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Dermatologist Discusses New Probiotic Advancement

Dr. Bowe shares why probiotics is the next big thing in skincare.
Dr. Whitney Bowe

Earlier last week, The American Academy of Dermatology shared its annual Beauty Breakthroughs highlighting two new advancements of dermatology. These advancements are how probiotics can help the skin and how ultrasound technology can eliminate excess back and bra fat.

What is going to be discussed in this article is probiotics being the next big thing in skincare. Research has shown that skin prone to acne and rosacea has improved due to daily oral probiotic use or when it is applied topically to the skin.

Lead researcher, board-certified dermatologist and clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai Medical Centers in New York Dr. Whitney Bowe talked to Brandi Walker about how probiotics can help the skin, where you could find skin products that contain probiotics and how beneficial homemade skin products are compared to store brought products.

1. How has oral probiotics help in fighting acne, rosacea, and other skin ailments?

Oral probiotics, whether ingested by swallowing supplements or eating yogurts containing live cultures, have been shown to influence skin conditions such as acne and rosacea by affecting what is known as the “gut-brain-skin axis.” Stress alone or in combination with refined, processed comfort foods devoid of fiber slow gut motility, slowing down digestion. This slowing of digestion causes a shift in the type of bacteria that live in the gut, which leads to an unhealthy gut environment. Eventually the gut lining becomes leaky and systemic inflammation increases. Not only are markers of systemic inflammation increased, but neuropeptides like substance P are also increased. This whole cascade of events is thought to contribute to acne, rosacea, and even aging.

To stop this vicious cascade, you can either find ways to manage your stress, try to include more fruits, veggies and fiber in your diet, or introduce healthy bacteria to the gut in the form of probiotics. The probiotics will line the gut and create a healthy, sealed barrier that prevents inflammation that can trigger aging, acne or rosacea. While U.S.-based studies are underway to better understand this complex process, a few international studies have shown a correlation between oral probiotic use and improvement in acne, including a recent Korean study of 56 acne patients. The investigators found that drinking a Lactobacillus-fermented dairy beverage effectively reduced total acne lesion counts and decreased oil production over 12 weeks.

2. Where could you find quality skin products that contain probiotics?

Look for products that contain Streptococcus thermophilus, Streptococcus salivarius, Bifidobacterium longum or Enterococcus faecalis. Those strains all have evidence supporting their use on the skin.

3. What cosmetic manufacturers are already using probiotics in their products?

Burt's Bees Intense Hydration, Clinique redness solutions, Aurelia Probiotic Skin Care, Nude Miracle Mask

4. What other ingredients are applied in homemade Greek yogurt masks?

You can consider adding a probiotic powder to your Greek yogurt for an extra probiotic boost. Culturelle is one brand that makes a powder form of probiotic. Just mix it with the yogurt prior to applying to try to evenly distribute it throughout the yogurt.

5. How beneficial are homemade skin products compared to store brought products?

We don't have any formal studies to prove that homemade skin products are any more or less effective than those bought in the store. Anecdotally, my patients have described a benefit from homemade masks.

6. How has probiotics help in managing stress and what we put in our stomachs?

Oral probiotic ingestion has been show to affect chemicals in the brain such as dopamine, serotonin and tryptophan. Studies show that by having the right bacteria in the gut, animals are better at responding to stressful situations, and show less anxiety-like behavior.

Taking probiotics does not counteract the effects of a poor diet. It is meant to supplement your diet. For the best effects on your skin, try to avoid high glycemic index foods like white bread, white pasta, cornflakes and cookies. Include plenty of fruits and vegetables, fiber and lean protein. Also make sure to include healthy fats such as those found in avocados, olive oil and chia seeds.

For more information on Dr. Bowe, visit her website You could also visit The Academy website at

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