There remains a common misconception that bacteria on our skin can equate to problems such as acne, inflammation and infection. While foreign and bad bacteria are certainly causal factors, the fact remains that our skin depends upon good bacteria to function well.
Our skin’s “flora” is our bodies’ first defence against the foreign bacteria that can wreak havoc on our skin health and appearance. An imbalance of good bacteria can result in a disruption to pH levels and therefore affects our skin’s acid mantle. Those with dry, flaky skin who need to restore these levels, which are vital for moisture retention and healthy bouncy skin, should possibly look at the microorganism balance of the face.
This is where probiotics and prebiotics come in – gut health has been of interest in Western culture of late and probiotics are something becoming more and more familiar to the average person.
To benefit most from the likes of pre and pro biotics, it’s important to understand exactly what each of them do and how they work.
Probiotics contain live organisms which can help to replenish your body’s natural supply of good bacteria. They work to maintain a balance which, in turn, reduces the occurrence of inflammation and infection that can be brought on by bad bacteria.
Our skin contains up to 1000 types of bacteria (good and bad) at any given time. The skin on our face can regularly be depleted of the necessary microflora by factors such as air pollution, sunlight and over-cleansing. While probiotics can be applied topically to the skin, it is not the most effective form of administration; the harsh environment of an external area can make it difficult for the bacteria to ‘colonise’. Oral probiotics allow the body to make the best use of the bacteria you are providing.
Prebiotics are non-digestible. They are actually a source of sustenance for the good bacteria in our bodies, while the bad cannot live off of it. This means that prebiotics assist in the growth of only the friendly bacteria, which results in a much healthier balance.
Prebiotics can be applied topically as well as systemically (ingested) as they can aid in feeding the microorganisms of the skin externally as well as internally.
Prebiotics and probiotics have been scientifically shown to assist skin problems such as acne, rosacea, psoriasis and dermatitis. It can also aid in general skin health as a healthy balance of good bacteria helps to ensure adequate moisture levels.
There is now a growing number of products on the market that incorporate probiotics – both in skincare and makeup. Consumers can purchase from brands such as Clinique, Tula, Eminence and Aurelia that have already started to utilise microorganism technology within the ranges.
If you are looking at the use of pre or probiotics to aid in reaching your skin’s optimum health, it’s best to see a health or skin care professional to ensure that it’s right for you.
Image Source: Sinan Soyalic