Probiotics for acne?
If you suffer from a pimple problem – either on the face or on any other body part – it is highly likely that you’ve asked yourself this question at one point or the other.
Probiotics are microorganisms that are introduced into the human body for their beneficial qualities.
Table of Contents for Acne, Pimples & Probiotics
- 3 Things You Didn’t Know About Probiotics & Acne
- 13 Amazing Facts About How Flora Heps Your Gut
- Bacteria Defined
- 7 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Gut
- 11 Reasons Probiotics May Be Your Best Acne Free Solution
- Top 3 Benefits of Probiotics for Acne
- How to Counteract Acne Flare-Ups Without Consequences
- How to Benefit from Probiotics Like a Boss
- 6 Things You Didn’t Know About Bacteria in Your Body
- 7 Things You Should Know About Acne And Probiotics
- How to Take Probiotics and Live
3 Additional Resources For Fighting Acne
- Acne Skin Care Comparison Charts
- How to Get Rid of Pimples on Forehead
- How Do I Get Rid of Scalp Acne?
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Introduction to Probiotics and Pimples
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In general, probiotics are commonly hailed for their medicinal value. However, most people don’t know that probiotics also work for acne– as well as for general skin health. More particularly, a recent study showed that skin microbiome – or the skin’s bacterial balance – has a large role to play in the development of acne, more so than any other type of bacteria.
Similar to gut microbiome, there are both bad and good bacteria on your skin. To this end, you need to create the right balance of bacteria to improve the health of your skin and keep acne at bay. So, when you ask the “do probiotics help with acne” question, you should keep in mind that the role they play is to balance skin bacteria.
A microbiome is a microorganism in a given environment, such as the body and the different parts of the body. Human beings depend on microbes for life; they protect us from germs, produce vitamins, and break food down to expend energy.
The main bacterial culprit of pimples is Propionibacterium acnes according to past thought. However, this might not really be the case. In fact, new studies show that acne is due to more than one strain of bacteria.
Although most people think that their acne was caused by a single type of bad bacteria, this is not the case. The main cause is a system of bad and good – which relates to the balance of microbes on your skin.
To this end, you should remember that not all bacteria is bad. In fact, some of them do a ton of good things to our bodies.
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Are Probiotics Good Against Acne?
SHORT ANSWER: How Do Probiotics Work Against Pimples?
- Understanding the Gut
- More on Gut Flora
- The Role of Probiotics (Acne Sufferers Read This)
IN-DEPTH: Will Taking Probiotics Cure My Acne?
While looking for answers to the “what’s the best probiotic for acne?” question, you will probably come across research about these little critters. Otherwise known as the good guys inside the gut, probiotics are good bacteria and useful to the body.
To this end, you should feed them and help them to multiply so that they are better able to deal with bad bacteria. Although this might not be immediately clear to you, probiotics are also quite relevant to the health of your skin.
Understanding the Gut
In the same way, you should know what the gut does – mostly because its role is not completely limited to just dealing with food. Of course, the gut processes food, eliminates waste, and absorbs nutrients.
Apart from the above, the gut bears quite heavily on the health of your skin. In this case, it represents the main barrier between all things harmful that you might have ingested – such as hard to digest food, toxins, and pathogens – and your lymphatic and blood systems. In this way, it affects the rest of your body tissue and organs.
Similarly, the gut is also a major part of the overall immune system. More particularly, close to 70% of all your immune cells are located in the gut.
Even if you are super conscious as a nutritious eater, you might not know the kind of strange microbes and toxins that you may have consumed. That said, you have an inbuilt defense system that will handle things naturally.
The digestive system has evolved over years of genetic reproduction and selection to keep you healthy and alive – even in those instances when you swallow something harmful.
When you eat, stomach acid will destroy every microorganism that does not belong in your body. After that, bile from the liver will start secreting into the lower intestine. This, in combination with other carefully selected enzymes, will work to break down proteins and lipids that might otherwise wreak havoc should your bloodstream absorb them.
The gut’s mucosal lining will also catch any antigens and pathogens that you may have unwittingly eaten. It will also help in the production of antibodies that will act against these pathogens. In the process, it will train the rest of the immune system to naturally attack any foreign substances you ingest.
Therefore, the gut works by making decisions about what it considers as belonging verse substances that should be classified as invaders. Additionally, it teaches the rest of the body to act in much the same way. In the process, it digests what your body needs, keeps invaders at bay, and discards what you do not need.
This is why there are parallels between the gut and the skin – in the sense that both organs act as barriers and fortress walls in your body. Still, this barrier can be broken.
BEST SOLUTION: Getting something to defend these walls. This is where probiotics come in.
More on Gut Flora
90% of all the cells in the human body are microbial (fungi, bacteria, etc.) and only about 10% are human. The human cells are much larger, which is why we don’t look like giant blobs of bacteria.
Still, these numbers are quite startling. However, intestinal bacteria only account for about 3 to 5 pounds of your total body weight. The gut, in particular, contains tens of trillions of these bacteria. Without these little parasites, you could fall sick or die.
Bacteria are unicellular microorganisms with cell walls but without organized nucleus or organelles; some bacteria are bad for your body while others are good.
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That said, as amazing as the human gut really is, none of its immune barrier and digestive functions would work if you didn’t have intestinal flora helping out. Undigested nutrients, allergens, bugs, yeast, and bad bacteria might eventually break through this wall and destroy your body.
Therefore, it is essential that you have good flora in your gut. The flora does the following:
13 Ways Flora Helps Your Gut
- Breaks down certain sugars, starches, fibers, and carbohydrates that your body cannot deal with
- Breaks down dietary carcinogens
- Helps in the absorption of minerals like iron, magnesium, and calcium
- Increases cell growth required for proper gut functioning
- Increases the volume of water your body absorbs
- Lowers the colon’s pH levels and makes it inhospitable to harmful bacteria
- Prevents allergies
- Prevents systemic inflammation that causes acne
- Reduces harmful bacteria
- Stimulates gut mucosa to produce antibodies against pathogens
- Synthesizes certain vitamins, particularly B vitamins such as folate and biotin as well as K2
- Trains the immune system in pathogen identification
- Triggers the production of essential proteins for preventing any damage to gut mucosa and repairing any damage that might have occurred
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If this gut barrier is destroyed or breaks down, it can lead to:
7 Possible Results of Gut Barrier Break Downs
- chronic diseases
- mood disorders
- leaky gut
The Role of Probiotics
Research now shows that acne patients also tend to have problems with their gut. If you have acne, therefore, it is highly likely that your gut flora is severely underpopulated, overwhelmed, or malnourished.
BEST SOLUTION: take probiotics. Clinical studies have proven that acne symptoms tend to improve when patients consume probiotics.
11 More Ways Probiotics Fight Against Acne
- Probiotics regulate glycemic levels
- They help the body absorb nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that are essential to the skin
- They increase intestinal motility and water absorption
- They mitigate food allergies that may lead to pimples
- They prevent and repair damage from intestinal permeability, otherwise called leaky gut syndrome
- They reduce chronic psychological stress and mitigate any damage it causes
- They reduce T-cell mediated inflammation of the skin
- They reduce the levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (otherwise known as IGF-1), a substance resembling hormones that increase inflammation, excess production of sebum, and acne
- They reduce the systemic markers of oxidative stress and inflammation
- They reduce the total number of pimples after several weeks
- They strengthen the body’s immunity against pathogens that may hurt both the skin and the gut
Therefore, probiotics are essential if you are looking to treat acne. If you have been struggling with answers for your pimples but are yet to look at the health of your gut, now is the time to give probiotics a chance.
TAKEAWAY: The gut effectively acts as a barrier between harmful pathogens and your body. However, it needs some help doing this job. You should, therefore, get thriving gut flora in the form of probiotics to help your gut and, in the process, deal with your acne.
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What are The Benefits of Probiotics for Skin?
SHORT ANSWER: How Do Probiotics Help the Skin?
Topically Applied Probiotics
- Protective Shield
- Antimicrobial Properties
- Calming Effect
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There are tons of benefits of probiotics for skin health and wellness. In particular, probiotics and acne are directly related. This is because the probiotics you take will help regulate gut health and, in the process, fight your acne. Probiotics are also useful because they normalize skin bacteria.
Consider the following:
Topically Applied Probiotics
At the moment, cosmeceutical manufacturers are using probiotics in most of their products. As a direct result, you can now buy probiotic cleansers, creams, and masks. These products will help your skin in the following ways:
If you have acne (or rosacea), your immune system will recognize any living microorganisms on your skin as foreign substances. It will try to counter this threat and cause inflammation, bumps, or redness in the process.
If you apply probiotics, they will create bacterial interference and protect your skin. They will also interfere with the ability of harmful parasites and bacteria to keep your immune system from reacting against your skin.
Sometimes, the substances that are produced by probiotics come with antimicrobial properties. This means that they will destroy the bad bacteria that is causing acne on your skin.
When you place certain probiotic types in contact with your skin cells, they will calm those parts of the cells that might react to bad bacteria. The healthy signals that probiotics produce, therefore, are useful in stopping your skin cells from sending attack messages to your immune system – messages that often result in acne. In this way, probiotics for face and other body parts are quite useful.
Oral probiotics are often sold as daily supplements that contain Bifidobacterium and/or Lactobacilli. These influence skin conditions like acne by dealing with the gut-brain-skin axis. Stress, on its own or in combination with certain processed foods, can slow your digestion. In turn, this will change the number and type of bacteria occupying your gut to unhealthy bacteria.
Here are 3 ways probiotics help:
- Improved Bacterial Culture
Your gut has both harmful and beneficial bacteria. The balance of flora in your gut should be 15% bad bacteria and 85% good bacteria. Consuming certain probiotics – both supplements (which are often sold as capsules) and foods, you can bring the ratio of bacteria in your gut back into balance.
- Stronger Immunity
Taking probiotics defines and maintains the delicate balance between excessive and necessary defense mechanisms. After that, your immune response will work better against tissue injuries, foreign substances, and acne.
- Natural Barrier
Last but not least, probiotics act as a natural barrier that lines the intestinal tract. In the process, they block the effects of bacteria by killing bad bacteria and competing with toxins and pathogens (including those that may cause acne) to support your body’s fight against pimples.
Over time, your gut lining may become leaky and eventually release toxins into the bloodstream. In the process, this will cause inflammation all through your body – and particularly on your skin. If you are predisposed to acne, you may start experiencing flare-ups and subsequent inflammation as a direct result of this shift in the bacteria in your gut.
How to Counteract Acne Flare-Ups
Some of the ways you can counteract flare-ups of acne associated with this gut-brain-skin axis include:
- Coping with and managing stress
- Fixing your diet
- Introducing healthy bacteria to your gut (through probiotics)
The probiotics you introduce will line your gut and create a stronger, healthier sealed barrier against inflammation that may trigger rosacea or acne. A Korean study showed that patients who drank Lactobacillus fermented beverages were able to reduce their total count of acne lesions. They also decreased the amount of skin oil their skin produced over 12 weeks.
In another study, Italian this time, half the patients were administered oral probiotics in the form of supplements over and beyond the standard acne treatments they were taking. The other half did not get this supplement. At the end of the study, the probiotic group had clear skin and fewer symptoms of acne.
To ensure that you benefit from probiotics, therefore, you should do the following:
- Read the product container because some brands will require refrigeration after you open the container; this maintains the cultures
- Start taking probiotics slowly but surely; this is because you may experience increased bloating, gas, abdominal cramps, and other symptoms
- Talk to your doctor before you try any new supplement
That said, studies show that there are significant results when people take probiotics across 12 weeks. Although it might not take this long for you to start seeing results, you should keep taking the probiotics.
Even as you look to benefit from probiotics, you should also monitor your mood and stress levels. At the end of the day, you are not just looking for clear skin but overall benefits. Remember, the stress gut-skin connection is real, and you will feel better if you combine your probiotics with a better more positive mood.
In the same way, you should keep away from artificial sweeteners (such as Stevia), sugars, and alcohol. These products will mess with the microbial balance in your gut so you need to limit or avoid them altogether.
Last but not least, always choose your probiotics carefully and wisely. There are many products out there that differ greatly in terms of the numbers and types of strains they use, the aliveness of the strains, the dosage, and so on and so forth.
TAKEAWAY: More often than not, many skin conditions such as acne go hand in hand with gut dysbiosis. Therefore, if you have some dysfunction in one, it is highly likely that the other one will also display dysfunction.
What are Some Effective Topical Probiotics for Acne?
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Of course, as you might already have guessed, there are many different ways you can take probiotics for acne. From probiotic lotions and probiotic face creams to acne topical creams and topical probiotics for acne, you have many options available to you.
In general, probiotic is a term that covers a broad range of bacteria – including but not limited to:
All these bacterial strains are beneficial and more are being discovered. However, you might not know where you should start. Well, you should first understand that probiotics are beneficial for living organisms.
This means that there are many beneficial bacteria and no single probiotics will work the same way for everyone trying to deal with an acne and pimple problem. This is because microbiomes are individual to the person.
That said, research indicates that Lactobacillus tends to benefit almost everyone. Therefore, this might be the first place that you look when you start shopping for probiotics for your acne.
Acidophilus is among the commonly used types of bacteria. It is useful for food digestion, lowers the colon’s pH levels, and creates conditions that are unfavorable for pathogenic bacteria.
SUPPLEMENT: The Best Probiotics for Acne
Most of the best probiotics for pimples and acne conditions contain several different strains of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus. Taking these supplements will increase the live cells in your existing microbiome.
Others contain Bacillus, Clostridium, and Streptococcus. These are quite effective at increasing the number of beneficial bacteria in the gut and, in the process, dealing with acne.
Yet others have a variety of symbiotic strains, including but not limited to prebiotics and probiotics.
However, even before you shop for probiotics, you should keep in mind that they come with some downsides – particularly where pill-form probiotics are concerned. The main problem with probiotics is knowing whether you are consuming dead bacteria or if they are live cells.
Some manufacturers will obviously claim that they sell live cultures. However, it will all depend on how long the products have been sitting on the shelf and the conditions in which they have been.
Therefore, as you shop for probiotics, you should look for those that are shelf-stable and do not require any refrigeration. In the same way, you should supplement these products with probiotics from your food.
TAKEAWAY: Recent research shows that probiotics are useful for just about all aspects of acne. Taking probiotics, therefore, can regulate skin chemistry and glycemic levels, reduce inflammation, and help with the absorption of nutrients and water. However, while making a decision about the probiotics you should take, ensure that you check the number of live bacteria that the product contains. Most topical creams tend to have none while pill form probiotics will have some of these live bacteria. However, fermented foods tend to have the largest number of live bacteria and have the added advantage of being the cheapest available option.
How to Take Probiotics
After choosing a probiotic supplement, you need to know how to take it. You can take probiotics in the morning, at night, with food, or with an empty stomach – it will all depend on the manufacturer. However, you need to know that some probiotics are packaged as time release capsules while others are not.
Concluding Thoughts About Acne and Probiotics
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Overall, probiotics are beneficial to your body. These bacteria are found in the intestines where they help maintain the healthy balance of good bacteria in your body and on your skin.
They also interact with bodily tissue and the immune system and are helpful in reducing systemic inflammation. Therefore, if you have acne it is highly likely that you will also have a problem with constipation. This is because you will have less healthy bacteria. In this case, you should take probiotics.
Study after study shows that there is a direct correlation between acne and probiotics. One such study found that people who took probiotics and minocycline experienced a significant decrease in the total number of acne lesions on their body. This was in comparison to people who just took probiotics.
In another study, people who applied topical probiotics to their skin and those who applied 5% of the same topical solution both exhibited effective reductions in the size and redness of their acne lesions.
Overall, therefore, you should take more probiotics if you have an acne problem. After a couple of weeks, you may start seeing your pimples clear up.
7 Things to Avoid Consuming While Fighting Acne
- fluoridated water
- chlorinated water
- vegetable oils
- processed foods
Of course, you should keep away from foods that have been grown in conditions where pesticides and agricultural chemicals were used. All of these will either eliminate all your gut flora or at the very least, hurt it.
However, remember that there is no single universal miracle cure that will work if there are unhealthy aspects of your lifestyle. The best solution is to approach the health of your skin holistically by finding out what you need improvement in, improving it, and moving on until you benefit maximally from probiotics you are taking.