What are topical probiotics?
Before we discuss the benefits of this line of skincare products, let’s break down the concept of a topical probiotic. You’ve probably already encountered oral probiotics; ingestible supplements that contain healthy bacteria cultures. Yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi are all probiotic foods.
When taken orally, a probiotic supplement can help restore balance to the bacteria within your body, reducing the risk of some infections, including acne and yeast infections. They can also help you to maintain a healthy digestive system.
In contrast to an oral probiotic supplement, a topical probiotic is a product that contains live cultures, and is applied directly to the skin.
Topical probiotic benefits for skin
So, why might be probiotics be good for topical use on your skin? Good bacteria delivers health benefits to the surface of the skin, as well as the inside of the body. Here are some of the benefits of topical probiotics:
1. Fighting acne: Topical probiotics can help to maintain the balance of bacteria in your skin, reducing the frequency and severity of acne breakouts and skin infections.
2. Soothing inflammation: When bad bacteria accumulate in the skin tissue, they can excrete substances that cause inflammation in your skin–leading not only to acne, but to puffiness, redness, and other forms of irritation. By rebalancing the bacteria in your skin, topical probiotics soothe inflammation, giving you smoother skin and a more even skin tone.
3. Moisturizing skin & protecting against damage: Topical probiotics also help to bolster the skin’s natural, defensive barrier. Your skin’s defensive barrier is fragile, and many of us are guilty of weakening it with harsh products and over-exfoliation. By building it up again, you’ll help to lock moisture into your skin, eliminating dryness. You’ll also strengthen your skin’s defenses against environmental factors such as sunlight and air pollution.
Best topical probiotics
Marie Veronique’s Pre + Probiotic Daily Mist: This toning mist is easy to use, and contains 34 strains of healthy, live bacteria to keep your skin in check. This mist goes the extra mile to maintain a healthy bacterial balance: Not only does it deliver healthy bacteria to your skin, but it also supplements your skin with essential nutrients required to maintain an ideal balance over time. Meanwhile, it soothes inflammation and hydrates–all with natural ingredients.
Eminence Organic Skincare’s Clear Skin Probiotic Moisturizer: Eminence has created the ideal moisturizer for acne-prone skin: Not only is it packed with healthy bacteria to restore balance to your skin, it also contains astringent willow bark extract to reduce oil, cucumber juice to soothe and tone pores, and a blend of moisturizing ingredients to keep your skin looking soft and supple. As this moisturizer is very thick and heavy, it’s ideal for nighttime use; however, you can also blend a small amount with water to liquefy it a bit.
DIY topical probiotic face mask
If you’d rather not shell out for yet another skin care product, you can also make a DIY face mask with probiotic powers. The main, probiotic ingredient in this mask is plain yogurt; We recommend using natural, organic yogurt with live cultures to get the full effects of this mask.
In addition to yogurt, you’ll use lemon juice to clean your pores and brighten your skin. If you have darker skin, you may want to skip the lemon juice–which can have bleaching properties. You’ll also use honey to help eliminate harmful bacteria, and banana to moisturize your skin with essential vitamins and minerals.
To make the mask, combine ½ tablespoon of yogurt, ½ teaspoon of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of honey in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mash up a marble-sized piece of banana to form a fine paste. Add the banana to the other ingredients, and whisk until the mixture is smooth.
To use the mask, cleanse your skin and prep it with a warm towel to open up your pores. With clean fingers or a clean makeup brush, apply an even coat of the face mask to your skin, then allow it to sink in for 20-30 minutes. Then remove the mask with a clean washcloth, and tone and moisturize your skin as usual.
Camille Bond is a freelance writer based in New York City. She has interned in the film industry and the publishing industry, as well as for a political campaign. When it comes to the world of beauty and wellness, she loves researching natural skincare brands, concocting DIY recipes, and discovering new mediation techniques!