Probiotics For Skin: The Scientific Guide For Treating Your Problems

by | Jan 10, 2017 | Acne, Advanced Skincare, Anti-Aging, Diet and Nutrition, Guides

Let me start off by saying that this is a complicated subject matter. Probiotics come in the trillions, and a lot of their functions and properties are poorly understood in the current scientific literature. No one person is an expert on this subject alone. If someone says otherwise, they’re a lying sac of balls.

Heck, I’ll admit it: I don’t know a lot about this subject. But in the infinitesimal complexity of these microorganisms, my personal experience with them, and months on end of researching this topic — I will try as best as humanly possible to relay this information to everybody in the simplest way I can.

Keep in mind that this is still a relatively new science. It hasn’t even been a full 2 years since scientists began realizing the importance of our gut flora and promptly classified it the “second brain.” (1)

With that said, let’s get into it. Here’s a quick summary of all the different species we will be discussing and the benefits they have on skin.

Benefits.Probiotic Species.
Increases lactic acid production. Good for skin glow and overall health.All lactic acid producing bacteria will help (e.g. the lactobacillus species), but the two studied strains were
Lactobacillus acidophilus and Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Recommendation #1: Hyperbiotics PRO-15 ProbioticsSpecies included: Lactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus casei, Bifidobacterium Infantis, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus gasseri, Streptococcus thermophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium breve, Prebiotic Fructooligosaccharides
Recommendation #2: Brewers YeastPrimarily made up of Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Best for acne.Bacillus coagulan, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium lactis, Enterococcus fecalis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactococcus lactis, Streptococcus salivarius.
Recommendation #1: Hyperbiotics PRO-15 ProbioticsSpecies included: Lactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus casei, Bifidobacterium Infantis, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactobacillus paracasei , Lactobacillus gasseri, Streptococcus thermophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium breve, Prebiotic Fructooligosaccharides.
Recommendation #2: Nexabiotic 23 ProbioticsSpecies included: Saccharomyces boulardii, Bifidobacterium infantis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus delbrueckii, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus helveticus, Lactobacillus salvarius, Lactobacillus lactis, Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus gasseri, Enterococcus faecium, Streptococcus thermophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium breve, Bacillus coagulan, Bacillus subtilis, Bifidobacterium longum.
Recommendation #3: Garden of Life Primal Defense ULTRASpecies included: Saccharomyces boulardii, Barley Grass, Oat Grass, Lactobacillus plantarum, Bacillus subtilis, Lactobacillus paracasei, Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus brevis, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium breve, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus salivarius
Recommendation #4: Pinnacle Nutrition 40 Billion CFUs ProbioticSpecies included: Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobcillus plantarum, Lactobacillus paracasei.
Anti-inflammatory, increases skin hydration, and reduces sensitivity.Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus paracasei, Streptococcus thermophilus.
Recommendation #1: Hyperbiotics PRO-15 ProbioticsSpecies included: Lactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus casei, Bifidobacterium Infantis, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactobacillus paracasei , Lactobacillus gasseri, Streptococcus thermophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium breve, Prebiotic Fructooligosaccharides.
Best for anti-aging and UV protection. Bifidobacterium breve, Lactobacillus johnsonii, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus.
Recommendation #1: Hyperbiotics PRO-15 ProbioticsSpecies included: Lactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus casei, Bifidobacterium Infantis, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus gasseri, Streptococcus thermophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium breve, Prebiotic Fructooligosaccharides.
Recommendation #2: Garden of Life Primal Defense ULTRASpecies included: Saccharomyces boulardii, Barley Grass, Oat Grass, Lactobacillus plantarum, Bacillus subtilis, Lactobacillus paracasei, Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus brevis, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium breve, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus salivarius
Recommendation #3: Nature's Way Primadophilus BifidusSpecies included: Bifidobacterium breve, Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus acidophilus.
Recommendation #4: BioAmicus Johnsonii Species included: Lactobacillus johnsonii
Might help psoriasis. Bifidobacterium infantis.
Recommendation: Earth's Pearl ProbioticsSpecies included: Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus reuteri, Bifidobacterium infantis, Bifidobacterium lactis, Fructooligosaccharides.
Best for eczema (atopic dermatitis). Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus salivarius, Bifidobacterium breve.
Recommendation #1: Nexabiotic 23 ProbioticsSpecies included: Saccharomyces boulardii, Bifidobacterium infantis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus delbrueckii, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus helveticus, Lactobacillus salvarius, Lactobacillus lactis, Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus gasseri, Enterococcus faecium, Streptococcus thermophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium breve, Bacillus coagulan, Bacillus subtilis, Bifidobacterium longum.
Recommendation #2: Garden of Life Primal Defense ULTRASpecies included: Saccharomyces boulardii, Barley Grass, Oat Grass, Lactobacillus plantarum, Bacillus subtilis, Lactobacillus paracasei, Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus brevis, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium breve, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus salivarius
Recommendation #3: Hyperbiotics PRO-15 ProbioticsSpecies included: Lactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus casei, Bifidobacterium Infantis, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactobacillus paracasei , Lactobacillus gasseri, Streptococcus thermophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium breve, Prebiotic Fructooligosaccharides.
Recommendation #4: Nature's Way Primadophilus BifidusSpecies included: Bifidobacterium breve, Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus acidophilus.

What Are Probiotics? An Introduction.

In short, they’re live microorganisms with phenomenal health benefits. You can think of them as the “good” or “healthy” bacteria and yeast found in the human body or fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, kombucha, and of course — supplements.

garden-of-life-primal-defense-ultra

It’s a topic that up until recently hadn’t gotten much love in the scientific community. However, since the mid-1990s researchers have been going balls to the wall on this subject because of the numerous and potential benefits probiotics have on overall health. (2) To give you an idea of the growing interest overtime, check out these two graphs.

(Google Trends)

probiotic-interest-over-time

(Use of “Probiotics” in the Scientific Literature)

probiotic-trends
So why has it gotten so much traction?

For starters, there are 100 trillion bacteria in your digestive tract (a.k.a gut), (3) and the diversity and makeup of these species and strains play a significant role in MANY things including metabolic health, disease prevention, autoimmune disorders, mental health, allergies, and skin sexiness. (4567)

And there is now ample evidence showing that disrupting these little critters will MESS you up (to put it in layman terms).

For example, one of the more recent and alarming pieces of research suggest that chronic antibiotic use kills good gut bacteria and by association inhibits the formation of new brain cells (neurogenesis) in mice. (8)

BUT CALM DOWN. Not all is lost! Interestingly enough, the same study also found that supplementation with probiotics can reverse those side effects.

And really, that’s the most intriguing part about all of this — the fact that we can supplement with these lovely little boogers for a tremendous boost in overall health and immune system function.

“Experimental and clinical studies have shown that the dietary enrichment with certain ‘probiotic’ organisms activates immune and metabolic pathways that restore tissue [i.e. intestinal] homeostasis and promote overall health.” (9)

But wait there’s more! The beneficial effects of probiotics extend beyond the gut to the skin! (10, 11) And as you probably ascertained from the title of this blog post, that’s what we’ll be focusing on. 😉

Benefits of Probiotics for Skin.

Heads up: this next part will be a massive wall of text. If you don’t have the patience to sit through and read all of it, feel free to skip ahead to the sections that interest you. But before we start I need to emphasize something important.

There is currently a massive gap in our understanding about how probiotics work, so you can only imagine the kind of misinformation that gets spread unto consumers by the media, companies for profit, and of course…. the pinterest “beauty gurus.”

spongebob kid not impressed

I think it’s safe to say that most people’s understanding of probiotics goes something like this.

Subject X hears a new story about probiotics curing cancer on T.V. > Googles skeptically > Finds beauty guru who says it cured everything, including her stagnant love life. > Goes to the store to buy probiotics. > Sees dozens of varieties, picks the cheapest one, and voilà: hit me with that PROBIOTIC VOODOO MAGIC!

Hint: that’s NOT how they work. Picking probiotics arbitrarily is a sure way to potentially worsen the symptoms you’re trying to treat.

probiotic-side-effects

They aren’t all created equal, so it’s important to choose strains that focus on what YOU’RE trying to specifically target. Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way. :'(

With that said, let’s go over all the different benefits probiotics can have on the skin.

Probiotics for Skin Glow and Increased Dermal Thickness.

There’s a growing body of research from both mice and human trials showing that different strains of lactic acid bacteria (e.g. lactobacillus) are beneficial for the skin. One of these benefits being that it produces that glowy skin indicative of overall health we’re all envious of and trying to achieve.

One of the first studies that illustrated this involved feeding mice probiotic yogurt which resulted in noticeably shinier fur and increased dermal thickness after only 7 days! (12)

Quick aside: beside testing probiotic yogurt, they also examined isolated lactobacillus strains (L. reuteri) by adding it into drinking water and found similar results. That is, it gave mice lustrous fur and significantly thicker skin ((p<0.001), in addition to stronger and healthier hair growth.

In other words, probiotics will turn your pet mouse into a beautiful unicorn. But what good does that do you, right? You’re not a mouse. Who cares?

Luckily, we have some human trials to go off of as well.

Probiotics for Skin Health and Increasing Lactic acid Production.

Before we proceed, I need to give some contextual information about the acid mantle and skin’s pH so you can better understand this section. Feel free to skip ahead if this isn’t news to you.

Human skin is naturally acidic with an average pH of 4.7. Research has shown that when the pH of skin is lower, the healthier and more capable it is in fighting off pathogens, infections, diseases like acne, seborrheic dermatitis, eczema etc.

However, mess with the skin’s pH with harsh detergents or alkaline substances (among other things) and you potentially run the risk of nuking your acid mantle (i.e. the protective film on the outer most layer of skin). This in turn has dire consequences. For example, altering the skin’s microbiome (i.e. the healthy yeast and bacteria that live on the skin’s surface).

Essentially, altering the skin’s pH above this happy 4.5 to 5.5 medium is like taking away it’s natural line of defense, which makes it more susceptible to army invaders (pathogens) that are looking to search and destroy. And trust me, you don’t want to be going into this battlefield without your skin soldiers!

Hopefully that analogy made sense. I’m trying to simply things here, so bare with me. Anyway, the takeaway being:

Lower pH = healthier skin.

Well, guess what probiotics do? They lower the pH of skin by increasing lactic acid production in the body! 😀

Perhaps you’re familiar with lactic acid as a chemical exfoliant. If you’re not, here’s a quick recap: it’s an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that can be found in creams and toners, which applied topically exfoliates the skin, brightens skin tone, and increases hydration (among other things).

silk-naturals-8-aha-toner-lactic-acid

(Silk Natural’s Lactic Acid Toner)

Why is this important? Because sweat is primarily made out of lactic effin’ acid! And lactic acid happens to be one of the primary components governing the skin’s pH. (13, 14)

So naturally the more lactic acid and acidic your sweat is, the better the health of your skin. This is one reason you should exercise for healthier skin, which surprisingly gets no attention. In other words, the sweat you produce from exercising is good for you because it has lactic acid.

With all that said, there are a few ways of increasing lactic acid production in the body and skin. These include:

  1. Taking pectin. (15)

A prebiotic which comparative studies have shown ferments lactic acid producing bacteria (e.g. the lactobacillus genus). Quick aside: make sure to take pectin on an empty stomach. It’s been shown to interfere with the nutrient absorption of food.

And no surprise here….

2. Taking lactic acid producing bacteria itself (e.g. the lactobacillus or species).

Indeed, it’s been demonstrated that an abundance of lactobacillus in the gut is associated with an overall lower pH. (16)

How did scientists discover this?

WARNING: the next part of this blog post isn’t PG rated. Children, ask your parents for permission before proceeding. Easily offended people, hit the back button.

With that said….

They examined women vaginas! Here’s a quote from the research paper itself.

“We found that an acidic vaginal pH correlated with Lactobacillus sp. abundance and peak fertility…. Taken together with our earlier data, this led us to postulate that probiotic bacteria induce host physiological changes including a more acidic pH resulting in radiant skin and shiny hair signaling peak health and fertility and thus a good reproductive investment.” (17)

Translation: screw vitamin C serums! Where can I get me some of that lactobacillus bacteria? Am I right? 😀

Random but interesting tidbit of information from that same report — on average Hispanic and black women had higher vaginal pH values than Asian and white women. (18)

I digress. The point being that an abundance of lactobacillus species in the human body increases lactic acid production in gut, thereby lowering pH which is EXCELLENT for overall skin health and appearance — oh, and it gives shiny hair too!

So next time you see somebody with super glowly skin and shiny hair, you should be either thinking two things:

1. She frequents r/skincareaddiction and r/asianbeauty, cause her moisture barrier is on fleek. Or….
2. SHE’S A LACTOBACILLUS MACHINE!!

Probiotics with Lactobacillus:

  1. Hyperbiotics PRO-15 Probiotics (contains 9 different species)
  2. Nexabiotic 23 Probiotics (includes 11 different species)
  3. Garden of Life Primal Defense ULTRA (contains 7 different species)
  • Which Lactobacillus Strains Are Best?

Since there are many strains of lactobacillus out there, let’s focus solely on the ones that have scientific backing via human trials. The first is lactobacillus acidophilus.

L. acidophilus has proven effective for mental and digestive health, in addition to improving overall skin complexion. The current hypothesis is that these effects are a byproduct of increasing lactic acid to improve bowel function for smoother pooping (less constipation) which has a consequential effect on skin. (19) More about this in a bit.

Though not from the lactobacillus genus, saccharomyces cerevisiae has also illustrated similar effects. That is, improving skin complexion by dumping lactic acid in the digestive system. And last but not least, it’s hypothesized that probiotic lysates function in much the same way.

Recommendations:

  1. Hyperbiotics PRO-15 Probiotics (includes L. acidophilus)
  2. Brewers Yeast (includes S. Cerevisiae)

Probiotics for Acne.

The basis for the following hypothesis is simple: Acne has been linked to intestinal disruption. Therefore, you can improve acne by taking probiotics that focus on rebuilding digestive health.

  • Acne and Constipation.

As you may know, constipation is simply a sign of poor digestive health. And it just so happens that acne prone peeps are more likely to have pooping problems. Pepto-bismol, anyone?

pepto-bismo

One likely cause of constipation being intestinal permeability. That is, when the lining of the small intestine has been damaged which allows substances to leak into the bloodstream caused by weakened gut junctions. This is often referred to as “leaky gut.” (2021)

And interestingly enough, “leaky gut” may be linked to having acne. In fact, one study conducted in Russia found that 54% of acne patients had some sort of microflora disruption. (22) Or more simply put, the healthy yeast and bacteria in their guts had somehow been altered for the worse.

Specifically, there was an abundance of bacteroides species, which are commonly found in psychologically stressed people. (23)

To further that point, another report found intestinal stagnation in 47%, and constipation in 40% of acne patients. The most fascinating part about this discovery, was that acne-prone patients coincidentally had an overall lower concentration of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species in their stools (poop) compared to those that weren’t prone to acne or had less constipation.

Hopefully I haven’t lost you yet. Here’s the main takeaway:

  • Constipation and intestinal disruption are linked to acne.
  • Both of these things are also linked to having less Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.

Therefore, acne-prone individuals would benefit from supplementing with Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species to improve their gut and skin health.

Recommendations:

    1. Hyperbiotics PRO-15 Probiotics (includes 9 Lactobacillus and 5 Bifidobacterium strains)
    2. Nexabiotic 23 Probiotics (includes 11 lactobacillus and 4 Bifidobacterium strains. Note: contains Saccharomyces boulardii which could be problematic for immunocompromised individuals)
    3. Garden of Life Primal Defense ULTRA (includes 7 Lactobacillus and 4 Bifidobacterium strains. Note: also contains Saccharomyces boulardii)
  • Best Probiotics for Rosacea, Acne, and SIBO.

Studies have also shown a link between small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and having acne or rosacea.  In fact, a recent report found that SIBO was 10 times more likely in acne and rosacea patients compared to healthy controls. (24) Luckily, preliminary studies have also shown that taking Lactobacillus casei reduces SIBO. (25)

Therefore, taking L. casei to help SIBO might help alleviate acne and rosacea.

Recommendations: 

  1. Hyperbiotics PRO-15 Probiotics (contains Lactobacillus casei)
  2. Nexabiotic 23 Probiotics (contains Lactobacillus casei)
  3. Garden of Life Primal Defense ULTRA (contains Lactobacillus casei)
  • Probiotics for Acne and Mental Health.

Our gut, brain, and mood are all more closely related then we know, and scientists are just now beginning to piece together their symbiotic relationship.

You’ve probably heard that stressing is bad for acne over and over again. But have you ever asked yourself why that is, exactly?

Well, it just so happens that stress reduces the lactobacillus and bifidobacteria species in our gut. If you recall from the information above, a reduction in both these species has been implicated in gut permeability and constipation.

Do you see how all this comes back around?

In other words, acne, poor digestive health, and stress all notably result in less healthy bacteria in our guts (specifically, lactobacillus and bifidobacteria).

Here are a couple quotes from two different research papers highlighting the importance of this:

“These observations raise the intriguing prospect that feeding of just the right kind of bacteria can exert profound beneficial effects on skin homoeostasis, skin inflammation, hair growth and peripheral tissue responses to perceived stress.” (26)

“It seems obvious that we can no longer offhandedly dismiss a potential relationship between the GI microflora, mental health and acne vulgaris… The potential of stress-induced changes to the gastrointestinal microflora among acne patients has sadly received little attention.” (27)

Indeed, so tell people about it! We need this stuff to hit the mainstream, dang it! Anyway…

Where was I? Oh right, probiotics supplements for acne! About that…

One study found that supplementing with two species of lactobacillus (L. acidophilus and L. bulgaricus) led to an 80% improvement across 300 acne patients in just 16 days! (28) Fascinating, right?

And another study involving 40 patients found that supplementing with L. acidophilus and B. bifidum treats acne better than just using antibiotics alone. (29)

And more recently in 2010, researchers demonstrated that lactobacillus-fermented dairy leads to a significant reduction in acne and oil production after 12 weeks. (30)

Recommendations:

  1. Hyperbiotics PRO-15 Probiotics (includes L. acidophilus and B. bifidum)
  2. Nexabiotic 23 Probiotics (includes L. acidophilus and B. bifidum)
  3. Garden of Life Primal Defense ULTRA (includes L. acidophilus and B. bifidum)
  • Probiotics for Acne and Poor Diet.

In case you haven’t put two and two together yet — saying there is no link between diet and acne is a load of horse doody. Diet will inherently influence the makeup of bacterial strains in the digestive tract, which as result can effect acne.

Still not convinced? There’s also evidence that glycemic-rich diets are associated with acne. (31) And similarly, diets low in glycemic-rich foods improve acne. (32) Examples of high glycemic foods include white bread, pasta, rice, processed sugar, and cereal (among other things).

The assumption is that these nutrient-poor, high-glycemic index diets jack up insulin levels (i.e. the hormone that regulates blood sugar), which exacerbates acne. In fact, research has shown that insulin growth factors play a role in the formation of pimples. (33) Hence, regulating insulin levels may lead to an improvement in acne.

Bifidobacterium lactis is one species research has shown helps regulate insulin levels to a happy equilibrium. (34)

Recommendations 

  1. Hyperbiotics PRO-15 Probiotics (contains bifidobacterium lactis)
  2. Garden of Life Primal Defense ULTRA (contains bifidobacterium lactis)
  • Probiotics that Inhibit P. Acnes (Bacteria that Causes Acne).

And last but not least, we also have probiotics that have direct antimicrobial properties against the bacteria that causes acne itself. The first of these is streptococcus salivarius.

In vitro studies have shown that that S. salivarius prevents the growth of p. acnes by producing bacteriocin-like substances. (35) Similarly, lactococcus lactis has antimicrobial activity against p. acne by producing bacteriocins. This one however, targets p. acne in addition to Staphylococcus species which often become pathogenic for immunocompromised individuals. (36)

L. paracasei is another strain in the lactobacillus family that shows inhibitory effects against acne. It works by reducing the skin inflammation and excess oil production that goes hand and hand with having blemishes. (37)

This next one is less conclusive, but worth mentioning. Similar to lactobacillus, B. coagulans helps regulate immune system function and inhibits reactive oxygen species, which play a role in the formation of acne. (38)

And lastly, two clinical trial showed that applying a lotion with Enterococcus fecalis, or 5% Lactobacillus plantarum extract reduces overall acne count, size, and erythema (redness). (39)

Recommendations:

  1. Nexabiotic 23 Probiotics (contains contains L. paracasei, L. plantarum, B. coagulan)
  2. Hyperbiotics PRO-15 Probiotics (contains L. paracasei and L. plantarum)
  3. Garden of Life Primal Defense ULTRA (contains L. paracasei and L. plantarum)
  • Summary of Probiotics for Acne.

Phew. If you’re still with me, here are all the strains of probiotic species we’ve discussed that are beneficial for acne in one way or another.

  • Bacillus coagulan
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum
  • Bifidobacterium lactis
  • Enterococcus fecalis
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus bulgaricus
  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Lactobacillus paracasei
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Streptococcus salivarius

And here are the probiotic supplements that include most of these in one bottle.

  1. Hyperbiotics PRO-15 Probiotics (contains Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus paracasei, Bifidobacterium bifidum)
  2. Nexabiotic 23 Probiotics (contains Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus lactis, Lactobacillus paracasei, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bacillus coagulan. Note: has Saccharomyces boulardii which could be problematic for immunocompromised individuals)
  3. Garden of Life Primal Defense ULTRA (contains Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus paracasei, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei. Note: also includes Saccharomyces boulardii)

Probiotics for Skin Hydration, Sensitivity, and Inflammatoin.

Something I discuss in my guide about pH and the acid mantle are the potential adverse effects of disrupting the skin’s barrier function.

As you may know, it’s not uncommon to experience irritation when using active ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and retinoids. Unfortunately, using these excessively can rupture the moisture barrier and increase skin sensitivity which could worsen the symptoms you’re trying to treat.

This is why things like benzoyl peroxide and tretinoin monotherapy have such subpar success rates (approximately 30%). In other words, they are simply too irritating on their own to be significantly effective.

When treating acne, it’s important that we replenish the skin after using these active ingredients to mitigate any unwanted side effects.

Topically, this can be done by focusing on hydration. For example, using moisturizers rich in skin-identical repairing ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid.

And this doesn’t just apply to treating acne! Any individual who wants healthier skin should be focusing on the moisturizing aspect of their skincare routine — acne-prone or not.

Why did I mention all this?

Because oral supplementation of probiotics have similar effects to a skincare routine that focuses on hydration! So those CeraVe moisturizers may be unnecessary altogether. Just kidding! CeraVe PM will always hold a place in my heart. :p

Anyway, let’s discuss the probiotics that have moisturizer-like properties.

hyperbiotics-pro-15-probiotics-ingredients

The first of the bunch is lactobacillus paracasei. One study found that supplementing with this little guy daily for 2 months reduces skin sensitivity, transepidermal water loss (TEWL), and improves skin barrier function! (40)

Three things that science has confirmed improve the symptoms of skin conditions like rosacea and atopic dermatitis (eczema). Therefore, L. paracasei may help treat eczema and rosacea. (Spoiler alert: it definitely helps eczema. We’ll get to that in a bit.)

Another study found that applying a cream with 10% Bifidobacterium longum extract, was excellent for reducing skin reactiveness and sensitivity. (41) Funnily enough, they tested this by seeing how many tape-strippings a person could tolerate. They were essentially waxing people’s skin over and over again until something bad happened. Those scientist I tell you….

But awesomely, they found that the number of strippings required to disrupt the skin barrier was significantly higher for the people using the probiotic cream! Skin treated with it was also more receptive to chemical exfoliation. (Specifically, lactic acid.) In other words, Bifidobacterium longum will basically turn your skin into Rambo!

Alrighty, since I don’t want to further bore you with the details and methodology of every study examining the beneficial effects of probiotics for sensitive or reactive skin. Here’s a quick summary of what each found.

  • Lactobacillus paracasei taken orally improves barrier function and reduces skin inflammation, in addition to helping skin recover significantly faster after being disrupted with harsh cleansing detergents like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). (4243)
  • Streptococcus thermophilus increases the level of ceramides in the skin, which improves its overall health, reduces dryness, and helps alleviate the symptoms of eczema. (4445)
  • Fermented milk containing Lactobacillus casei reduces skin inflammation. (46)
  • Lactobacillus fermentum has antimicrobial, antioxidative, and anti-inflammatory properties. (47)
  • Summary.

Here’s the complete list of the probiotic species that either improve skin sensitivity, hydration, or inflammation.

  1. Bifidobacterium longum
  2. Lactobacillus casei
  3. Lactobacillus fermentum
  4. Lactobacillus paracasei
  5. Streptococcus thermophilus

Recommendation:

  1. Hyperbiotics PRO-15 Probiotics (contains all 5 of them)

Probiotics for Anti-aging and UV protection.

“What the heck? There’s anti-aging probiotics with sunscreen-like protection?!?” Yes, there’s basically a probiotic for everything. Don’t worry, I had the same reaction when I first discovered this stuff. It’s a literal goldmine that no one talks about.

We’ll start with the less impressive studies that only deserve quick mentions. The first up, Bifidobacterium breve.

A study found that supplementing with B. breve protects against UV damage in hairless mice. (48) Similarly, Lactobacillus rhamnosus delays UV induced tumors in mice. (49)

As for the more impressive studies! First up, contestant #1: Lactobacillus plantarum. 😀

A double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial (in other word, it was very well controlled) found that L. plantarum has photoprotective properties, increases skin hydration by reducing TEWL, improves skin glow and elasticity, and significantly reduces wrinkle depth after 12 weeks of daily oral supplementation. (50)

Contestant #2: Lactobacillus johnsonii.

This was another randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. The researchers found that L. johnsonii provides photoprotection and makes skin cells regenerate faster after bouts of UV-induced damage. (51) Similarly, a combination of L. johnsonii and carotenoids have beneficial effects for photoaged skin and UV damage induced by natural sunlight. (52)

And one other study involving L. johnsonii, found that it helped skin recover quicker after UV damage. Or as the researchers put it themselves,

“The results provide evidence that ingested probiotic bacteria accelerate the recovery of skin immune homeostasis after UV-induced immunosuppression.” (53)

All the probiotics mentioned.

  • Bifidobacterium breve
  • Lactobacillus johnsonii
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus

Recommendations:

    1. Nexabiotic 23 Probiotics (includes Bifidobacterium breve, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus)
    2. Garden of Life Primal Defense ULTRA (includes Bifidobacterium breve, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus)
    3. Hyperbiotics PRO-15 Probiotics (includes Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus)
    4. BioAmicus Johnsonii (contains isolated Lactobacillus johnsonii)

Probiotics for Psoriasis.

Unfortunately there isn’t a whole lot of research on this topic. However, there is some evidence that Bifidobacterium infantis helps regulate inflammation beyond the digestive system, which could consequently help reduce the symptoms of psoriasis. (54)

At the time that I was suffering from psoriasis myself I was actually using a probiotic that had B. infantis, and I believe it helped marginally.

probiotics for psoriasis

Truth be told, I didn’t know much about probiotic research at the time, so me taking it was more out of blind luck than anything else.

Recommendation:

  1. Earth’s Pearl Probiotics (contains Bifidobacterium infantis)

Probiotics for Eczema.

There’s quite a bit of research on probiotics and Eczema (atopic dermatitis). Let’s first start with the clinical trials on babies and children, before pivoting focus on the adult trials.

  • Children and Infant Studies.

This first up, a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, and perfect example of why you shouldn’t expect improvement taking whatever probiotic species willy-nilly.

The study found that infants taking L. rhamnosus had a reduced risk of developing eczema (P = .01) compared to the placebo control after two years. (55) However, the same was not found with using Bifidobacterium animalis. In fact, B. animalis had no effect on eczema at all.

Cooler yet, some of the same researchers in the above study decided to do a followup a couple years later. By then those 2 year old babies were now 4 year old children, and had completely stopped using probiotic for a full 2 years.

They found that the children who supplemented with L. rhamnosus in the first two years of their life, had a significantly lower chance of developing eczema than the control or those that used B. animalis instead. (56) Other studies have had similar findings. (5758)

And one of the last children studies followed 14 different cases of patients between the ages of 8 to 64 month old, who had resistant eczema that wasn’t responding to standard therapy. Almost every single participant had little to no symptoms after 6 months of supplementing with L. rhamnosus lysate. The photos speak for themselves.

(Source: Lactobacillus rhamnosus cell lysate in the management of resistant childhood atopic eczema)

probiotics eczema before and after

What I find most impressive about this study is that these children had resistant atopic dermatitis that wasn’t responding to standard therapy for at least 6 months prior to enrolling in the study! Not only that, improvement was seen in 9 out 14 children after just 7 days! Absolutely astonishing in my humble opinion.

  • Adults Studies.

Alrighty, since you’re probably getting bored reading all these studies, here’s a quick overview of the adult ones.

  • A 12 week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial involving 34 adults found that Lactobacillus paracasei is a useful adjunct to standard eczema therapy. (59)
  • A 12 week, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial involving 48 patients found that a combination of lactobacillus salivarius and Bifidobacterium breve helped immune system function and reduced eczema. (60)
  • A 16 week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 38 patients found that supplementing with Lactobacillus salivarius significantly improved overall quality of life and atopic dermatitis. (61)

All the probiotic species mentioned that had beneficial effects on eczema.

  1. Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  2. Lactobacillus paracasei
  3. Lactobacillus salivarius
  4. Bifidobacterium breve

Recommendations:

  1. Nexabiotic 23 Probiotic (contains all four)
  2. Garden of Life Primal Defense ULTRA (includes all four)
  3. Hyperbiotics PRO-15 Probiotics (includes Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus salivarius)
  4. Nature’s Way Primadophilus Bifidus (includes Bifidobacterium breve, Lactobacillus rhamnosus)

Probiotic Side Effects.

garden-of-life-primal-defense-ultra-ingredients

So… I understand the temptation of hearing all this news and wanting to overdose on probiotics. BUT DON’T DO IT. More is not better (probably). Taking four pills a day might not produce faster results than taking one pill a day.

While there currently isn’t any scientific consensus on whether somebody can take too many probiotics, it’s best practice to limit your intake to 20 billion CFU daily when first starting, as this is the general recommended amount before people start experiencing unwanted side effects.

If you do notice any adverse side effects like diarrhea, bloating, or gassiness that would be a good indication that you’re overdoing it. These are generally signs that you’re taking more probiotics than you need.
(62)

If this happens to you, don’t freak out. It’s not uncommon to experience these symptoms. Should they arise, simply reduce your intake until the symptoms pass.

Not sure if this is TMI, but when I first started using probiotics I was definitely paying a few more visits to the bathroom…..

It’s worth noting however, that there have been rare instances of certain species (e.g. Saccharomyces boulardii) causing adverse effects, particularly for immunocompromised individuals. (63)

With all that said, just be safe and consult with your primary physician first before deciding to supplement with probiotics.

How to take Probiotics.

This will depend largely on the probiotic manufacture and CFU count you’re using. Just make sure to read the directions on the bottle, and you’ll be in the clear.

Most of the time you can simply take the probiotic pill or liquid 1-3 times daily with or without food. Some strains may require refrigeration, but other than that there’s not much to it. Simply pop it in your mouth and you’re good to go! :p

How Long Does it take for Probiotics to Work?

Like I always say on this blog: it depends. Everyone is unique, and we’re not all trying to target the same issues. As you may recall from the eczema section of this blog post, some patients saw improvement after just 7 days. Other times it took several weeks.

I think a three month period is what most people should aim for. I say this because research has shown that supplementation with a given probiotic species generally shows up in the fecal matter after 3 months, and detection rates don’t differ much after 2 years. (64)

However, probiotics can be used indefinitely. In fact, many people including myself use them this way. It’s really up to you.

Some folks like to take them intermittently with breaks every couple months; others like to load up on them only before traveling; some use them indefinitely — so on and so forth. There isn’t a wrong way to do it. Just make sure you give it at least 3 months before tossing them aside.

Final Words.

Hopefully I’ve helped you learn a little bit more about probiotics, the growing research on the them, and the amazing possibilities they may have.

Perhaps next time you see someone recommending multivitamins you can give them a quick lesson on probiotics instead. :p

Not only do they allow your metabolism to more effectively breakdown the nutrients inside food, but they have additional benefits like improving digestive, mental, skin, and overall health. Essentially, it’s lfike a multivitamin on steroids.

Probiotics are such a fascinating topic, and it’s growing exponentially. I’m beyond excited to see what the future has in store for us. I’ll leave you all with this beautiful quote that I think really epitomizes the moment we’re currently in, and the direction this science is heading. Kudos to the researchers for saying better than I ever could.

“As our understanding of the human microbiome grows, we deepen our appreciation of how individualized and complex each person’s microbial environment is. We envision a need to ultimately custom tailor an oral and skin care regimen to each and every patient after sampling that patient’s unique microbial “fingerprint.” A one-size-fits-all approach is very unlikely to achieve optimal results when it comes to altering an individual’s microbiome. Although we are only now skimming the surface of this exciting field, early studies suggest that oral and topical probiotics hold potential in the treatment of acne as well as in slowing the signs of aging skin.” (65)

Warmly,

—f.c.

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