How Probiotic Skincare Works with the Skin’s Microbiome

Now, you might be wondering – what is a microbiome?

A microbiome supports a diverse community of microorganisms that train and support the immune system and fend off pathogenic threats. When it falls out of balance, this can lead to irritation and a damaged skin barrier. But, probiotics like lactobacillus can help to prevent this, and they support the microbiome. 

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are body-friendly bacteria that restore the body’s natural flora. “Flora” are the bacteria or microbes that thrive in a healthy human body without causing disease. Beneficial skin bacteria like probiotics can prevent the growth of other potentially harmful microbes. 

There is evidence that topical applications of probiotic bacteria can enhance the skin's natural defense barriers. Probiotics can produce antimicrobial peptides that help immune responses and eliminate pathogens. More simply, probiotics can help the skin to eliminate the bad stuff.  Studies have also shown that some probiotics interact with the immune system to help fight infection.

For example,  topical probiotics are known to block the release of inflammatory cytokines and thus, they help to reduce skin inflammation.   

What are inflammatory cytokines?

An inflammatory cytokine or proinflammatory cytokine is a type of signaling molecule that is secreted from immune cells like macrophages, and they promote inflammation. Fortunately, topical probiotics have been shown to help regulate them. Likewise, they can help the skin barrier to recover quicker and function better.

What type of probiotics are used in skincare?

Some common probiotics used in skincare are lactococcus, bifida, streptococcus thermophilus, saccharomyces, lactobacillus, and leuconostoc. “Prebiotics” are also used in skincare. 

You can read here to understand how probiotics in skincare are made. 

What is the difference between prebiotics and probiotics? 

Prebiotics are compounds that foster the growth or activity of beneficial microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi. In cosmetic formulations, prebiotics are applied to the skin to support the growth of 'normal' skin flora.

However, little is known about the efficacy of topically applied prebiotics. Research generally addresses the health benefits of ingesting prebiotics rather than putting them on.

Who is probiotic skincare for?

Probiotics skincare is known to help with inflammation, redness, hydration, and adult acne. Here, we have some suggestions that Cassandra loves and work great.

PURE’AM Amino Acid Mild Cleanser- $23

Overall, this is a very soothing, probiotic cleanser. This works well for sensitive, irritated, or dry skin. This can work for oily skin too, but some may want a cleanser that clarifies oil a little more.

It’s cruelty-free and vegan, it exfoliates, thoroughly cleanses, and soothes the skin with tea tree leaf extract.

How do the ingredients work?

Tea Tree

Tea tree is a plant extract known to help with inflammation and even for decreasing c acnes bacteria. 

Lactic Acid

The PURE’AM Amino Acid Mild Cleanser also contains apple amino acids. Apple contains lactic acid, one of the most gentle exfoliants. Exfoliating is very important because a lack of it can also lead to build-up and inflammation. 

Lactic acid is not only exfoliating, but it’s also very hydrating because it pulls water into the skin. 


This cleanser includes rosemary which can improve circulation in the skin. It also has calming effects. Rosemary has antimicrobial properties as well, and they are also a great source of antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect the skin from damage and reduce redness. 


In addition to other hydrating ingredients like glycerin, there’s also fermented rice (lactobacillus ferment filtrate). The probiotic further soothes and allows the hydrating qualities of this product to absorb into the skin. Probiotics can help skincare to penetrate more deeply.

Phyla Acne-fighting Probiotic Serum

This skincare serum contains bacteriophages. This ingredient is meant to target C acnes bacteria, the bacteria that causes acne. C acnes bacteria is normal to the body as well, but in excess, it can cause breakouts.  According to the World Health Organization, many researchers classify bacteriophages as probiotics.

Plus, Phyla skincare is vegan! Many probiotics, especially the lactobacillus species are extracted from the gastrointestinal tracts of animals. But fortunately, Phyla is cruelty-free!

So, this is an overview of how probiotics work on skincare. Everyone’s skin is different and will respond differently, but Cassandra personally loves these two brands. Also, remember to wear your SPF!