Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Vitreoscilla and prebiotic sugars like xylitol or fruit extracts.
Our recommendation for probiotics skincare:
The Orgaid Greek Yogurt & Nourishing Organic Sheet Mask contains powerhouse ingredients such as Lactobacillus Ferment and Greek Yogurt Powder which gives it its anti-bacterial properties and balances skin’s microbiome with healthy bacteria. Other notable ingredients such as Lavender helps to soothe troubled skin and is a source for antioxidants. Hyaluronic Acid is another key ingredient in the sheet mask and works as a moisture booster for your dehydrated skin. Give probiotics skincare a try and feel the difference on your skin!
Last but not least, it is crucial that you take care of your good vs bad bacteria balance IN your gut/body as our skin is also a reflection of our internal health. We all know how stress and aggresors in life can affect our physical health which then gets reflected on your skin as acne. Beauty always comes inside out first.
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