December 20, 2019 2 min read
There is a lot of hype in the skincare industry surrounding prebiotics and probiotics and the benefits these ingredients offer when used in skincare products. But what really are these bacteria-filled, actives and what is a postbiotic?
Research has identified the importance of our gut bacteria and has led to a vast increase in development and near-obsession with probiotic supplements, foods, and drinks (examples include Kombucha tea, kimchi, miso, and Kefir). Although oral consumption of prebiotics and probiotics may prove to be helpful, the skin does have its own unique flora and benefits from targeted skincare.
Prebiotics are the "fertilizer" or "food," so to speak, that encourages essential microorganisms to grow. They are the natural partner to probiotics, increasing the production of this important bacteria promoting healthy balance to the skin.
Probiotics are the microorganisms themselves and naturally live on the surface of the skin, creating a protective veil referred to as the skin's microbiome. When your skin's microbiome is in balance, it helps offset factors that can negatively influence skin, such as factors that lead to redness, dryness, and a weakened surface that more quickly shows signs of aging from environmental attack.
Postbiotics are have become a more recent topic of conversation. They are actually the chemical byproducts of bacteria, such as antimicrobial peptides and fragments of dead bacterial cells that remain on the skin. More and more probiotics are being used more commonly in skincare as they do not expire as quickly as active probiotics, the lysate extract can be fermented and formulated into products without having to worry about it expiring in a matter of a few days or even a few weeks.
Prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics skincare, however, does have its challenges. Probiotics are live bacteria and thus need refrigeration. This is why we are seeing more and more the use of postbiotics over probiotics. Another complexity in the development of prebiotic, probiotic, and postbiotic skincare is that each person may have a different need in terms of their skin microflora and that microflora is inherently different in different environments on the skin.
What's even more fascinating is that probiotics and their derivatives, known as lysates (postbiotics) work beautifully with other skincare ingredients. As the probiotics break down on skin's surface, they create brilliant new ingredients to support skin, such as hyaluronic acid, peptides, and vitamins, as well as increasing the presence of ceramides. This, in turn, leads to diminished signs of aging, better hydration, and a radiance that's visible proof of skin's renewed vitality.
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