Your Guide to Probiotic Skin Care

You’ve probably heard of probiotics and the role they play in keeping your gut healthy. But do you know how to use them to get glowing skin? This is our guide to probiotic skin care.

What are Probiotics?

You may be familiar with the benefits of good bacteria in our bodies, we’ve all seen the Yakult adverts. But what are they and why do we need them? In short, good bacteria or probiotics help to break down food in our gut and maintain a healthy balance.

Just like our gut, our skin also relies on good bacteria to keep it healthy. The mixture of bacteria and yeasts that live naturally on your skin are called your microbiome. They work to protect your body against infections and limit it’s exposure to UV radiation and allergens. Having a healthy microbiome is pretty crucial to having a healthy body, not to mention healthy skin. However, many of us treat our skin as a surface to be scrubbed clean, instead of a living organ (it’s the largest one in your body). Therefore years of constantly washing our skin and hair with chemical laden shower gels and shampoos are stripping away the essential bacterias in our microbiome.

All of this over washing means that your skin’s natural defences are lowered and less likely to be able to fight against outside elements like pollution, UV damage and stress. This can in some cases lead to skin conditions like eczema and inflammation in the form or acne and rosacea. Not to mention dry skin and signs of premature ageing. 

In addition to this our increasingly indoor lifestyles mean that our microbiome is missing out on an essential probiotic found in our gut and skin called Soil Based Organisms or SBO’s. Before our food was mass produced and purchased in supermarkets, we grew it ourselves, and we got a little dirty doing it. This exposure to dirt is natural to us and is essential to regulate a healthy microbiome.
What does a healthy Microbiome look like?
It should have the perfect pH balance (around 5.5) and also protect our bodies from infection. It should also be naturally soft and comfortable, not dry, itchy, red or inflamed. Sounds good right? Here are some handy tips and products to help you restore your skin’s natural health.

Tips for maintaining a healthy microbiome:

  • Don’t shower all the time – bear with us! Constant washing in hot water using chemical and antibiotic soaps strips away essential bacteria from your skin. Why not try a gentler soap and a cooler shower? Only use soaps on areas where you naturally sweat; underarms, feet, groin and scalp. Or simply try to space out your showers so your skin gets a little rest.
  • Try a yoghurt face mask – ‘ Natural (plain/unflavoured) yoghurt with live active cultures nourishes skin. It’s antibacterial properties promote clear skin, while it’s natural acids help to dissolve dead skin.’ Wise words from Sophie Thompson of Sister & Co. Skin Food.  Why not use yoghurt as a face mask? Apply a few spoons of plain, natural yoghurt to your face, leave for 15 minutes and rinse.
  • Get outside and do some gardening! – Let’s face it we don’t get outside like we used to, our bodies however benefit from getting a little dirty. By eating organic foods and coming into contact with soil and earth we are boosting our Soil Based Organism probiotics or SBO’s.
  • Take a Soil Based Organism Probiotic – if you’re not very green fingered then the next best thing is to take an SBO probiotic.
  • Don’t be afraid of sweat – its totally natural and a prebiotic that feeds probiotics in your skin. Try a natural deodorant instead to allow your skin to breath and sweat naturally. 

Probiotic Skin Care Products

Aurelia have taken a slightly different approach to their award winning products. They use non-live probiotics and combine them with a milk peptide to protect and restore your skin from within. Their range is excellent but we especially love the Miracle Cleanser. Use the muslin cloth included to gently remove makeup and impurities from your skin. At the same time the probiotic formula absorbs into your skin, repairing and protecting it. It’s a must for anyone suffering from stressed out skin. It’s effective at removing makeup but we also noticed a reduction in redness and irritation after using it as a nightly cleanser.

Mother Dirt’s AO + Mist for face and body is a game changer in terms of probiotic skincare. It contains live cultured Ammonia-Oxidising Bacteria (AOB) that consumes the ammonia in your sweat. It then converts it into nitric oxide and nitrite, a healthy component on the skin. When we substituted our morning skin care routine for a few spritzes of AO+ mist, the results were pleasantly surprising. We noticed a definite reduction in redness and comfortably soft skin. Why not try spraying it on your body after a shower too. It’s a quick and effective way to keep your skin healthy and happy.
Don’t be put off by the name, Gallinee’s Face Vinegar doesn’t smell a bit like the stuff you put on your chips! Made using hibiscus vinegar and algae prebiotics, it’s to be used as a toner after cleansing and before a serum or oil. However unlike other toners we know, it doesn’t alter your pH or make your skin feel uncomfortably tight. Known for its astringent, exfoliating and soothing properties, hibiscus vinegar gently lifts away impurities and encourages cell renewal. After adding it to our evening skin care routine, it has improved the tone and texture of our skin.

We love a multi functional product so we think that this Kale Enzymatic Exfoliator from Nourish London is a winner. Organic kale is rich in antioxidants, which also helps to increase suppleness. As well as probiotics, this product contains phyto active pomegranate enzymes to gently exfoliate your skin. It can be used as a daily cleanser or face mask, perfect for an evening regime or once weekly pick me up.  If your skin is sensitive to granular exfoliators then we recommend using it once or twice a week. Leave it on for 2-5 minutes to allow the natural ingredients to do their work. Remove with warm water and a muslin cloth, then pat your face dry.

For a quick boost of probiotics and hydration, we love Amly’s Radiance Boost Face Mist. It contains lactobacillus ferment, commonly used as a natural fermentation agent in yoghurt and kimchi. Here it’s harnessed for its antimicrobial and anti inflammatory properties. Perfect for those with inflamed or acne prone skin. Coupled with silver rich spring water, it’s very moisturising. Spritz it over your face in place of a toner, or on the go when your skin needs a little brightening treat.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is for general advice only and should not be used as a substitute for professional healthcare or beauty advice. We make every effort to ensure we only recommend safe products however you should always do a patch test when trying new products.