For a few years now, the benefits of probiotics and prebiotics have been known for the skin, in addition to their beneficial properties in the digestion process, in the body’s defense and in its protection from diseases, mainly in the stomach and intestine. In other words, these are “good” bacteria, which are good for both the health of the body and our skin.
This is because they have been shown to be of great help to the human microbiome, which is the invisible ecosystem of billions of microorganisms and bacteria that live on the skin.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are living micro-organisms that, when administered in sufficient quantities, bring a healthy effect to the body. The best known are lactobacilli (Lactobacillus sp) and bifidobacteria (Bifidobacterium sp).
What are prebiotics?
Prebiotics are nutrients, such as soluble carbohydrates, mainly inulins and fructooligosaccharides, which play an important role in the growth and maintenance of the beneficial bacteria of the microbiome already present in it, enhancing the concentration of probiotics.
Probiotics, prebiotics and skin
The role of the microbiome is:
- To strengthen the skin’s defense against environmental attacks
- To keep the pH of the skin balanced
- To help the skin always remain hydrated
- To combat the lack of comfort in the skin and improve the signs of dryness
- To control the factors that trigger reactions and cause discomfort to sensitive skin
For it to play its role properly and for our skin to be healthy, its microbiome must have balance and diversity. If these good bacteria are lost they can become harmful and cause many skin problems such as dryness, sensitivity and inflammation. For example, the bacterium Propionibacterium acnes lives normally on our skin without causing any problems. However, if the balance of the microbiome is disturbed, it causes the acne known to all of us. Accordingly, the Malassezia fungus lives normally on the skin, but if the balance of the microbiome is disturbed, it causes dandruff.
Probiotic bacteria that live naturally on the surface of the skin participate in the composition and balancing of the skin’s microbiome. They produce acidic substances, such as lactic acid, through a natural fermentation. These acidic substances lower the pH of the skin and thus prevent the growth of pathogenic bacteria. At the same time, the protective mantle they form prevents harmful environmental factors from damaging the skin, causing dryness, inflammation, irritation and accelerating the unwanted signs of aging.
Prebiotics are also very important for the balance of the microbiome, as they are a source of energy for the good bacteria that will help them improve their activity.
Probiotics in cosmetics
1. Dry and sensitive skin
Probiotics rebuild and shield the skin’s protective barrier, soothing the skin. In addition, they will moisturize it and speed up the repair process.
2. Tendency to acne
Cosmetics with probiotics have the ability to limit the growth of pathogenic microorganisms such as the acne bacterium P.acnes. At the same time, they can restore the skin’s acid mantle and soothe redness and acne scars.
3. Life in the city
Probiotics can strengthen the cells’ natural defenses and help them neutralize free radicals created by the skin’s extensive exposure to urban pollution. Thus they can also act as anti-aging ingredients preventing the deterioration of collagen and elastin caused by oxidative stress.
Prebiotics in cosmetics
Prebiotics commonly used in cosmetics are sugars of plant origin, such as rhamnose, xylitol and fibers from vegetables, fruits, dried fruits and nuts. These ingredients strengthen the immune system of the cells and provide food for the probiotics.