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We rely on them so heavily for boosting our gut health (we see you, yogurt, kombucha and smoothie supplements), but haven’t always appreciated bacteria for its incredible powers in keeping our skin barrier in tip top shape. In order to achieve calm, clear and glowy skin for all, the war on all bacteria needs to end. Let’s get into the benefits of good bacteria in (and on!) our skin, and the pre- and probiotic-infused skincare keeping us in good skin health.
THERE ARE MORE THAN ONE TRILLION BACTERIA LIVING IN AND ON YOUR SKIN
Although the concept sounds alien, it’s true. These essential, microscopic bugs exist to fight infections, prevent environmental damage, regulate your skin’s pH levels, and keep it looking its plump and dewy best. They’re intrinsically linked to the bacteria lining our intestines, too, which is why a certain food or infection can set off our skin, or a diet filled with fermented, probiotic-rich foods like kombucha, kefir, kimchi and kraut (or as I like to call them, the Kardashians of gut health) has been said to boost your glow from the inside-out.
These bacteria make up something called your microbiome, the collective name for the trillions of microorganisms on and in you. According to pharmacist and Gallinée founder Marie Drago, whose products are powered by a patented complex of prebiotics, probiotics and lactic acid, designed to nourish the skin’s good bacteria, “your microbiome becomes quite stable after the first three years of your life,” which is when “where you live, what you eat, if you’ve got pets, if you go on antibiotics,” will form your key differences.
“Then on a day to day basis, your geographical location plays a part,” she says. “Every time you eat something new your gut microbiome is going to evolve, and every time you time you wash, your skin your microbiome is going to evolve.”
To detract from the visual of trillions of bugs crawling through your skin, think of them as your own personal skin security guards, warding off the party poopers and gate crashers (also known as bad bacteria) at your never-ending skin party.
READ MORE: Why healthy bacteria is the secret to happy skin
BACTERIA-BOOSTING SKINCARE FEELS A LITTLE REBELLIOUS
Bacteria needs a new publicist, as it seems their current one has given them a bad rep. For so long we’ve tried to kill all bacteria when in fact, we’ve been killing the good stuff too, damaging the glorious microbiome that protects the skin barrier and ensures our skin is clear and glowy. That’s why we’re all about feeding it with nourishing pre- and probiotics, found poignantly in products like Gallinée’s “double-patented” Face Vinegar, a toner designed to replenish the microbiome post-cleanse, Lancôme’s Advanced Génifique Serum, designed to boost radiance and skin health and the Korres Greek Yoghurt Probiotic Superdose Face Mask, which immediately calms and rebalances stressed skin.
According to Drago “we’ve become a bit too clean, and in medicine, they relate that to what is called the hygiene hypothesis.” She continued; “our cleanliness obsession can damage our natural bacteria and that’s why we see so many inflammatory diseases popping up everywhere, especially things like food allergies. Clean is nice but you don’t need to be sterile all over—you don’t have to strip everything living on your skin.”
We’re unlearning the idea that bacteria-equals-bad, and learning that there’s a good, protective kind, as well as the more infamous bad kind. Loading up your skin with bacteria feels naughty, but does so much good, and can be as simple as opting for a prebiotic-rich daily moisturiser like that of Juice Beauty’s Prebiotix™ Hydrating Gel Moisturiser.
THEY’RE GAME-CHANGING FOR SENSITIVE SKIN
The root cause of skin sensitivity and irritation often comes down to a weak or damaged skin barrier, which, if you’re lucky, can show up as mild dryness, and if you’re not so lucky, as eczema, rosacea flares, psoriasis and dandruff. By cooling it on the harsh actives and nourishing your skin with pre and probiotics, you’re giving skin the chance to heal by encouraging the production of healthy, protective bacteria. Gallinée’s Youthful Serum is a winner for everyday balancing, and Glam Glow’s Berryglow Probiotic Recovery Mask is an incredibly soothing moisture treatment when you need it most.
If you experience inherent dryness and irritation—not just dehydration—a healthy dose of pre- and probiotics, inside and out, should be your first port of call for radiant, balanced and most importantly, stronger skin.
READ MORE: Got milk? The nourishing ingredient your skin will drink up
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