Is Bacteria Good For your Skin?

First, what are probiotics?

-"Probiotics" means “for life.” Probiotics, aka “good bacteria,” are living organisms naturally found in our bodies.

-Our bodies contain 300 to 500 different strains of bacteria that make up 95 percent of the total cells in our body.

-Over 90 percent of all good bacteria in your body live in your small intestine, large intestine, and colon.

-Seventy percent of the body’s immune system is connected to the digestive tract, which means a properly functioning digestive system is essential to maintaining overall health.

What does this have to do with my skin?

Our skin is also colonized by a diverse group of living microorganisms commonly referred to as biofilm. Many of them are bacteria, most of which are harmless or even beneficial to us, playing a vital role in the skin's barrier function. Just as with the gut, the health of your skin is directly linked with the balance of these good and bad bacteria. Any disruptions in the balance of these organisms can result in skin disorders or infection.

How does it work?

Probiotics applied topically form a protective shield on your skin, which actually helps stop your cells from “seeing” or reacting to bad bacteria and developing inflammation, which can age your skin and aggravate acne or rosacea. This is known as “bacterial interference,” as probiotics protect the skin and interfere with the ability of bad bugs (or bacteria and parasites) to provoke an immune reaction, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. In this way, probiotics promote a natural balance of the skin flora, supplying the same anti-inflammatory nutritive elements to your skin that help your gut while stabilizing its immune system.

Topical probiotics have been also shown to:

-Enhance repair activity and strengthen skin barrier function, making skin more stress resistant

-Restore skin’s natural equilibrium and stabilize skin’s immune system

-Calm redness, sensitivity, and inflammation, such as rosacea

-Protect the skin against bad bacteria that can lead to acne

-Reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles—yes topical probiotics help fight aging!

Jay McClinton