What Probiotics Do for Your Skin


Leslie Lang

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You’ve probably heard about probiotics and how good they are for your digestive health. Now doctors say probiotics are also good for the health of our skin. Skin is our body’s largest organ, and it’s the body’s first line of attack to protect against physical, bacterial, chemical, fungal or other “assaults.” It sometimes suffers from conditions such as acne, rashes and eczema, and probiotics can help prevent skin issues and reduce symptoms.

But what are probiotics? Where do you find them, how do you take them, and what exactly do they do for your skin? Here’s what to know about probiotics and skin health.

What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts similar to the “friendly bacteria” we already have in our digestive system. Though we sometimes think of bacteria as being bad, our body is host to both good and bad bacteria. Probiotics are the good type; they help keep our digestive and immune systems healthy and functioning well. The word “probiotics” means “for life.” And the benefits of probiotics extend to our skin health, too.

Where to Find Probiotics and What to Look For

A good source of probiotics is live culture yogurt. Look for “Live and Active Cultures” on the yogurt’s label. That means the yogurt has at least 100 million active cultures per gram. You can also get probiotics from kefir, acidophilus milk, some cheeses, sourdough bread, miso soup, kimchi, and other fermented foods. There are over-the-counter probiotic supplements in the form of capsules, tablets, and skin creams, as well.

Probiotics can contain different types of bacteria; the most common strains are those in the lactobacillus and bifidobacterium acidophilus families, which we already have in our digestive systems.

Probiotics for Skin Health

We can get probiotics not only through food but also by applying them topically in a cream. Whether you take them internally or apply them externally, here’s why probiotics are great for skin:

  • Probiotics help with acne and rosacea. Putting probiotics directly onto the skin forms a protective shield that keeps skin cells from coming into contact with “bad bacteria” and parasites. This keeps the immune system from triggering a re