When you hear about probiotics it is usually related to gut health. After a round of antibiotics, or if you’re looking to boost immunity, it’s important to build up all the good bacteria in it. They keep the body in perfect harmony and help fight off the bad bacteria. And in a year in which we absolutely want to kill germs and disinfect everything, the subject of probiotics and “healthy biomes” is more important than ever.
However, it’s not just the gut where these good bacteria reside. These microorganisms also live on our skin, where they have a similar job of maintaining balance, thus keeping the skin clear and healthy. And between washing our hands and applying dozens of different products to our bodies – with little care for this skin biome and its balance – most of us walk around with an imbalanced biome. And that’s often why your skin breaks out, turns reddish, or becomes inflamed.
But how do they promote that strength and health? “The biome has a very delicate balance that is controlled by both the organisms on our skin and the pH of our skin,” says board-certified dermatologist Heather Rogers, founder of Doctor Rogers Skin Care. You’ve probably heard of pH balance – it often refers to how something reacts with our skin by measuring how acidic or basic that product or thing is on a scale of 14: “Zero is the most acidic and 7 is neutral while 14 is the most basic, ”says Rogers. “A pH value around 5.5 is the healthiest for our skin with the best barrier against natural oils and microorganisms. This creates a wonderful protective shield or acid mantle for the skin. “
It is for this reason that we often discuss the skin’s biome and pH balance in the same breath, as they are so often linked. “They are both affected by what we consume, what we put on our skin, how we treat our skin, and how we feel,” says Rogers. And if the skin is particularly red, inflamed, irritated, or erupting, it is often because it lacks the harmony between pH and biome.
As an example, Rogers points out that you are washing your face with too much soap: “This can raise the pH of your skin because soap is basic (high pH) and increases the pH of your skin. This changes the microenvironment of the skin barrier, which makes the natural oils work less well and harder for the good microbes to live and help the skin. As a result, the skin protection is less protective and the risk of irritation and inflammation increases. “It’s a lot to turn your head around, but simply just remember – that certain products are too harsh on your skin and make these types of problems worse – then you can take steps to restore that biome harmony and improve your complexion with it.
“To stop this cycle, you have to be very thoughtful and picky about what to do with your skin,” says Rogers. “People often make the mistake that their skin needs more, which increases irritation.” When this happens, stop using most of your usual products and focus on doing less.
The biome-balancing probiotic skin care program
Here’s a simple, minimalist scheme Rogers prescribes to patients when their skin needs rebalancing – by making the skin inflamed, irritated, and likely stripped of all good bacteria, as well as being out of whack on the pH front.
Follow these steps to rebuild, nourish and protect the skin biome and restore your skin to its naturally balanced, harmonious state.
- Instead of using a full-fledged cleanser, splash your face with lukewarm water.
- Apply a thick, hypoallergenic face cream. Choose one with ingredients that nourish and soothe the skin, she says. These include squalane, shea butter, and niacinamide.
Ghost Democracy Daily Probiotic Moisturizer with Niacinamide
Then apply a mineral suncream (one with zinc or titanium) and reapply during the day if necessary. (Every two hours when exposed to direct sunlight.)
Salt & Stone Mineral SPF 30 sun protection
- “Wash your face with a gentle pH-balanced cleanser (a little less than 6),” she says. If this confuses you, just know that it keeps your skin in balance by gently cleansing it, without paint strippers and bites. “Remember, no exfoliating, exfoliating, or antiaging treatments,” she adds. “Your skin can only tolerate this if it is strong. If you do this now, the skin will only be irritated.”
Dr. Brandt pH balanced probiotic yogurt cleaner
Just like in the morning, apply a thick hypoallergenic face cream with soothing, harmonious ingredients like squalane, shea butter and niacinamide.
Rogers also suggests avoiding foods that cause inflammation (which vary from person to person) and consider taking oral probiotics. “Choose one specifically formulated for your skin flora, not just your gut,” she says.
Probiotic HUM supplement for skin and intestines (60 points)
Other great probiotic care products
Zent’s probiotic shea butter hand cream
[$41; amazon.com]What could be nicer than now to provide extra nourishment (not to mention good bacterial growth). Zents hand cream contains moisturizing hyaluronic acid, smoothing shea butter and probiotic peptides.
Probiotic mist with mother dirt
[$50; amazon.com]This body spray contains water, salt and live “ammonia oxidizing bacteria” that settle in the skin to fight off bad bacteria while maintaining the skin’s healthy pH.
Zero Taboos prebiotic foam body wash
[$19; amazon.com]As a prebiotic body cleanser, Zero Taboos’ product helps feed the natural, good bacteria in your skin. You get clean, they get stronger.
Gallinée prebiotic hair and scalp serum
[$35; amazon.com]Spray this serum all over the hair and scalp. It uses fermented rice water to fuel the good bacteria. This in turn promotes healthy, strong hair and prevents dandruff and itching.
Tom’s of Maine prebiotic deodorant, aluminum free
[$12; target.com]By using xylitol and yoghurt extract, this refreshing deodorant provides bio-friendly ingredients and at the same time promises 48 hours of odor protection.
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