January 8, 2018

Why Probiotic Beauty Products Are Great For Your Skin

Thanks to all those yogurt commercials, you’re probably aware that probiotics are good for you. But you might not know that they also happen to be very good for your skin, too. “In my gastroenterology practice at NYU, I saw that when patients were taking probiotics for a variety of digestive health reasons, they saw changes in their skin as well,” says Dr. Roshini Raj, Associate Professor of Medicine at the NYU School of Medicine. “It was a rare aha moment. About four years ago we started seeing robust research on probiotics and overall skin health. It was such an exciting discovery and a revolutionary change in the way we are treating our skin.” That’s why Dr. Raj co-founded Tula, a probiotic skincare line that she helped develop. Appropriately, “Tula” means “balance” in Sanskrit. “It’s the perfect name because we are all about helping people achieve balance in skincare and an overall healthy lifestyle,” she says. “We are approaching beauty from a different perspective. As a gastroenterologist, I know how important internal health is for skin health.”

In case you’re a little fuzzy on the topic, probiotics are microorganisms that deliver health benefits when consumed or, in the case of beauty, applied topically on the skin. “Breathtaking science is emerging showing how the gut, brain and skin are connected with microbiome, which support our health and share a mutually beneficial relationship with our bodies,” says NYC Dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe, author of The Beauty of Dirty Skin. “When you apply probiotics topically, they act as a physical shield like a barrier, blocking harmful microbes from causing inflammation or infection. People who struggle with acne or rosacea, their immune systems recognize certain microscopic organisms as being foreign invaders and their bodies mount an immune reaction, but if you have probiotics on your skin, then the probiotics protect you from those triggers. Applying probiotics topically also produces antimicrobial peptides, which act like natural antibiotics that kill off harmful bugs—we’re especially exposed to those during winter.”

That’s not all applying probiotics topically can do for your skin. They can also soothe inflammation, guard against oxidative stress and free radicals, and protect your skin from the dangers and anti-aging effects of pollution, including fine lines and dark spots. “There are actually specific probiotics strains that have been shown to promote ceramide production, which are healthy lipids naturally found in skin that trap moisture and strengthens the skin barrier,” Dr. Bowe says. “There is a lot of science emerging that certain strains taken orally and applied topically can hydrate the skin.”