In skin care there is always a new buzzy ingredient on the scene – but it is always interesting to see which products and ingredients become mainstays in our beauty regimens, and whether such ingredients *actually* live up to the hype. One such ingredient (or maybe ingredients) currently making waves is prebiotics and probiotics. We caught up with Carla Oates, founder of The Beauty Chef to learn everything from what they actually are, to whether we need them in our skincare.
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What are prebiotics and probiotics?
“Probiotics are the live, beneficial bacteria that we can consume either through food or supplements, they help to keep our gut happy and healthy, as well as supporting our immunity and overall well being,” explains Carla. Prebiotics are “the non-digestible plant fibres that ‘feed’ the beneficial probiotic bacteria in the gut…they resist digestion…and help encourage the [growth] of beneficial flora.”
Why do we need them?
“Essentially, we need both prebiotics and probiotics to maintain a healthy belly. The key is ensuring there is a good balance and diversity in the gut. The two work synergistically to support gut health,” she says.
So, what do they do for your skin?
“It doesn’t sound very glamorous,” says Carla, “but the gut is truly where the seeds for good health, well being and beautiful skin are planted, so it’s important to nourish your gut if your goal is to improve your skin’s appearance.”
“Prebiotics and probiotics are both key to this process and essential for optimal health, as well as beautiful skin.” As Carla explains, pre and probiotics work with digestive enzymes to reduce gut inflammation. Gut inflammation, by extension results in skin inflammation and “people with a healthier, more diverse, more robust microbiome also have a healthier fatty acid profile in their skin, meaning [it] is more hydrated, plump and moist.”
“Your gut is where 70% of your immune system lies,” says Carla. “[It’s] where we make nutrients, detoxifying enzymes, neutralise pathogens, metabolise hormones…these are processes and actions that can profoundly affect the skin. We know that beneficial bacteria in our gut digest the fibre we eat and produce short chain fatty acids which are important for immune, metabolic brain and skin health.”
How do you fit prebiotics and probiotics into our routine?
Ingesting them and applying them topically are optimal for your best skin. “The reason why probiotics can be so beneficial when applied topically is that our skin (like our gut) has its very own microbiome which acts [as] our first line of defence against pathogens. Probiotic products, therefore, help to bolster the skin’s protective barrier,” she says. When applied topically it also has the potential to refine the complexion, synthesize collagen and boost skin cell turnover, explains Carla.
What kind of pre and probiotic products are actually available?
When it comes to integrating prebiotics and probiotics into your routine there are more products than ever to suit your lifestyle.
To ingest, bh loves: The Beauty Chef Glow Powder, find it at the thebeautychef.com
To cleanse, bh loves:Elizabeth Arden Superstart Probiotic Cleanser Whip to Clay
To tone, bh loves: The Beauty Chef Probiotic Skin Refiner, find it at thebeautychef.com
To treat, bh loves: Gallinée Youthful Serum, find it at mecca.com.au
To mask, bh loves: Lancome Advanced Genifique Hydrogel Melting Mask
To moisturise, bh loves:Andalou Probiotic + C Renewal Cream
“It’s important to remember that your gut and skin are intimately linked and in constant conversation with one another,” says Carla. “In fact, your skin is a great barometer for what’s going on inside your body and if you have skin issues or are suffering from skin inflammation, such as acne, it’s likely there is an imbalance in your gut.” As a result, people are becoming more aware of the importance of taking care of all aspects of their health, “consumers are turning to more natural remedies…for their health, beauty and wellbeing,” explains Carla. Despite prebiotics and probiotics being the buzzword in health and beauty right now, this aspect of holistic health is here to stay.
Carla notes, however, that while everyone can benefit from pre and probiotics, if you have an imbalance of bacteria, an infection, parasite or yeast overgrowth, ingesting high doses of prebiotics and probiotics can actually make things worse. Her recommendation is to consult a health practitioner to heal your gut “before you seed it with probiotic bacteria or feed it with prebiotics.”
Main image credit @hoskelsa
Had you heard of prebiotics and probiotics before now? Would you consider integratingthem into your beautyroutine?