If you’ve ever pampered your skin with a DIY-yoghurt mask, congratulations. You’ve already discovered probiotic skincare!
While the tradition of using yoghurt (or rather the ‘good bacteria’ in it) for the skin dates back decades, the past few years have seen skincare brands studying probiotics and including it in products to help the skin remain balanced and strong.
You’ve likely heard of beneficial probiotics aiding digestion in your gut, but it turns out that employing it as part of your skincare routine is also pretty promising. To understand some of the new skincare claims, let’s first understand the skin microbiome and the bacteria that live on our skin.
No need to squirm, it’s actually a good thing!
On top of the skin’s physical barrier is a layer of diverse microorganisms called the microbiome that helps keep our complexion clear and radiant. They work with our natural immune system to defend our skin, so keeping our microbiome balanced is basically the key to great skin.
Daily Vanity hears all about probiotics and how it helps our skin microbiome from a well-known skincare entrepreneur who launched his own skincare line locally and has been expanding the popular brand successfully to multiple countries across the world.
Here’s the scoop on the probiotics trend from the founder of Allies of Skin, Nicolas Travis.
- Probiotics are great for gut health, but how do they benefit our skin microbiome?
- What is a common mistake people do that destroys the bacterial balance on skin?
- Who benefits from probiotic skincare most?
- What sets products with probiotics apart from other existing skincare in the market?
- Probiotic ingredients and actives
- Probiotic skincare products
Probiotics are great for gut health, but how do they benefit our skin microbiome?
In probiotic supplements, live bacteria is used. However, in skincare, there’s no way to include live bacteria since we don’t know what other bacteria will grow (think mould and other microorganisms you don’t want living in your skincare products!) Also, preservatives used to keep skincare products fresh will kill any live bacteria.
Hence in skincare, we refer to probiotics as a class of microbiome-boosting actives that promote the growth of natural good bacteria on the skin to help the skin defend itself better so that symptoms like premature ageing, redness, sensitivity, breakouts, and excessive oiliness will all fade.
What is a common mistake people do that destroys the bacterial balance on skin?
Using harsh cleansers with sulfates strip our skin, particularly with products like toners that contain drying alcohol.
We agree with Nicolas on this. Aside from products which dry out your skin, exfoliating daily is a bad idea as it removes natural oils from the skin, which can cause breakouts and irritation. Over time, it can actually thin the skin!
Exfoliating two or three times a week for normal or combination skin is plenty.
Who benefits from probiotic skincare most?
According to Nicolas, people suffering from psoriasis, eczema, redness, acne, and those with highly reactive and sensitised skin benefit the most from probiotic skincare. It’s also great for modern and busy women with dry and stressed skin. We tend to over-clean our skin at times and bringing probiotics into the equation can help rebuild a healthy skin ecosystem, giving you the glowing skin you’re meant to have.
What sets products with probiotics apart from other existing skincare in the market?
Products with probiotics help strengthen the skin over time which makes a strong case. This means that technically even if you stop using the product, your skin will still be better off than it was before!
Probiotic ingredients and actives
Nicolas personally prefers Lactobacillus Ferment, Yogurt + Inulin, Manuka Honey (not technically a probiotic but it pairs great with probiotics to keep the skin microbiome healthy) and Lactobacillus Ferment Lysate Filtrate in skincare with products.
But actives that can help the skin microbiome bounce back quicker from daily stressors like washing and UV light, pollution and domestic chemicals are also great to look out for in future products.
Probiotic skincare products
A look at Nicolas Travis and you’ll be drawn to his impossibly smooth skin. Well, the secret is out on what products this skincare entrepreneur swears by when it comes to probiotics.
Aside from a probiotic supplement he takes daily, he always reaches for the Allies of Skin Molecular Saviour Probiotics Mist, 1A All-Day Pollution Repair Mask, and Molecular Multi-Nutrient Day Cream.
Allies of Skin Molecular Saviour Probiotics Mist
Recently launched, this probiotics mist is a supercharged mist that does way more than just moisturising. It’s extremely nutrient-dense with probiotics, mango cells, silk amino acids, aloe, colloidal silver, and 6 antioxidants. The anti-evaporation base is also designed to cling to your skin cells instead of simply vanishing.
Allies of Skin Molecular Saviour Probiotics Mist retails at SGD79 and is available here.
Tula Multi-Spectrum Eye Renewal Serum
An important rule of skincare: Always show love to the most delicate part of our skin – the skin around our eyes.
This probiotic-infused brightening eye balm refreshes the look of tired, ageing eyes and is clinically proven to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and puffiness. It contains strains of Bifida Ferment Lysate, which is said to fight free radicals and provide an instant burst of hydration. It’s also travel-friendly so you can bring your good bacteria along wherever you go!
Tula Multi-Spectrum Eye Renewal Serum retails at SGD68 and is available here.
Lancome Advanced Génifique Youth Activating Concentrate
This iconic anti-ageing serum is now given a boost with microbiome science, which accelerates skin recovery for stronger and younger-looking skin. Enriched with a new complex of seven prebiotics and probiotic fractions, it helps strengthen our skin’s fundamental youthful functions, defence and recovery. Don’t be surprised if your skin looks youthfully radiant and smoother in just seven days!
Lancome Advanced Génifique Youth Activating Concentrate retails at SGD20 and is available here.
Gallinée Skincare Line
With their value of ‘happy skin needs happy bacteria’, Gallinée produced a patented complex of prebiotics, probiotics and lactic acid to help nourish and support the skin’s good bacteria. The products across their line have the same pH as the skin so there definitely won’t be skin-stripping ingredients such as soap or SLS.
Try their founder’s favourite product – the non-soap Cleansing Bar. The gentlest non-soap possible, it’s the perfect product to support your microbiome from head to toe as it is suitable for face and body with its pH of 5.8, respecting your skin’s natural pH levels (most skin types have a natural pH level of 5.5).
Gallinée Cleansing Bar retails at SGD23 and is available here.
The Ordinary “Buffet” Multi-technology Peptide Serum
With a ton of actives listed in the ingredients list, it’s no wonder this serum is called the “Buffet”. The concentrated serum boasts multiple peptide complexes that work with 11 different skin-friendly amino acids to address multiple signs of ageing. It also contains probiotics, feeding your skin with good bacteria to strengthen your skin barrier and improve moisture retention.
Apart from collagen-boosting actives, the serum also contains hyaluronic acid, which replenishes hydration levels for soft, plump skin. Yup, it’s the Fountain of Youth in a bottle. You can use this twice a day, in the morning and at night.
The Ordinary “Buffet” Multi-technology Peptide Serum retails for SGD20.50 on Beauty Bay.
Aurelia Probiotic Skincare The Probiotic Concentrate
Aurelia’s star product is designed to be mixed into your favourite serum or moisturiser, lending it a good-bacteria boost. The brand uses a non-live probiotic from bifidobacteria, which works on a deeper cellular level to protect and balance skin.
It absorbs quickly without leaving any residue on the surface of your skin, and it works to counteract the damaging effects of pollution and UV exposure. With continued use, you’ll notice firmer, brighter skin with fewer fine lines, wrinkles, and pigmentation.
Aurelia Probiotic Skincare The Probiotic Concentrate retails for SGD55 at Lookfantastic.
Mother Dirt AO+ Mist
Experts will agree that this is one of the few true probiotic skincare products on the market today. That means the bacteria in this mist are living microorganisms with active metabolisms. Mother Dirt aims to reintroduce our skin to the Nitrosomonas eutropha strain and bring back its unique benefits.
These bacteria use our own sweat – more specifically, the ammonia therein – as a prebiotic, converting it into molecules that have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties for fewer breakouts and less irritation. In the company’s studies, subjects who used the mist (along with the brand’s cleanser) for four weeks saw a 35% improvement in skin clarity and blotchiness, as well as a 22% reduction in oil.
It supports the skin’s natural defense mechanisms to stave off invaders, like zit-forming P. acnes bacteria – something we once had to rely on antibiotic drugs and antibacterial cleansers to do.
Mother Dirt AO+ Mist retails for USD49.99 (SGD68.04) at Mother Dirt.
Forest Rhapsody Milk Ferment
New local brand Forest Rhapsody formulates clever, sophisticated skincare solutions that celebrate chemistry while paying tribute to age-old beauty rituals across Southeast Asia. The Milk Ferment is a milky cleanser that caught our eye when we visited BHG Bugis’ newly revamped Beauty Hall.
The creamy formula is packed with soothing rice bran and colloidal oatmeal. Plus, it’s optimised with cutting-edge probiotics and lactic acid to rebalance your skin’s microbiome by encouraging cell renewal. Caffeine depuffs and tightens, while potent antioxidants protect skin from free radicals.
Forest Rhapsody Milk Ferment retails for SGD48 at Forest Rhapsody.
Allies of Skin Prebiotics & Niacinamide Pore-Refining Booster
A new addition to the Allies of Skin family, the Prebiotics & Niacinamide Pore-Refining Booster is the ultimate daily booster that’s supercharged with 10% niacinamide, prebiotics, probiotics, and brighteners. Together, these ingredients work to refine the appearance of pores and boost brightness for healthier, radiant, and more resilient skin.
The antioxidant-rich formula is designed to get to the root cause of imperfections and dull skin thanks to a blend of niacinamide, centella, goji berry as well as a pre- and probiotic complex. But it doesn’t stop there, this potent Pore Refining Booster also strengthens the skin’s delicate barrier and its microbiome too.
Pixi Clarity Tonic
If you’re up against maskne, then Pixi’s Clarity Tonic is exactly what you need in your skincare routine. This toner contains two forms of chemical exfoliants, glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acid (derived from white willow bark extract), to clear out sebum from deep within your pores.
True to the brand’s gentle philosophy, the Clarity Tonic is also infused with aloe to deliver soothing hydration. There are probiotics in the formula to help balance and strengthen your skin’s microbiome too. Simply saturate a cotton pad with the tonic and swipe it all over your face and neck twice a day after cleansing. If you have particularly sensitive skin, you may want to use this only at night or a few times a week.
Pixi Clarity Tonic retails for S$24 (100ml) and S$48 (250ml) from 11 March 2021 at Sephora.
Drunk Elephant Sweet Biome™ Fermented Sake Spray
If mists, toners, or essences are already a key product in your skincare routine, you’ll want to make the switch to Drunk Elephant’s Sweet Biome Fermented Sake Spray. The ceramides, fermented sake spray, and electrolytes found in this product make it ideal for dry, dehydrated skin, as well as those who need some barrier repair after over-exfoliating.
You can use this mist a few different ways. It can be mixed into or layered with all of your skincare products, so you can give your moisturiser a boost by layering a few veils of mist in-between steps of your routine to lock in the full benefits. Of course, it works as a traditional mist, used over your moisturiser or as a makeup-refreshing step in the middle of the day.
Drunk Elephant Sweet Biome™ Fermented Sake Spray retails for S$60 at Sephora.