How Can I Treat My Acne With Probiotics
Acne can be treated with probiotics in a variety of ways. Delivery can be topically in the form of acne treatment creams or serums containing probiotics. It can also be as a daily supplement and/or incorporated into your diet in food and drink.
There is an abundance of probiotic foods which can be easily incorporated or swapped into your diet. These can all aid in calming gut inflammation. Incorporating these foods can reduce the appearance of skin inflammation in the form of acne breakouts. Foods such as yoghurts, kimchi, miso, pickles, sauerkraut to name but a few, are all gut-friendly probiotics that can be easily incorporated into your diet.
However, there have been recent studies suggesting that dairy may aggravate acne in some people. It may be an idea to look for a dairy-free probiotic to avoid potential further skin aggravation. Listen and pay attention to your skin when consuming and using certain ingredients. Whether in your diet or skincare routine, this is essential to find what sort of probiotic is best for you.
Can You Really Use Probiotics To Fight Acne
If youve ever had a breakout, youve likely tried to dry those suckers up with bacteria-killing washes and spot treatments. You know, because conventional wisdom has shown that zits, particularly the big painful cysts, are often caused by P. acnes bacteria getting into your pores and going to town.
But now bacteria is trying to spin a comeback kid PR campaign, thanks to the rise of probiotics in everything yoghurts, supplements and now skincare products.
But for those of us who have acne, naturally youd wonder: Wouldnt those probiotics just make my skin worse? Luckily, Dr Whitney Bowe, NYC celebrity dermatologist and author of The Beauty of Dirty Skin, is here to lay it all out for you .
First of all, what are probiotics?
While you might automatically associate the word bacteria with things like food poisoning and Petri dishes, not all bacteria is bad for you. Enter probiotics, which are live, friendly bacteria that benefit your overall health and your skin. They help you digest food, combat against environmental damage and strengthen the immune system, Dr Bowe says.
Your body naturally contains tons of bacteria to help it function properly, says Dr Bowe. This is called the microbiome. There are more than one trillion bacteria in the skin, originating from approximately 1 000 different species, says Dr Bowe.
Read more: 5 foods high in probiotics
What does this have to do with my skin?
Whats the best way to use probiotics for acne?
1. Eat probiotics
R75 per month
What Causes An Imbalance In Gut Bacteria
The most common cause of gut bacterial imbalance is long-term use of oral antibiotics. This includes antibiotics for acne specifically as well as for other conditions. Think of antibiotics as the bacterial security guards of your macrobiotic nightclub and your “good bacteria” as by-standing good samaritans. The antibiotics are strong and mighty and knock out the bad bacteria to keep the club running smoothly with little to no issues. Unfortunately, antibiotics also takeout some good bacteria along the way. Once you stop taking antibiotics and there aren’t enough “good guys” to keep the bad guys in line…you’ve got a problem.
But antibiotics aren’t the only thing throwing off our microbiome. In today’s world, we’re constantly exposed to countless toxins in our environment, in our homes, and even our dish soap. These toxins can have an equally gnarly impact on our gut health.
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Should You Take Probiotics For Acne
The term “microbiome” has never been more popular…and for good reason! In recent years, more research has surfaced that has allowed us to develop a better understanding of the gut and its role in our healthincluding and especially skin health. It seems that an imbalance in gut bacteria leads to poor absorption of food nutrients as well as poor filtering out of toxins from the intestinal tract. This gnarly combination can take a serious toll on our digestive system as well as our integumentary system , leadingfor many people to the development and worsening of inflammatory skin conditions including acne. Fortunately, there are several ways we can improve the health of our microbiome and help fight acne from the inside with the use of both probiotics and prebiotics.
What Are The Bad Bacteria
Bad bacteria arenât always that bad. If we have enough balance in our digestive and immune systems, bad bacteria really donât do much to our bodies. In fact, they sometimes work with the good bacteria to help us build immunity to other germs and illnesses.
But if there is not enough good bacteria and too much bad bacteria, then some more serious illnesses can occur like auto-immune diseases or cancer. This is the reason why we still try to avoid the bad germs and bacteria by wiping down surfaces and washing our hands.
How To Spot Hormonal Acne
The tell-tale sign of hormonal acne is the location of cystsmore commonly known as pimpleson the face. In adults, hormonal acne typically affects the chin and mouth regions. It is not uncommon for women to experience hormonal acne after ovulation and during menopause when levels of female sex hormones like estrogen naturally drop.
In teens and adolescents, hormonal acne tends to most affect the T zone which consists of the chin, mouth, nose, and forehead. Acne worsened by hormonal fluctuations can also affect the cheeks and jawline. In youngsters, this type of acne corresponds to rapid hormonal changes during puberty. In many cases, this acne gradually becomes less severe with age.
Probiotics For Hormonal Acne
Wondering how probiotics might help hormonal acne? Its simple. Due to the high levels of androgens, oil glands in the skin become hyperactive. They begin to secrete too much oil which clogs pores and traps bacteria in the skin. The proper term for this oil is sebum.
There is one primary type of bacteria associated with acne: Propionibacterium acnes . While P. acnes is found on the healthy skin, levels of this bacteria become overgrown with acne. The bacteria take over, disrupting the balance of the skin microbiome and causing inflammation.
The skin microbiome is the term for the vast ecosystem of microbes that live on the surface of the skin. Probiotic skincare products like Probiotic Action® helps hormonal acne by reintroducing beneficial bacteria to the skin. These beneficial bacteria then compete with P. acnes and other inflammatory microbes over food sources on the skin and in pores.
The result? Reduced levels of P. acnes and improved levels of healthy, natural bacteria.
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Can All Probiotics Help Acne
You cant assume any old probiotic will work for acne. This is because the effects of probiotics are strain-specific, meaning not all strains will deliver the same result .
This is easy to understand if you think of probiotic strains like dog breeds: you have many breeds with different qualities and abilities. For example, a husky and a chihuahua are both dogsbut if you wanted to pull a sleigh, you know which one youd choose.
You can identify the probiotic strain by the third part of its name. For example, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 belong to the same genus and species , but theyre different strains.
You want to choose strains that are proven to influence acne or the pathways that drive it.
Side note: its not just you thinking itbacterial names are weird, long and confusing. They also change. Annoying, isnt it?
How Long Do Probiotics Take To Work For Acne
If you start taking a probiotic supplement, you should give it at least 12 weeks before you judge whether its helping your acne. This is the timeframe most often used in trials .
What if youve been taking a probiotic supplement for more than 12 weeks and havent noticed a difference? It may be that a) you need to try a different probiotic or b) probiotics arent tackling the root cause of your acne.
Acne has many triggers . Are you mega-stressed? Are you using overly aggressive skincare? Are you eating something that doesnt agree with you? If you want a comprehensive approach to tackling acne, check out The Happy Skin Roadmap.
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Can Probiotics Worsen Acne
There’s a chance that taking a new probiotic might worsen acne, at least at first. When you alter the microbial environment in your gut, you may see temporary changes in your skin, including breakouts. One approach recommended by Mary Schook, an aesthetician and cosmetic chemist, is to give probiotics a “breakout period” before determining if they could work to treat your acne in the long run.
Kober, M., & Bowe, W. P. . The effect of probiotics on immune regulation, acne, and photoaging. International Journal of Women’s Dermatology,
Lee, Byun, & Kim. . Potential Role of the Microbiome in Acne: A Comprehensive Review. Journal of Clinical Medicine,
Salem, I., Ramser, A., Isham, N., & Ghannoum, M. A. . The Gut Microbiome as a Major Regulator of the Gut-Skin Axis. Frontiers in Microbiology,
SzÃ¡ntÃ³, M., DÃ³zsa, A., Antal, D., SzabÃ³, K., KemÃ©ny, L., & Bai, P. . Targeting the gutâskin axisâProbiotics as new tools for skin disorder management? Experimental Dermatology,
Dr. Whitney Bowe, MD, board-certified dermatologist, Medical Director of Integrative Dermatology, Aesthetics & Wellness at Advanced Dermatology, P.C., and Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center.
How To Take Oral Probiotics
Everyones gut microbiome requires a unique diet, but the best way to balance your gut flora is by incorporating foods that are naturally rich in probiotics, such as:
Try to consume these foods every day, as most probiotics tend to pass through the digestive system quite quickly.
If eating foods rich in probiotics and prebiotics is impractical for you then consider choosing a good quality probiotic supplement, and when doing so be cognizant that the diversity of strains and their delivery mechanisms are both important factors to consider.
While theres little consensus on when the best time is to consume probiotic supplements, some experts suggest that if youre regularly eating prebiotics and have an adequate supply of them in your gut, then supplements are best taken on an empty stomach, when acid levels are lower. Of the billions of probiotics that enter your system, the vast majority will immediately die upon contact with your stomach acid.
Others say that whenever taking a live strain probiotic supplement, the ideal time to take it is 20 minutes after eating, right away in the morning when you get up, or immediately before going to bed for the night. The theory goes that with the right timing, more probiotics will survive your stomach acid and make their way into the large intestine and colon, where they will be most beneficial.
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Do You Need To Use Probiotics Supplements To Treat Acne
Although most people can include probiotics into their diet without issue however, there is the risk of experiencing a reaction while you try a new supplement the doctor Dr. Henry. Its the reason its always recommended to speak with your doctor prior to adding new supplements to your regimen, since they are familiar with the medical history of your patients and can assist you in determining which is the best probiotic for you and your particular symptoms.
In general, you can take an oral probiotic every day, just as you take a vitamin, says Dr. Henry, who frequently recommends oral probiotics for patients using antibiotics to treat skin problems like acne, eczema, or Rosacea to help balance the amount between good and harmful bacteria. Probiotics are great to take to treat acne and other conditions that are anti-inflammatory, because they keep the balance of bacteria in check and constant, she says.
Gardens Of Lifes Dr. Formulated Probiotics, once daily for womens
How To Use Probiotics For Acne
As we’ve explored, there are two main options for introducing probiotics into your skincare routine. Eating, drinking , or supplementing them is one option. “Probiotics may be taken by mouth as an effective yet indirect way to treat acne,” Zeichner explains. “In situations where the gut microbiome is altered, a patient can develop inflammation within their digestive tract, which spills over to the general circulation as well as the skin. Correcting a ‘leaky gut’ by eating or supplementing with probiotics may help calm inflammation in the skin as well as improve acne.”
The other option is to work some probiotics into your a.m. and p.m. skin care routines.”Topical skin care products do not typically contain live microorganisms,” says Zeichner. “Most contain prebiotics, which are essentially foods that preferentially support growth and healthy bacteria on the skin.”
Probiotic-infused products include cleansers, serums, moisturizers, oils, and masks, meaning there’s a way for everyone to introduce these hardworking organisms into their lives. Not sure where to start? Try a serum. “For probiotics, serums are best. Serums are meant to be the workhorse products of the skincare routine. They deliver powerful doses of actives to target a specific skin concern at lower molecular weights,” says Engelman.
How Do Probiotics Work
Researchers already know that probiotics can work in positive ways to help the body with chronic health conditions such as constipation or diarrhea , chronic digestive issues, acne and certain other dermatologic conditions.
However, researchers still arent clear about exactly how probiotics do what they do!
Leading theories suggest that taking probiotics can replenish your bodys own healthy gut flora, improve your bodys immune system function, repair your digestive tract after illness or injury, fight off unfriendly microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses and improve your bodys ability to use nutrients from food by improving digestive function.
However, the most important thing to know if you are struggling to heal your skin from acne is that probiotics can help! According to Science Direct and theJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology, probiotics have been shown to have a very promising impact on chronic acne.
Other Health Benefits Of Probiotics
Previous studies have also revealed that probiotics can be helpful in treating chronic health conditions such as constipation or diarrhea, chronic digestive issues, and certain other dermatologic conditions. Leading theories suggest that taking probiotics can help –
- Replenish your body’s own healthy gut bacteria
- Improve your body’s immune system
- Repair your digestive tract after illness or injury
- Fight off “unfriendly” microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses
- Improve your body’s ability to use nutrients from food by improving digestive function.
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Supporting Research On Probiotics For Acne
A 2011 study revisiting the work of dermatologists John H. Stokes and Donald M. Pillsbury concluded that, while acne is not a disease of the gastrointestinal tract, it is connected to the gut.
They stated, There appears to be more than enough supportive evidence to suggest that gut microbes, and the integrity of the gastrointestinal tract itself, are contributing factors in the acne process.
Studies have shown that probiotics have successfully treated inflammatory skin issues, such as atopic dermatitis, especially in children. Skin prone to acne or rosacea has shown improvement with probiotic use as well.
Remember when we discussed the bacteria Cutibacterium? A recent scientific study, published in 2018, explored the effects of taking probiotics on C. acnes. Scientists observed that as good bacteria were applied topically, levels of C. acnes decreased. They further noted that results were better when consistent upkeep of the skins microbiome occurred.
Probiotics For Better Skin Health
So obviously, if your skin health is related to your gut health, then improving your gut health is a no brainer, right?!
Bring on the probiotics!
The health community rants and raves about the benefits of probioticsand theres no doubt that probiotics do some wonderful things for your body and health.
Probiotics are good gut bacteria that act like gasoline in a carwhen you take them they help fill your gut ecosystem tank with bacteria that aid in nutrient absorption, digestion and elimination of wastes and toxins.
In fact, several studies sing praises about using probiotics for better skin health.
Survey Says: Skin-Probiotic Studies
However, although the research on probiotics and improved skin health sounds promising, whats going on if you take a probiotic, and you start to break out?!
Here are 5 Reasons Why Probiotics Cause Skin Breakouts.
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