Submit your skincare questions to Dr. Agnes, CEO of Herborium and natural medicine expert
Probiotics have come to
the forefront of being an essential tool to helping maintain a healthy
digestive and immune system. Despite this popularity, many people aren't
entirely sure of what they are or what they can do. Here's a look at just a few
of their great benefits-including a discussion of how they may be able to help
you in your fight against acne.
You would be hard
pressed to find someone who hasn't heard of probiotics and their numerous
health benefits, but what exactly are they? The term "probiotic" refers
to a wide range of microorganisms which can be found in certain foods, drinks,
and supplements that help regulate everything from digestion to allergies. Most
of these microorganisms are bacteria, and while chowing down on something
commonly found in a petri dish may not sound appetizing, you might be surprised
to learn that your gastrointestinal tract is already teeming with them!
When thinking about
bacteria within the body, scientists break them down into two main
categories-"good" and "bad". Sometimes things like your
diet or other environmental factors can cause the "bad" bacteria to
overwhelm the "good", and probiotics help restore a natural, healthy
balance. Keep in mind that the goal is not to completely eliminate the "bad"
bacteria-our bodies have uses for them as well-but rather, it's to merely
reduce them to a level where they aren't causing unwanted side effects.
Probiotics are naturally
found in cultured or fermented foods, like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi;
however, due to their rising popularity, many food manufacturers add them to
other products as well.
The most common reason
people use probiotics is to promote digestive and immune health. The gut can be
a breeding ground for disease to start when not taken care of, so a healthy gut
many believe, can be helped by the use of good probiotics. Many people suffering
from a range of digestive issues have found success in using certain strains to
help manage their symptoms-especially products containing the bacteria Bifidobacterium
infantis. If you eat a diet that is mostly processed (which we don't
recommend), it will barely contain any good bacteria. So adding a healthy dose
of good bacteria makes all the sense.
Another common use for
probiotics is boosting the immune system. According to a recent study from New
Zealand published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport,
subjects were 40% less likely to develop colds or digestive infections when
they regularly took a probiotic supplement. While several strains showed
promise for promoting immune system health, the most beneficial were Saccharomyces
boulardii and Lactobacillus acidophilus. However, researchers warned
that people who already have a compromised immune system may not benefit from
these probiotics, and in fact, they may make their problems worse.
There are several
promising studies that have shown that probiotics can help acne sufferers to
decrease the intensity and even sometimes the frequency of their breakouts.
Scientists suspect that one of the reasons for this positive effect may be that
fact that an imbalance between your good and bad intestinal bacteria causes
inflammation. As the most prevailing inflammations may happen in joints and tendons,
skin is also not free of this danger.
It is important to note
however that skin inflammation does not cause acne breakouts. Inflammation may
however make the breakouts worse than they already are. It is also noted that
intestinal health plays an important role in maintaining healthy skin and
therefore also has an impact on acne. According to recent studies from
both Russia and Italy, subjects who drank a beverage infused with Lactobacillus
acidophilus for 12 weeks had markedly fewer whiteheads, blackheads, and
cysts than those who did not. In addition, there is early stage research being
conducted that is exploring how topical products containing probiotics can
perhaps help with controlling symptoms of acne (notice that we said,
controlling symptoms, not prevention).
If you're interested in
exploring the effects of probiotics on your acne there is one thing to keep in
mind-not all strains can potentially help in fighting your acne problems. So
far, only Lactobacillus has been shown to help controlling breakouts. So
- as a healthy GI system will help in maintaining an overall healthy body,
while focusing on acne, look for products that contain this specific strain.
Even with a regular
regimen of probiotics, you may still struggle with acne. While they can help
keep your body and skin healthy, the origin of your breakouts are actually much
more complex. One of the most common causes of acne is an imbalance in
your hormones-specifically the presence of too much androgen in the blood
stream. This imbalance can cause your sebaceous glands to overproduce an oily
substance known as sebum, which then clogs your pores and allows acne-causing
bacteria to flourish. Until this imbalance is addressed, it's likely that you
will continue to experience breakouts.
By now, it's obvious
that the only way to be truly free from acne is to alter the effect of your
hormones on your sebaceous glands. Products like AcnEase can do just that-not by directly manipulating
your hormone levels but by mitigating their effects on your skin. It's a safe,
effective, and natural solution to this internal problem. And
yes, you can safely take AcnEase with your choice of probiotics.
There's no doubt that
probiotics can play an important role in your acne treatment, but to see the
long-lasting results you really want, you'll need to address your breakouts at
their point of origin.
With a promise of clear