Increasing research on the impact of digestion on our immune system has led to important findings about our largest organ, the skin. From anti-inflammatory action to regeneration, the bacteria we bring in or on the body have a great impact on our health and beauty. The researchers say that probiotics are not only good for the digestive system but also nourish the skin. Therefore, you should use probiotics for skin care.
Our bodies are covered with swarms of microscopically tiny bacteria, which may sound undesirable or even dangerous, but some of these tiny germs are beneficial and work to our advantage. They play an important role in many functions of the body from regulating digestion to affecting mood, and now scientists are discovering how these microorganisms affect skin health.
According to the latest information, bacteria found in the gut and skin have a positive effect on various skin problems, such as rosacea and psoriasis, and can also slow down aging.
Bacteria are part of our microbiome. It is a community of living beings that reside within and across us. 99 percent of them are in the gut. Our gut microbiome weighs up to two pounds and contains, no less no more, 100 trillion bacteria. Most of the bacteria in our gut is harmless, even beneficial. The germ community breaks down undigested foods, supplies our gut with energy, produces vitamins, breaks down poisons or medicines, and exercises our immune system.
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Redness and acne
A complex community of bacteria in the gut is essential for the optimal functioning of the immune system and indirectly for skin health. According to the theory of connection, there is a so-called gut-brain-skin axis. As result stress alone or stress in combination with processed foods and a diet devoid of fiber slows digestion, causes a change in the microbiome and the accumulation of harmful bacteria in the gut. The bacteria, in this case, can go from the gut to the bloodstream and cause inflammatory processes that are visible on the skin in the form of redness or acne. In contrast, probiotics, good bacteria, have a positive effect on immune cells, and strong immunity protects all organs, including our largest, skin.
The interaction of certain gut bacteria and our genes can make the skin more oily or dry, or more prone to acne. Likewise, all skin allergies, research has shown, can be alleviated by good bacteria.
Can their potent action extend to rejuvenation? According to The British Journal of Dermatology, 2010, good bacteria, used both orally and locally, can greatly affect the appearance of the skin. They can help the gut to eliminate toxins and free radicals that damage the skin and cause premature aging. They can also improve the protective barrier of the skin microbiome, which protects us from harmful, bad bacteria, as well as free radicals and pollution, elements that accelerate the aging process. Also, they help keep skin optimally hydrated, making wrinkles less visible.
Probiotic preparations have a positive effect on maintaining microbiological balance in the gut and have a beneficial effect on the general condition of the body and skin.
The development of specific bacterial strains for specific problems is only in its infancy. Therefore probiotic supplements need to be tried on a trial-and-error basis until we find those whose combination works best for us. If after four weeks, with regular consumption of a certain dietary supplement, you do not notice any changes, try another one, with other types of bacteria. Look for those with 20 to 50 million living organisms in a single dose and combining different strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria. It should be noted that the effect of probiotics is limited as soon as you stop taking them daily, they usually quickly disappear from the gut again.
In addition to dietary supplements, probiotic bacteria are also found in certain foods. Therefore, eat more yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, cucumbers, cheese, olives, miso soups, soy sauces.
There are also certain foods that can stimulate the progress of good bacteria. These are prebiotics which, to put it simply, are foods intended for probiotics. Prebiotics are non-degradable components of foods that promote the growth and activity of good gut bacteria. These are mostly fibers from fruits and vegetables that are not absorbed in the small intestine but “intact” and reach the colon, where they serve as food for good bacteria.
Prebiotic foods include cold cooked potatoes, cold cooked rice (eg sushi), bananas, sauerkraut, garlic, onions, artichokes, asparagus, chicory, leeks, chickpeas, endive, barley, rye, oats… Although these are all common foods, we rarely eat enough prebiotics. Of the 30 grams of ballast we should consume on a daily basis, most Europeans get somewhere in half. It is so little that a fierce fight by competitors can occur in the gut and harmful bacteria can prevail. Hence to avoid this, find your favorite prebiotic dish and eat it as often as possible.
The future of cosmetics
Although we mainly associate prebiotics and probiotics with food and supplements, colonies of beneficial bacteria have recently moved into cosmetic products. This is because experts estimate that they can have a very beneficial effect on the skin, not only through the digestive tract, but also through topical application through creams.
The beneficial effects of probiotics on the skin have long been noticed. When a Japanese dairy probiotic drink was marketed in glass bottles, women who washed the bottles noticed, after years of working, that their skin looked better than other women’s. Similarly, there is a story related to the experience of women in Greece, the homeland of Greek yogurt. Women who used to make cheese and yogurt themselves had softer and finer skin.
Probiotics stimulate the immune system of the skin and help preserve its moisture, which ultimately slows its aging. However, when many cosmetics are on the market today, home remedies are no better than those purchased. Probiotics for skin care in a yogurt mask from homework do not work the same as those from cosmetics because creams contain special strains of bacteria that are not identical to those in yogurt. In addition, probiotics in creams work in deeper layers of the skin, not just on the surface.
As new research shows, the more diverse the skin bacteria community, the more effective the natural shield and the lower the risk of inflammation and sensitivity. In other words, deficiency of bacteria or impaired balance of the microbiome of the skin can result in sensitivity, acne or inflammatory disorders. On the face, most bacteria live on the forehead, eyelids, nostrils and chin. Bacteria prefer wetter and greasy body parts, which is why dry skin has less bacteria, but skin has a higher risk of being sensitive.
Bacteria on the skin protect us from the bad ones and from direct contact with the allergens. Also, they indirectly stimulate the process of scar healing. The skin microbiome boosts the immune system to produce the antibodies we need in the healing process by “cleansing” the damage by destroying all the bad bacteria. In addition, the skin microbiome is anti-allergic. One of the main causes of allergies is the porosity of the protective layer of the skin. As a result, this causes the allergens to penetrate the epidermis. To prevent this from happening, the bacterial layer on our skin forms the first line of defense. Therefore, it reduces the direct contact of the allergen and our immune system.
When the microbiome of the skin is balanced, it can prevent the presence of bad bacteria and then there is no need for an immune reaction while, on the other hand, the damaged skin flora seems to invite the onset of bad bacteria, which triggers immunity, which then responds to inflammatory processes. This often happens to sensitive skin, not because of the presence of specific pathogens or an unbalanced amount of bacteria, but because such skin lacks certain bacteria.