What I’m about to say probably goes against everything you’ve ever learned about how to care for your skin, but stick with me, I promise it’ll be worth it.
You should be putting bacteria on your face.
Before you freak, let me clarify. Yes, a lot of your most common, most annoying skin issues are caused by bacteria — acne, inflammation, etc. But these issue-causing bacteria are the “bad” kind and I’m talking about the “good” kind. So what’s the difference? And why do you need the latter? And how can you get ‘em onto your skin?
The aforementioned “good,” skin-friendly bacteria are known as probiotics, various strains of helpful, live bacteria that are naturally occurring on our skin and form everyone’s unique microbiome, the collection of trillions of helpful bacteria that fight infection, protect against environmental damages, regulate pH and keep skin hydrated and healthy.
Probiotics are also found internally and help with digestion, bloat, and a whole other host of equally annoying aches and pains. If you don’t already incorporate a daily probiotic or probiotic-rich food like yogurt, kefir, kombucha or kimchi or into your diet…what are you waiting for?! These powerful living organisms help everything run smoothly, fight illness and have been known to produce seriously magical side effects on skin since so many skin issues can be traced back to what’s going on internally (and if everything is chugging along in your gut, it’ll show on your face).
The good news is that everything you’ve heard about how well the gut responds to probiotics seems to be true for the skin as well. The way ingested probiotics help the good bacteria in your gut flourish? They do the same for your skin.
So what are the benefits of probiotic-infused skincare? First and foremost, they help get your microbiome to stay balanced or get back to fighting shape if you’ve ever thrown it out of whack with a too-harsh product or something that strips away oil or messes with your skin’s delicate pH. By manually replacing the lost bacteria, you speed up your microbiome’s ability to get back to doing its job. When your healthy bacteria is balanced, you’re far less likely to experience skin flare-ups and breakouts.
That extra bacteria also serves as an added layer of protection for your skin against that bad bacteria we all freaked out about earlier. Probiotics are basically the knights in shining armor of the bacteria world, riding in on their gorgeous horses (probiotic-infused skincare!) to produce natural antibiotics that fight off the bad bacteria that causes breakouts, inflammation and the like.
Additionally, a lot of skincare products are great at one thing — the thing they say they’re going to do. For example, that heavy-duty moisturizer you reach for mid-winter when your face feels like it’s about to fall off is great at protecting your skin. But chances are it’s not really improving your skin’s overall appearance, right? It’s sorta just keeping things at a health base level? Well, find yourself a probiotic moisturizer and you’ve suddenly got a product that not only hydrates but also imbues a general aura of “health” about your face because: bacteria.
It’s time to stop freaking out about bacteria — it’s not all created equally! And wouldn’t you know it, sometimes, it’s actually our skin’s friend.