By now, most of us have a solid grasp of the power of probiotics. We know the good-for-you bacteria’s role in a healthy gut (the key to everything from effective digestion to a better mood), but in recent years, the ingredient has become a verified skincare staple. Probiotics’ rise to topical popularity makes sense—just like the good bacteria in your body prevent bad bacteria from causing inflammation and other gastrointestinal issues, probiotic skincare works with our face’s natural bacteria to create an environment that allows cells to flourish. The result: a calmer, more radiant complexion that may also be less prone to acne.
But despite buzzy, bacteria-filled brands like Tula and Vintner’s Daughter regularly topping beauty editors’ lists, incorporating a brand new kind of product into your daily skincare ritual can be a daunting task. That’s why we turned to Kasey Boone, Los Angeles-based esthetician and owner of Glow Skincare Studio (and the Skin and the City beauty podcast host). With more than 15 years of experience in the beauty industry (and a loyal clientele that includes Katherine Schwarzenegger), she recommends probiotic skincare for even the most sensitive skin types.
First, what exactly is probiotic skincare?
Probiotic skincare products include live cultures of “good bacteria” that help strengthen and regulate the skin’s natural barrier.
Most people think of gut health when they think of probiotics. How are they related to skin health?
Topical probiotics can fend off free radicals and bad bacteria for your skin’s microbiome (the ecosystem of bacteria on your skin’s surface) the same way they help protect and your gut. “Probiotics are great for the gut, but as we are seeing a rising trend of probiotics in skincare,” Boone says.
What are the benefits of mixing probiotic skincare products into your routine?
Probiotic skincare has been known to help calm our complexions and keep acne-causing bacteria at bay. Boone explains the technical details, “Probiotics can help with the production of fats also known as lipids that can help trap moisture in the skin and bring balance to the skin’s overall tone and texture.”
Is there a skin type that wouldn’t be a candidate for probiotic skincare?
In Boone’s experience, adding probiotics to your daily ritual can be beneficial for even the most sensitive skin type types.
Why do you think probiotic skincare (and the focus on our skin’s microbiome) has become so popular recently?
Thanks to the 20-step routine in some cases which includes over-exfoliation, deep peels, and lasers, our skin barrier has been compromised—now it’s time to recoup and recover. “While those treatments are great in moderation, so many consumers were honestly just overdoing it,” Boone says. Now she believes skincare trends are headed in a different direction. Instead of stripping things away, they’re more about adding healthy ingredients, like probiotics, to the skin and fostering our skin’s microbiome.
Scroll on for some of the buzziest products to boost our skincare routines right now, and Boone’s thoughts on the probiotic skincare she swears by.
Why we recommend it: This lightweight serum is great to use on a daily basis. It helps balance your complexion and boost your skin’s barrier function. Infused with hydrating Aloe vera and moisture-locking prebiotic and probiotic ingredients.
Why we recommend it: The biggest culprit in stripping our skin of its best bacteria: cleansers. Give the hero of your nighttime ritual a probiotic overhaul with Tula’s popular, gel-based facial cleanser, which is packed with probiotic extracts, prebiotics, and turmeric.
Why we recommend it: I am not typically a sheet mask type of esthetician, but I love using these at home and in the treatment room, especially after a long day in the sun or when my client’s skin needs a little pick me up. This sheet mask has pre-and probiotics to strengthen the skin’s barrier for smoother, softer skin. Glow-Tip: use a Glow Skincare Cold Roller or jade roller over your sheet mask for deeper penetration and cooling effect. Use one to two times a week.
Why we recommend it: Just looking at this deep green gel leaves us feeling instantly soothed. Its effect on the skin is blessedly similar. The hydrating moisturizer is infused with probiotics to soothe and balance the skin, while sustainable squalane oil helps keep your skin hydrated and dewy.
Why we recommend it: I am obsessed with these facial pads, which use tri-enzyme technology and a probiotic formula. These pads will gently resurface and help brighten the skin while still supporting the skin barrier function. Use two or three times a week.
Why we recommend it: Your makeup routine could also use a probiotic boost. A few drops of Ren’s soothing primer create a healthy, balanced microbiome to set your skin (and your makeup) up for glowing success.
Why we recommend it: In addition to a bacteria-filled supplement you can ingest, much-loved organic brand Juice Beauty recently introduced a collection of prebiotic-packed products with your skin’s microbiome specifically in mind. This feather-light vegan moisturizer soaks right in to deliver the good stuff.
Why we recommend it: This vitamin B powder with yogurt cultures adds the perfect probiotic boost to any moisturizer or serum to help balance the look of your skin. This one is great to use daily.
Why we recommend it: Leave it to Tom’s of Maine to be ahead of the curve in the clean skincare department (the brand has been touting the benefits of natural deodorant for decades). Their prebiotic-packed cleansing bar helps protect the skin’s natural moisture and lets you dip your toe in the good bacteria department at an accessible price point.
Why we recommend it: A luxe Face Haus facial first got us hooked on Éminence, the organic skincare brand that uses sustainable farming to create products that are beautifully handmade (and smell incredible). Their best-selling moisturizer has been known to work wonders in the fight against acne, arguably one of the greatest side effects of investing in probiotic skincare.