Probiotics are live microorganisms that are intended to have health benefits when consumed or applied to the body. They can be found in yogurt and other fermented foods, dietary supplements and beauty products. Topical Probiotics are also contained in our anti-inflammatory Rescue & Relieve moisturiser and in our Bright & Tight Eye cream.

Although people often think of bacteria and other microorganisms as harmful “germs,” many are actually helpful. Some bacteria help digest food, destroy disease-causing cells, or produce vitamins. Many of the microorganisms in probiotic products are the same as or similar to microorganisms that naturally live in our bodies.

The Skin is actually the largest organ in our body and is home to thousands of friendly bacteria and also acts a physical barrier that protects us from invasion of foreign pathogenic nasties.

Over the past few years interest has expanded beyond the gut microbiome and now includes the skin microbiome and its positive effects in managing inflammatory skin disorders.

We know that probiotics are integral in maintaining human health and preventing disease. However, topical probiotics have shown positive effects in the treatment of certain inflammatory skin diseases such as acne, rosacea and psoriasis. In this discussion, we discuss recent research into topical probiotics and their influence on health and diseases of the skin.


What types of bacteria are in probiotics?

Probiotics may contain a variety of microorganisms. The most common are bacteria that belong to groups called Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.

Microorganisms live inside our body, in both the gut and on our skin. These bacteria play a vital role in human health; they also help in maintaining a healthy immune system. The skin microbiome comprises several species of microorganisms. Any imbalance in these microorganisms results in skin disorders. Acne, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and rosacea are some common skin conditions that arise due to an imbalance in the existing skin microbiome.

Probiotics are well known for their clinical applications in certain skin disorders and probiotic bacterial therapy may have a great potential in preventing and treating several skin conditions. The topical application of probiotic bacteria may help to enhance the skin’s natural barrier by having a direct effect at the site of application.

We acquire our skin microbiome at birth, and it remains dynamic throughout our life. Skin is a unique ecosystem that hosts the microbiome. The skin microbiome performs the following functions:

  • The residing bacteria provides the first line of defence against invading bugs
  • The skin bacteria have a complimentary relationship with the skin’s arsenal. By increasing the production of several defensive biomarkers, the skin microbiome boosts the skin’s immune function.
  • The skin’s stratum corneum (skin’s outer layer) has inbuilt urocanic acid that protects against the harmful ultraviolet radiations by a behaviour similar to sunscreens. How incredible is that?
  • Corynebacterium species can modify the lipid (fatty) composition on the skin’s surface and provide the thick sebum barrier
  • S. epidermidis also has an antineoplastic activity that may protect the skin from cancer

Most of the time, these micro-organisms in the skin microbiome are in harmony with each other and perform their functions of protecting the skin. However, environmental stresses and other factors may cause a shift of the friendly microbes to nasty microbes resulting in inflammation, itching, scaling and other clinical signs suggesting an imbalance between our skin and its microbiome. The host factors such as age, sex, hygiene, use of certain medications, skin pH, sweating tendency, hair growth on the skin, sebum production, use of skin cosmetics and lifestyle play a significant role in the microbiome host interactions.

An imbalance in the skin microbiome results in several skin disorders due to this  loss of balance. The most common skin conditions that we see in clinic are acne, atopic dermatitis, rosacea and psoriasis. These conditions affect majority of the population and are the most studied as they also affect psychosocial health.


The Importance of Gut-Skin Axis in Skin Disorders


The skin has its microbiome similar to the gut. Several research studies link inflammatory skin diseases with the imbalanced gut microbiome. The gut microbiome influences the human immune system. The immune system protects us against invading pathogens. If there is an imbalance in the gut microbiome, then the altered gut microflora may result in autoimmune and inflammatory conditions not only in the gut but also in distant organs such as the skin.

Several studies support the concept that an imbalance in the gut microbiome may result in skin conditions such as acne, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and rosacea.

The connection between the skin and gut seems to be mediated by the host immune system. The interaction between the microorganisms and the host immune system is important to maintain the skin balance. Therefore, balancing the skin microbiome is a strategic approach in treating several skin conditions. Probiotics play a vital role in restoring the microbiome and are an important therapeutic modality in the treatment of inflammatory skin diseases.

Role of Topical Probiotics in Skin Bureaux in the Skin Microbiome


As we continue to explore the gut-skin axis connection in various skin disorders. With our growing knowledge about the role of the microbiome in various skin diseases, modulating the immune system by restoring the balance in the microbiome becomes a new avenue of research. The direct approach to this kind of treatment involves the use of probiotics in oral and topical form. Probiotics are body-friendly bacteria that restore the body’s natural flora.

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