Do probiotics heal ailing skin?
In fact a lot of studies were done to test the effectiveness of probiotic supplementation to treat or prevent Eczema like Atopic Dermatitis (AD), which means skin allergy in a simple term. According to National Eczema Association that the quest in finding solutions to skin problems are still very much progressing. The past studies showed different results among children with eczema who were given probiotics orally. However, most of the clinical trials slightly but not significantly favors treatment of Atopic Dermatitis or Eczema. That clinical studies done since 2008, 2010 and 2012 respectively are still continuously evaluated until they’ll come up with the much significant outcomes.
According to scientist Markus Lehtinen,PhD of HOWARU probiotic culture, that majority of our immune cells reside in our gut and confer remarkable anti-inflammation or anti-oxidant effects thereby influencing cascades or chain reactions throughout the body to have healthy immune system. He added that the skin is an immunological organ and being influenced by the immune system balance.
In Korea, a recent study done by Kyung Hee University researchers, which showed handful of successes using probiotics in acne patients. They used 56 acne patients and were given Lactobacillus-fermented drinks or placebo for 12 weeks. They noticed significant effects in terms of skin lesions based on acne grade and oil/sebum accumulation around the acne sites among patients in the probiotic drink groups compared to placebo. To make the study more convincing, they crossed study them by adding Lactoferrin (anti inflammatory milk protein) to the probiotic drink group. The result? Better improvement in the skin lesion and in oil/sebum production. This study supports that probiotics can have a potential effects in acne management.
Recently, experts on probiotics and different medical field experts proposed to increase supplementation of 40-50 billion CFu/d probiotics and mentioned the strains that really work in the inflammatory response on the skin like Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium lactis and Lactobacillus acidophilus probiotics in single or multi-strain formulations currently hold the most promise for prevention and treatment of eczema like atopic dermatitis.
What if you put the probiotics on the skin?
Skin is the largest organ in the human body. This is also a part of the immune system that protects us from harmful effects of bacteria. The skin is our first line barrier against diseases.
There are discussions regarding the application of probiotics on the skin. Since the skin environment is far different from the gut, then how can good bacteria live and grow in a low moisture level, different temperature and substrate conditions on the skin?
Some experts said that means of treatment through skin or topical route would defunct the international meaning of probiotics which is “a live microorganism that when administered in adequate amounts consumed, confers a health benefit”. Providing the nature of skin those probiotics are unlikely to survive.
However, due to this conflict, one of the leading probiotic nutriceutical companies studied and tested their patented probiotic strain (Lactobacillus coagulans, GBI-30,6086) for skin care purpose. Instead of using live microorganisms directly on the skin, they made used of Lactobacillus coagulans fermentation byproducts to rejuvenate skin. These byproducts include lactic acid, bacteriocins, enzymes and other important substances to help rebuild skin immune response to infections or inflammations. These substances are now being used as main ingredients in lotions, soaps and creams. Instead of calling them probiotic skin care products, they preferred calling them probiotic-derived skin care products just to remove confusion to the international meaning of probiotics.
According to Dr. Whitney Bowe, a renowned New York-based dermatologist, “There are actually specific probiotics strains that have been shown to promote ceramide production, which are healthy lipids naturally found in skin that trap moisture and strengthens the skin barrier”, she added, “There is a lot of science emerging that certain strains taken orally and applied topically can hydrate the skin.” This means that probiotics can still be applied directly on the skin for the purpose of ceramide production that only requires 15 minutes and do not need probiotics to stay or survive on the skin for a long time. This ceremide production experiment was done by researchers from University of L’Aguila in Italy using Streptococcus thermophilus.
Lastly, even though their are still no claim for the cure of eczema, I think there is no harm in trying those studied and tested probiotics whether we take them oral or topically.
And one more point, remember that stress is playing a big part on the allergic process especially in eczema. This was proven by the Gut-Brain-Skin Axis Theory proposed by dermatologists John Stokes and Donald Pillsbury on 1930. They studied the relationship of having emotional stress and poor gut or digestive health resulting to a poor skin health.
Stay stress free as possible and take probiotics orally and topically.
Life is probiotics!
Your friend in health,
Please read my report on Topical Probiotics and how I personally manage my eczema.