In recent years researchers and beauty enthusiasts alike have gotten into the fascinating world of the microbiome. The delicate ecosystem of microorganisms that reside on our skin has garnered significant attention, leading to the rise of microbiome skincare. This approach focuses on harnessing the power of prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics to balance skin health and unlock a radiant complexion. Below, we will explore the science behind microbiome skincare and delve into the benefits and functions of prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics in achieving balanced and nourished skin and discover how these innovative ingredients can transform your beauty routine.
What is Microbiome Skincare?
Microbiome skincare refers to a skincare approach that focuses on nurturing and maintaining a healthy balance of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses, that naturally inhabit the skin. Like the gut microbiome, the skin microbiome plays a crucial role in maintaining skin health and functioning. It acts as a protective barrier, helps regulate immune responses, and contributes to overall skin well-being. Microbiome skincare consists of using topical skincare products that contain prebiotics, probiotics (aka microorganisms), postbiotics, or a combination of the three.
Prebiotics in Skincare
Prebiotics are non-digestible compounds that serve as a food source for beneficial microorganisms, such as bacteria, in the skin microbiome. Unlike probiotics, which are live bacteria or yeasts, prebiotics themselves are not living organisms. Instead, they act as nourishment for the existing beneficial bacteria on the skin’s surface.
The primary function of prebiotics in skincare is to support the growth and activity of beneficial skin bacteria, such as Staphylococcus epidermidis and Cutibacterium acnes. By providing a favorable environment for these bacteria, prebiotics help maintain a balanced and healthy skin microbiome.
Types of Prebiotics in Skincare
Prebiotic ingredients are commonly found in skincare products due to their numerous benefits for the skin.These prebiotic ingredients play a crucial role in restoring the skin’s microbiome, which aids in healing common skin conditions and revitalizing the skin from within. Here are some of the most common prebiotic ingredients found in skincare:
- Oat: Oat is a natural prebiotic that soothes and hydrates the skin. It is rich in beta-glucans, which strengthen the skin’s barrier function and protect it from environmental stressors.
- Rice: Rice, a prebiotic rich in amino acids and vitamins, brightens the skin, reduces inflammation, and improves skin texture.
- Flaxseed: Flaxseed, abundant in omega-3 fatty acids, hydrates the skin, reduces inflammation, and improves skin elasticity.
- Soy: Soy, a prebiotic rich in antioxidants and phytoestrogens, reduces hyperpigmentation, enhances skin texture, and boosts collagen production.
- Glucomannan: Derived from the konjac plant, glucomannan hydrates the skin, reduces inflammation, and improves skin texture.
- Ginseng: Ginseng, packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients, improves skin elasticity, reduces hyperpigmentation, and boosts collagen production.
- Xylitol: Xylitol helps balance the skin’s pH levels, reduce inflammation, hydrate the skin, and improve its texture.
- Rhamnose: Rhamnose soothes and hydrates the skin, reduces inflammation, and improves skin texture.
- Inulin: Inulin helps balance the skin’s pH levels, reduce inflammation, hydrate the skin, and improve its texture.
- Oligosaccharides: Oligosaccharides assist in balancing the skin’s pH levels, reducing inflammation, hydrating the skin, and improving its texture.
Benefits of Prebiotics in Skincare
Prebiotics play a vital role in microbiome skincare by providing nourishment to beneficial bacteria on the skin’s surface. When applied topically, prebiotics bypass the skin’s enzymes, to reach and interact with the bacteria residing on the skin. These bacteria then ferment the prebiotics, and use them as an energy source. Through this process, the beneficial bacteria generate by-products like short-chain fatty acids. These by-products create a favorable environment that supports the growth of beneficial bacteria while inhibiting harmful bacteria. This delicate balance is crucial for maintaining a healthy skin microbiome and promoting overall skin health.
By fostering the growth of beneficial bacteria and suppressing harmful bacteria, prebiotics help prevent common skin issues such as acne, eczema, and other skin disorders. Additionally, prebiotics promote the production of ceramides, which are lipids that contribute to the skin’s protective barrier. This fortified skin barrier acts as a defense mechanism, preventing water loss, improving hydration levels, and shielding the skin from environmental stressors.
Furthermore, prebiotics possess anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe and calm the skin. By promoting a harmonious balance of bacteria, prebiotics can reduce inflammation and alleviate skin conditions such as redness, itching, and sensitivity.
Probiotics in Skincare
Probiotics are living microorganisms, such as bacteria and yeasts, that offer numerous benefits to the skin when applied topically. These beneficial bacteria help to restore and maintain a healthy balance in the skin’s microbiome, which is essential for skin health.
Types of Probiotics in Skincare
Probiotics in skincare have become increasingly recognized for their numerous benefits. Skincare products infused with probiotics play a vital role in maintaining a balanced and healthy microbiome. The microbiome is a diverse collection of microorganisms that exist on and inside our bodies, that play a crucial role in our overall health and well-being. By incorporating probiotics into skincare routines, we can keep this microbiome in balance, thus supporting a healthy complexion.
Common probiotics in skincare include:
- Lactobacillus: Known for its ability to produce lactic acid, it serves as an effective exfoliant, gently removing dead skin cells and promoting a smoother complexion. Lactobacillus also aids in maintaining the skin’s pH balance, which is essential for a healthy skin barrier. You can find Lactobacillus in cleansers, moisturizers, and anti-aging products.
- Bifidobacterium: stimulates the production of peptides, collagen, and ceramides in the skin. These components contribute to improved skin elasticity, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Certain strains of Bifidobacterium also have exfoliating properties, helping to rejuvenate the skin and minimize pore size.
- Enterococcus: Specifically, Enterococcus faecium is a well-recognized probiotic ingredient utilized in skincare formulations. It plays a valuable role in promoting a healthy balance between beneficial and harmful bacteria within the skin’s microbiome.
The Benefits of Probiotics in Skincare
Probiotics help to balance the skin’s microbiome. When the skin’s microbiome is in balance, this has nourishing, hydrating, calming, and anti-aging effects on the face . Some benefits from probiotics include:
- Improved Skin Texture: Probiotics can refine and smooth the skin’s texture for a radiant and supple appearance.
- Reduced Redness and Irritation: Probiotics have soothing properties, and effectively reduce redness and irritation in sensitive skin.
- Balanced pH Levels: Probiotics play a vital role in maintaining pH balance, which is crucial for healthy skin.
- Antimicrobial Properties: Probiotics combat harmful bacteria and fungi to shield the skin from potential infections.
- Increased Hydration: Probiotics lock in moisture, safeguarding the skin from dryness and flakiness while ensuring a supple and nourished complexion.
- Reduced Inflammation: Through their ability to regulate the immune system’s response, probiotics effectively alleviate inflammation associated with common skin conditions like acne and rosacea.
- Anti-Aging: Probiotics stimulate the synthesis of peptides, collagen, and ceramides, improving the skin’s elasticity and minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Postbiotics in Skincare
Postbiotics, the metabolic by-products of probiotics, have gained recognition for their beneficial properties in skincare. These compounds offer their own unique advantages and contribute to the overall health and balance of the skin.
Types of Postbiotics in Skincare
Postbiotics are widely utilized in skincare for their numerous benefits. Some well-known postbiotics commonly found in skincare include:
- Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs): SCFAs are organic acids produced during the fermentation process of probiotics. They have anti-inflammatory properties and help strengthen the skin barrier.
- Peptides: Peptides are small protein fragments that can promote collagen synthesis and improve skin elasticity. They contribute to reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Enzymes: Enzymes derived from probiotics assist in exfoliating the skin, promoting a smoother and brighter complexion.
- Organic acids: Organic chemical acids, such as lactic acid and acetic acid, have gentle exfoliating properties, promoting cell turnover and improving skin texture.
Benefits of Postbiotics in Skincare
Postbiotics, the metabolic byproducts of probiotic microorganisms, offer an array of benefits in skincare. These substances can have soothing, smoothing, and anti-aging properties. Postbiotics benefit the skin through:
- Enhanced skin barrier function: Postbiotics help strengthen the skin barrier, improving its ability to retain moisture and protect against external aggressors.
- Anti-inflammatory effects: Postbiotics exhibit anti-inflammatory properties, reducing redness, irritation, and inflammation associated with various skin conditions.
- Skin rejuvenation: Peptides derived from postbiotics can stimulate collagen production, improving skin elasticity and firmness.
- Improved skin texture and tone: Enzymes and organic acids found in postbiotics aid in gentle exfoliation, promoting a smoother and more even skin texture and tone.
- Balancing the skin microbiome: Postbiotics contribute to maintaining a healthy balance of the skin’s microbiome by supporting the growth of beneficial bacteria and inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria.
Top Microbiome Skincare Products with Probiotics
With microbiome skincare all the rage these days, it’s easy to find products containing prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics. Some of the most popular microbiome supporting skincare products include:
Biossance Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer
Biossance’s gel moisturizer is a lightweight option that provides a natural, smooth glow. Infused with squalane and probiotic technology, this moisturizer restores radiance and reduces the effects of daytime stressors. It improves hydration, calms redness, and minimizes pore size. Designed for oily skin, it absorbs quickly and leaves a soothing effect. With probiotics and sustainable squalane oil, it balances and hydrates the skin, giving it a dewy appearance.
Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum
This cult-fave is enriched with bifida ferment lysate, a potent probiotic that fortifies, restores, and shields the skin’s microbiome. Along with hyaluronic acid, it deeply hydrates and soothes, improving skin texture and reducing signs of aging by diminishing fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven tone for a smoother, more youthful complexion.
Suitable for all skin types, Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum defends against environmental aggressors, provides antioxidant protection and addresses loss of firmness, tone, and hydration. The oil-free formulation is dermatologist and ophthalmologist tested.
Tula Skincare Hydrating Day and Night Cream
Tula Skincare, founded by a gastroenterologist, was one of the first skincare brands to utilize probiotics. Their Hydrating Day and Night Cream, a beloved favorite, is meticulously crafted for optimal hydration. Enriched with prebiotics, probiotics, squalane, collagen, and peptides, it promotes healthier, youthful-looking skin and swiftly alleviates redness and restores balance to the skin’s microbiome. Its lightweight texture ensures seamless application under makeup, while its rich formulation nourishes and revitalizes skin day and night while enhancing overall skin quality.
CosRX Galactomyces 95 Tone Balancing Essence
CosRX Galactomyces 95 Tone Balancing Essence is a skincare solution with 95% Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate that nourishes and hydrates the skin, resulting in a gradual improvement in radiance and clarity. The Galactomyces ferment filtrate works to brighten tired skin while delivering vital hydration and antioxidants. Hyaluronic acid and panthenol, which help maintain optimal moisture levels, ensure a smooth and supple texture. The essence also contains niacinamide, which plays a crucial role in brightening and smoothing dull skin, replenishing moisture, and minimizing the appearance of dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and fine lines.