You probably already know that the good-for-you bacteria in yogurt and kombucha can help keep your gut happy. But you may not realize that probiotics are also beneficial for your skin. Hold off on slathering cultured dairy items on your face, though. There’s a whole slew of probiotic skincare products designed to moisturize, reduce inflammation, and even fight acne. Here’s how to choose the best ones for you—whether you have frequent breakouts or just get the occasional zit.
What exactly is probiotic skincare, and what are the benefits?
Probiotic skincare products contain healthy bacteria (called probiotics) that aid various skin concerns by keeping the skin’s microbiome happy, explains board-certified dermatologist Rhonda Klein, MD, MPH, FAAD, a partner at Modern Dermatology in Connecticut.
The microbiome, which is found beneath the top layer of dead skin, consists of billions of microorganisms that help form a natural barrier against bad bacteria and manage inflammation and the skin’s pH. Whether we’re talking about our skin or our gut, the goal is to have a balanced microbiome. When the skin’s microbiome gets out of whack, it can lead to skin issues like acne and eczema.
“When used topically, probiotic skincare products produce antimicrobial peptides that fight bad bacteria, fungi, and viruses,” Dr. Klein explains. Pretty much everyone can benefit from this, but research shows that probiotics are especially skilled at taming acne by inhibiting inflammation, oil production, and the growth of propionibacterium, a bacteria linked to breakouts.
How can I choose the right probiotic skincare product for me?
Choosing the right products depends on the severity of your breakouts. Do you generally have clear skin and only get the occasional zit? Or does acne plague you on the regular?
If you have frequent breakouts …
- Dr. Klein recommends a product that combines probiotics with proven acne fighters like salicylic acid.
- We like Tula Skincare Clear It Up Acne Clearing + Tone Correcting Gel because it combines acne-fighting salicylic acid with azelaic acid (a skincare ingredient that occurs naturally in grains) to erase marks from old blemishes. Plus it contains hydrating probiotics and hyaluronic acid to soothe irritated skin.
If you only get occasional blemishes…
- Since your skin is generally clear, Dr. Klein recommends easing into a new skincare routine, so you don’t disrupt the existing pH balance of your skin.
- Tula Skincare Keep It Clear Acne Foam Cleanser can help keep pesky pimples from popping up. It’s free of irritating alcohols and fragrances, so it’s geared toward even the most sensitive skin. Plus, it’s got probiotics to moisturize, tea tree oil to reduce redness, and licorice and azelaic acid to fade dark spots left by past blemishes.
- When a zit comes along, apply Tula Skincare Go Away Acne Spot Treatment. It’s made with benzoyl peroxide, which obliterates blemishes, as well as tea tree oil to fight redness and inflammation.