Among the most common questions I get at Maine Laser Skin Care is about supplements that might help with skin care. One of more popular supplements discussed currently is the use of probiotics. A recent article in the January 2016 edition of Journal of Drugs in Dermatology reviewed the anti-aging skin effects of probiotics.
Probiotics are defined as “live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit in the host”. This category has received much attention for its ability to improve digestive health, regulate the immune system, and even affect brain function.
Probiotics are currently being used in various medical specialities to manage a range of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. In the area of skin health, probiotics have been shown in numerous studies to counter the bodily mechanisms that cause both internal and external causes of aging.
As we get older, skin pH becomes less acidic, which allows enzymes to break down chemicals that helps skin function normally. Many probiotic strains will restore the skin’s pH and slow internal aging of the skin.
Probiotics also improve the immune defense system of the skin, which can neutralize effects of sun damage and help in skin repair. Additionally, the decrease of oxidative stress on the skin decreases skin inflammation, reducing the chances of contracting skin conditions such as acne and rosacea.
Some preliminary studies even show oral probiotics helping improve skin thickening and the quality and thickness of hair. Thickened skin from probiotic use has also been shown to aid in skin moisture retention by 13-17% as early as 6 week after daily ingestion.
As you can see, basic science and clinical research are in agreement that probiotics are a beneficial therapy for countering the effects of aging on the skin. As always, further study is needed to determine what is the best combination of “good bacteria”, what is the best dosage, and whether or not they can be combined with other supplements such as antioxidants.
As medical and scientific understanding of probiotics expands, I will keep you up to date. Later this winter, I will be attending a national laser and dermatology conference where I anticipate that this subject will probably be a hot topic.
If you are currently taking a probiotic, certainly continue to do so. Your skin (via your gut) will thank you!
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