Dermatologists give topical probiotic skin care a nod of approval

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

Dermatologists give topical probiotic skin care a nod of approval

Related tags Bacteria Skin

In a newly published review of the emerging personal care subcategory, board certified dermatologist and nationally recognized anti-aging expert Dr. Patricia K. Farris acknowledges that topical probiotics can benefit the skin and suggests that there’s real market potential here.

In an item posted Monday on Dermatology Times, Dr. Patricia K. Farris sets out to explore and explain whether “skin care products with probiotics are worth the hype.”

Dermatology Times is an online publication of UBM America’s ModernMedicine Network, which provides resources, tools, and news to health professionals. Dr. Farris has consulted on product development and strategic direction for prominent beauty players such as L’Oréal, Revlon, Nivea, and Neutrogena. She’s published numerous scientific articles, is commonly quoted in popular media, and edited (as well as contributed to) Wiley’s 2014 textbook Cosmeceuticals in Cosmetic Practice.

Alive and well

Organisms like Proprionibacterium, Staphyloccoci, Micrococci, Corynebacteri, as well as Malassezia yeast live on the skin, explains Dr. Farris. And when skin is healthy, these bacteria and yeast help it stay that way: “skin microbiota controls the colonization of potentially pathogenic organisms, modulates immune response, skin barrier function and is integral for skin health,” ​writes Dr. Farris.

Environmental factors and lifestyle affect the skin’s microbiome. Even the use of “cosmetics can influence skin microbiota,” ​she notes. And, “studies indicate that alterations in skin microflora play a significant role in conditions such as atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, acne and skin cancer.”

To sort out the good from the bad and the fact from the fiction, Dr. Farris evelauates an array of scientific articles on the topic. “The studies reviewed suggest that topical prebiotics, probiotics and bacterial cell lysates do provide demonstrable skin benefits.”

Moreover, “cosmetics containing probiotics may also be helpful for improving skin health and beauty,” ​she concludes.

But that’s not the end of it. Formulating topical skin care with probiotics is indeed an emerging trend, but one that needs more research. “At this time, it appears that more studies are warranted to determine if these products are really worth the hype,” ​Dr. Farris states.

Good enough to eat

It’s not uncommon for consumer trends to move from food into beauty. And probiotics have been doing well in the nutrition and dietary marketplace. In Mintel’s recent report, Facial Skincare and Anti-Aging US 2016​, Shannon Romanowski, category manager for health, household, beauty, and personal care, affirms that “the link between diet and skin is evident.”

“As consumers increasingly associate their lifestyle with their skin’s appearance, product formulations with added food-based ingredients and vitamins stand out among the competition,”​ she says. In fact data Mintel shares in that report indicates that 72% of consumers use now or would like to use products with probiotic ingredients.


Dr. Farris’ article (complete with full research citations) can be found here​.

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