Probiotic Skincare

Every few decades, a scientific discovery is made that changes the way that we see ourselves and the world around us.

The discoveries made by the Human Microbiome Project have remodelled our approach to skin care and offer us new techniques to slow the effects of ageing on skin.

It is now clear that skin is an ecology, with more than 10 microbes for every human cell. These microbes are essential to the optimal functioning of skin and current skincare regimes ignore this basic fact.

Probiotics are microbes that are good for you and a prebiotic is a “food” that favours the growth of these microbes.

Probiotics can shift the skin’s ecology to favour a diverse and harmonious ecosystem that is healthy enough to resist attacks from pathogens and to reduce the impacts of ageing on the skin.

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What is a probiotic in skin care?

In the food industry, it’s easy to define a probiotic – it is a live microbe that has a health benefit. Probiotics in food are measured in colony forming units per millilitre (cfu per ml) and this shows how many microbes per millilitre of product can start to grow and replicate when the product is used.

In skin care defining a probiotic is not as easy.

Incorporating live probiotics into conventional skincare products is not generally feasible. Most products contain water, and preservatives are required to prevent spoilage. These preservatives, by definition, kill microbes – so the probiotic cfu per ml would be zero.

There are, however, plenty of probiotic claims in the skin care world.

These claims are justified in several different ways and there seem to be four “levels” to these claims.

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