Aren't probiotics something to do with gut health? Not exclusively as it turns out, and the beauty world is taking notice of the benefits of good bacteria...
When I think probiotics, I think about ads for tiny yoghurt-like drinks and words like L. Casei Immunitas. I also think about bacteria, yeast and digestive issues - ew. When I first started to see brands creating probiotic skincare, I was mildly terrified and was picturing myself slathering my face with the aforementioned yoghurt drink. Needless to say, my terror was misplaced.
Okay. Probiotics are essentially good bacteria. Our skin's microbiome (a fancy name for the place all these bacteria call home) is home to billions of different types bacteria that act as a protective ecosystem, doing things like maintaining our skin's pH and fighting infections. With environmental factors and sometimes even skincare, we can damage the natural bacterial ecosystem which can result in dry, stressed and sensitive skin. Using topical probiotic products can help the protective layer to stay strong, leaving us with the healthy, glowing skin we're supposed to have.
Pre- or Pro-?
Don't be confused between prebiotics and probiotics. Prebiotics are used to basically 'feed' the good bacteria already present in our skin, where probiotics are added bacteria to help the repair and protect process along.
Who will benefit?
If you have sensitive, eczema-prone or acne-prone skin or are living in a place with lots of environmental pollution (such as in a built-up, urban area) you could really benefit from introducing some probiotics into your skincare routine. But of course, probiotic skin is only going to do good things for your skin if used correctly, so even if you're not particularly sensitive or acne-prone, you can still use it.
Four of the best
Here are four excellent probiotic skincare products that I have tried and tested and found to be really impressive.
This is, hands down, the best primer I've ever used on my skin. It doesn't do what so many smoothing primers do - it doesn't just fill pores to hide them. It creates such a stunning base for makeup AND contains probiotic ingredients. Pricey but worth it.
I use this about once per week as my serum step, morning and evening. It does what it says, it boosts skin renewal, meaning it speeds up the process of moving dead cells and bad bacteria away and encourages newness and growth of fresh skin.
Vichy's entire Slow Age range is based on the idea of probiotics. This lightweight fluid in particular suited my skin - I don't like adding anything too rich or heavy into my skincare routine.
I love a mist. There's something very indulgent about whipping out a mist and spraying yourself on the go. Beauty, but make it fashion.