You see them everywhere now! Lining your grocery store shelves, filling your pharmacy rows, even on your TV with “Halloween” actress Jamie Lee Curtis touting the benefits.
I’m talking about probiotics.
And Jamie believes in yogurt’s ability to keep you regular. But she might not know about one of the biggest benefits of a probiotic — a young smooth face.
But not just any probiotics will give you wrinkle-free skin. Let me explain…
Stores are full of antibacterial products designed to clean your skin and remove harmful bacteria that can cause problems like acne and rosacea.
But when you clean your face and skin with harsh cleansers and soaps, you remove both good and bad bacteria. And a disruption to the balance of bacteria leaves your skin vulnerable to problems like dryness, inflammation and infection.
Even the FDA admits these products are dangerous. They recently banned the common antibacterial chemical triclosan from soaps because of the dangers it poses to your thyroid, among other concerns.
The skin microbiome has been shown to protect against harmful bacteria, pollution and free radicals, all of which can accelerate aging.1
Probiotics have an anti-inflammatory effect and can also act as antimicrobials. Topically, they can even be used as a natural exfoliant.
Probiotics also promote the healing of scars and burns, rejuvenate the skin and strengthen your skin’s immunity.
When taken orally, probiotics can even treat dandruff. A study conducted in Hungary showed that patients enjoyed noticeable improvement in scalp redness, flaking and itching when they took Lactobacillus paracasei daily.2
Another probiotic from the same genus, Lactobacillus plantarum, is effective at treating acne.3
I recommend probiotics to my patients who ask for natural ways to repair their aging skin and protect against further damage.
Oral probiotics can protect your skin against photoaging… the damage done by UV radiation from sunlight that makes you look older than your years.
Researchers recently tested the effect of taking oral Bifidobacterium breve before exposure to UVB radiation. The probiotic significantly improved skin hydration and lessened skin thickening.4
Clinical evidence shows that Lactobacillus plantarum increases skin hydration, reduces facial wrinkles and improves skin elasticity and glow.
After just 12 weeks of taking 10 billion CFUs per day of L. plantarum, women showed significantly higher skin hydration and a significant reduction in wrinkle depth compared to a placebo.5
Topically, skin cream containing streptococcus thermophilus was found to increase moisture in the skin of aging women.6
I recommend adding an oral probiotic to your routine.
De-Age Your Skin by Balancing Its Microbiome
- Don’t be afraid of dirt. Our ancestors worked and lived outside, coming into contact with dirt and soil every day. Now we work indoors and eat irradiated food. To help balance your skin’s microbiome, spend some time outdoors.
Consider gardening or just pull some weeds… get outdoors and just live your life and don’t be afraid of some good old-fashioned dirt.
- Avoid antibacterial soaps. Look for natural soap and shampoo alternatives like castile soap. Castile soap is a blend of olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil or any other commonly used vegetable oil. Castile soap can be made as either a hard bar soap or a liquid soap. It is very versatile and can replace many of your chemical-laden household detergent cleaners.
- Try a yogurt mask. Live-culture yogurt contains zinc and lactic acid (a natural hydroxy acid) that are great for your skin, and the “good” fats in yogurt help to nourish skin.
A live-culture yogurt mask is a great way to balance your skin’s microbiome.
Here’s a yogurt face mask recipe many of my patients like:
- Start with 1 Tbsp. of organic, live-culture yogurt.
- Add 1/2 tsp. of turmeric powder to fight acne, or 1 tsp. of olive oil to help with dry skin.
- Leave it on your face for 10-30 minutes, then wash off with warm water and pat your face dry.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. Gueniche A, et al. “Lactobacillus paracasei CNCM I-2116 (ST11) inhibits substance P-induced skin inflammation and accelerates skin barrier function recovery in vitro.” Eur J Dermatol. 2010;20(6):731-737.
2. Guéniche AG, et al. “Oral supplementation with probiotic Lactobacillus paracasei ST-11 improves dandruff condition.” Int J Trichology. 2011;3(Suppl1):S22.
3. Muizzuddin N, et al. “Physiological effect of a probiotic on skin.” J Cosmet Sci. 2012;63(6):385-395.
4. Satoh T, et al. “Effect of Bifidobacterium breve B-3 on skin photoaging induced by chronic UV irradiation in mice.” Benef Microbes. 2015;6(4):497-504.
5. Lee DE, et al. “Clinical evidence of effects of Lactobacillus plantarum HY7714 on skin aging: A randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study.” J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2015;25(12):2160-2168.
6. Di Marzio L, et al. “Increase of skin-ceramide levels in aged subjects following a short-term topical application of bacterial sphingomyelinase from Streptococcus thermophilus.” Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2008;21(1):137-143.