A study in the 1990s found that the application of probiotics in a skincare product improved the immunity of the skin by generating antimicrobial peptides and eradicating pathogens. More recently, the Skinwiser company examined the effects of probiotics on the skin. The study looked at which bacterial strains were more useful for which skin conditions. In general, the results show that topical application of certain probiotics made skin healthier and improved skin conditions, including acne.
Before we delve further, it’s important to define our terms:
· Probiotics: any living, good bacteria that help maintain body health
· Prebiotics: any nonliving food components that encourage the growth of probiotics
· Postbiotics: soluble factors (metabolites) produced as result of probiotic fermentation of prebiotics
It must be noted that the following are not probiotics because they do not contain any live bacteria:
· Products containing ferments (foods such as brewer’s yeast and wine are the results of fermentation)
· Products containing extracts (concentrated forms of active substances from flowers, fruits, and mushrooms)
· Products containing lysates (material formed by the breaking down of cell membranes through enzymatic, osmotic, or viral mechanisms)
Live Bacteria in Skin Care & Personal Care:
Buyer Beware !!!
Probiotics do have documented skin benefits, but these live cells have not been commercially used in skincare and personal care products. This new frontier of adding live bacteria in skincare and personal care products is a challenge for manufacturers because, traditionally, the presence of bacteria in these products is associated with contamination and with good reason. Some manufacturers are worried about materials (ingredients) that contain bacteria—either alive or deactivated. They are concerned about two main issues: Regulations regarding bacterial contamination of skincare and personal products, and the complications of preserving creams and lotions while keeping good bacteria alive, this is nearly impossible, and even though there are many ways of testing, live bacteria is problematic.
These concerns are indeed valid. At the moment, the European Union regulations don’t allow for the intentional addition of bacteria to skincare and personal care products. If beneficial bacteria are indeed added, the hurdle is how to preserve the product, so it won’t become unstable and spoil. Preservatives must be super strong and can even burn when used in the proper proportions to protect the product from contamination.
Guidelines on preservatives need to progress so that good, live bacteria are differentiated from bad, live bacteria. Now, however, this is new territory, and manufacturers should take the precautionary approach, given the legal implications.
Consumers should take precautions, too. Checking the labels may not be enough. Shoppers may need to investigate further before deciding to buy. One of the best strategies is buying skin care and personal care products from companies that have a philosophy of transparency, so consumers can be reasonably sure that their products are what they say they are and do what they promise. Here at Private Label Skincare Florida are very careful to let our clients know what exactly is in their products and try our best to educate them on ingredients and what they do.
Unfortunately, many skincare and personal care products advertised as containing live probiotics are, in fact, mislabeled.
How Prebiotics Work in Skin Care and Personal Care Products
A 2017 study found that direct application of prebiotics on the skin enhanced the activity and growth of good skinisms, which is a group of microorganisms (bacteria, virus, or fungus) that live on the skin. When prebiotics are added to skincare and personal care products, they directly increase the activity and growth of healthy, good skinisms and limit the growth of unwanted bacteria. Although little is known about the efficacy of topically applied prebiotics, Nashville-based Cosmetic Research Lab has been seeing positive results using patented prebiotic technology in the treatment of acne.
Preliminary unpublished and non-peer-reviewed studies have recently demonstrated that specific prebiotics was 99.9% effective at suppressing two acne-causing bacteria within 30 seconds of application. This vetted research was carried out by a third-party laboratory Micro Quality Labs, based on microbiological tests on the two acne-causing strains: P.acnes and Staph aureus. More studies are underway, but this does highlight the positive effect on skin by regulating the immune system and providing therapeutic benefits for inflammatory skin diseases, as detailed in the 1996 H. Christian et al. research.
How Postbiotics Work in Skin Care & Personal Care
The challenge of including postbiotics in skincare and personal care products is that the science is very much in its early stages because postbiotics’ role in human health has only recently been studied. Nonetheless, Postbiotica (an adjunct of the University of Milan) claims that postbiotics may have many advantages.
Postbiotics ingredients are not harmful. They contain higher amounts of active components and can be used at lower levels without affecting their performance.
Without knowing it, many people and brands have been using skincare and personal care products with active ingredients that naturally boost postbiotic levels, including:
· Algae, chlorella and spirulina
· Aloe (fermented)
· Apple cider vinegar
· Brewer’s yeast enzymes
· Coconut vinegar
· Grape pomace
· Humic, fulvic, and lactic acids
· Shilajit (an ancient, thick, tar-like substance found in the rocks of the Himalayas and Caucasus Mountains)
Based on these facts, I am sure it will not be long before we start to see postbiotics intentionally added to skincare and personal care products. Since Private Label skincare, Florida is very aware of these effects and have been using many of these ingredients for years, we are always happy to add any of these to your formulations.
More Research, Future Innovation
Researchers, the beauty industry, and conscious consumers are all coming to the same conclusion: the skin microbiome is an exciting new field of study that may offer safe and effective treatment options to those wanting healthier, more youthful-looking skin, and those suffering from challenging dermatological conditions.
Further research is needed to study the effects of skinisms and how skincare and personal care products can restore bacterial diversity and balance. Above all else, safety must be a top priority.
Until then, however, there are many proactive steps consumers can take now to prevent skin issues and help reverse any that have already happened. It appears that one of the main weapons in the defense against bad bacteria is to have the most diverse and balanced skin microbiome possible—in other words, happy and healthy skinisms. The biggest issue is maintaining the proper pH of the skin.
Here at Private Label Skincare Florida, we beat this drum to death, due to the importance of maintaining the proper PH to the skin. As we all know, germs can’t live in an acidic environment. The normal skin PH is acidic. So, most skin issues would vanish if proper pH balance was the primary focus of all skincare. Call us today. We will make your skincare line at the proper pH.