Grandma always said to eat your yogurt, but did she ever tell you to slather it on your face? In some cultures—like my half-Palestinian upbringing—she absolutely did. While I questioned the old wive’s tale of using plain yogurt mixed with other kitchen staples as a 10-minute face mask, the women in my family have flawless pores. And now I understand their logic (even if they didn’t understand it themselves). The proof is in the probiotics.
Yes, probiotics. The stuff lingering in your $10 kombucha and the insanely-priced supplements you pop in your mouth every so often is known to be essential for a healthy gut, but it’s also gaining traction as one of the best skincare ingredients.
What Are Probiotics?
We know about probiotics, but do we really know what they are? According to Dr. Yoram Harth, Board Certified Dermatologist and Medical Director of MDacne, they’re the “good” bacteria in your gut that fights off the bad ones, helping balance our digestive and immune systems, plus relieve inflammation throughout your body. They’re found in fermented foods—like my go-to yogurt—and are great for your overall health, but can actually help your skin recover from a variety of ailments.
How Probiotics Can Help Your Skin
According to Dr. Harth, an imbalance of bad bacteria in your gut can cause “leaky gut syndrome.” “In this leaky intestine syndrome, more toxic compounds are more easily absorbed through our gut, triggering and our immune system,” says Dr. Hart. “This can start low-level chronic inflammation that causes damage to multiple organs including redness, hypersensitivity of the skin, or acne breakouts.”
The good news: All you need is a daily dose of probiotics to give your skin a much-needed break. A 2015 study found that an increase of probiotic intake—in terms of both consumption and topical skincare products—helped regulate acne flare ups, rosacea, and signs of aging. So, science’s ruling: Probiotics are essential for letting your skin live it’s best life.
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"To be honest, I’m struggling to use anything else these days because these products have worked wonders for me! They help prevent breakouts (probiotics), they hydrate deeply (aqua infusion liquid!!), they diminish dark circles (that eye serum has retinol & vit c), decrease puffiness (again with the eye serum & caffeine), moisturize amazingly well (kefir mask & overnight treatment), exfoliate & re-texturize the skin (dual phase treatment pads = unreal!!), cleanse beautifully without stripping (purifying cleanser)… I could go on & on & on. 🙌"- @frankies.skin
How To Incorporate Probiotics Into Your Life
For the best probiotic dose, Dr. Harth suggests non-dairy probiotic pills. ”These type of probiotics pills contain more of the good bacteria and do not require refrigeration,” she says. To give your good gut bacteria some extra nourishment, she recommends incorporating more foods into your diet that are rich in prebiotics—a.k.a, the compound that probiotics snack on to stay alive. “Kombucha and yogi tea are the best choices,” she says. “Artichoke, asparagus, leaks, garlic, onion, carrots, fiber-rich foods, and omega three fish oil capsules are also classified as prebiotics.”
But, if you’re anything like me, then taking pills and keeping up with a balanced diet isn’t really your strong suit. So if all else fails, give your skin some extra nourishment with some probiotic-infused skincare. Another recent study actually found that these topically-applied products actually help trigger our body’s natural defense system, leading to less inflammation, redness, and unwanted blemishes.
Want to give this trending ingredient a try? Check out our favorite probiotic-infused skincare products below:
Biossance Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer
Say goodbye to redness and a lackluster texture. This gel moisturizer may feel light as air on your skin, but it packs a major punch of probiotics and, another skincare favorite, squalane. The result? Radiant, even skin.
TULA Exfoliating Treatment Mask
We’ve got a love-hate relationship with exfoliators. Yes, they help slough away any unwanted flakes, but sometimes, they’re a little too harsh. Instead of rough beads, this mask uses the power of chemical exfoliators like lactic acid to gently remove impurities, and teeny beads made of jojoba and Vitamin E to soften and comfort your skin. Plus, it also contains TULA’s signature ingredient which is—you guessed it—probiotics.
Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Cell Repair Night Oil
Oh, so you’re a natural natural girl? AThis probiotic-infused night oil contains none of the b.s. chemicals you stray away from. Instead, it’s packed with all-natural ingredients like rose and lavender to soothe your skin overnight.
Elizabeth Arden SUPERSTART Probiotic Boost Mask
Who doesn’t love a good sheet mask? This one will give you the good bacteria boost you’ve been craving in just 20 minutes.
Chantecaille Gold Recovery Mask
REN AHA Smart Renew Body Serum
While pampering your face is always key to great skin, don’t forget about the rest of your body. This serum contains probiotics to balance your pores, while lactic acid gives you a mild exfoliating treatment.
Erno Laszlo Hydra-Therapy Refresh Infusion
This best-selling serum is a godsend for dry skin types. It contains probiotics for balance, while adding some much-needed hydration through the magic of Sodium Hyaluronate, a derivative of skincare hero hyaluronic acid.