Probiotics Aren't Just Good For Your Gut

Studies suggest topical probiotics can reduce skin inflammation like acne and rosacea.
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Studies suggest topical probiotics can reduce skin inflammation like acne and rosacea.

You know those special yogurts and fermented drinks that promise to fill your tummy with friendly flora and good bacteria? Now they have that for your face.

In case you’ve never watched Dr. Oz or stepped into a Whole Foods, these beneficial bacteria are referred to as probiotics: microorganisms similar to those that naturally populate your gut. Depleting these micro-critters through poor diet or taking antibiotics can cause major digestive problems. As it turns out, your skin works in a similar way.

Studies like this one, published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, and these reports, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, suggest that probiotics can help reduce skin inflammation--acne, rosacea, eczema, even wounds--by crowding out harmful bacteria (just as they do in the intestinal tract). 

Participants in most of the studies took oral probiotic supplements, but topical probiotics can be found in skin care brands like TULA, which I recently tried out.

A relatively new line, TULA incorporates probiotics in its entire range of skin-balancing products. They sent me four samples to try: The Illuminating Face Cleanser, Illuminating Face Serum, Hydrating Day & Night Cream, and Revitalizing Eye Cream.

tula probiotic skin care could be the answer to acne

With a mild, clean scent, the products were lovely and luxurious to use. My favorite was the super hydrating Day and Night Cream. Its rich texture was reminiscent of Greek yogurt, and it felt soothing when layered under my sunscreen. The eye cream was similarly rich and velvety. I especially liked popping it in the fridge before use as an under-eye moisture mask.  

Filled with antioxidants, the serum was much lighter and thinner in texture, making it ideal for those with oily skin. The cleanser, however, was a bit drying for my skin.  

Aside from the cleanser, the products left my skin feeling soothed and refreshed, which may be a result of the probiotics, or all of the hydrating oils and fruit extracts that the products contain. 

In addition to easing inflammation, TULA also touts topical probiotics as an anti-aging ingredient and sun damage repairer, but the studies I found didn't speak to that claim.

Though the studies that point to skin benefits of topical probiotics are still largely inconclusive, we may well see the ingredient popping up on more skin care labels. 

Have you tried any probiotic skin care products? What's the best probiotic snack or supplement you've found?