In-short

As a health professional you are probably already aware that acne and spots are caused by toxins in the body. Acne-causing toxins can build up due to factors such as air pollution, overactive hormones, and largely, from dysbiosis.

'Dysbiosis' describes an imbalance of good (probiotic) and bad (pathogenic) bacteria in the gut, and is caused by various environmental factors including stress, and prolonged antibiotic therapy. Symptoms of dysbiosis include low energy levels, Candida overgrowth, sluggish bowels, indigestion, and acne. Learn more about dysbiosis here.

Although evidence remains relatively sparse on the matter of probiotics and skin health, higher levels of probiotics such as acidophilus should a) decrease the body's production of toxins by improving digestion, as well as b) helping to neutralise the toxins which are already present in the system. Whether for an ongoing acne problem or the occasional spot, supplementing the body's levels of good bacteria (probiotics) could therefore have a beneficial long-term effect on skin health.

In-depth

A comprehensive review written by W. Bowe & A. Logan and published in 20111 examined the link between acne, probiotics, the brain and the gut. This review referred to studies that showed probiotics and prebiotics to reduce systemic markers of inflammation and oxidative stress, as well as the ability of probiotics to regulate the release of inflammatory cytokines within the skin, and in particular reducing interleukin-1 alpha (IL-1-α), a protein linked to acne when found in unusually normal amounts. Reports2,3 have also shown probiotic lactic acid bacteria to provide antimicrobial activity against Propionibacterium acnes (a bacteria causing acne) under in vitro conditions. Bowe & Logan's conclusion states, 'there appears to be more than enough supportive evidence to suggest that gut microbes, and the integrity of the gastrointestinal tract itself, are contributing factors in the acne process', strongly supporting the theory that a healthy gut leads to healthy skin.

I seem to get spots when I'm stressed!

If you are hearing this from from patients and clients it might be worth explaining the that gut - skin connection is multi-fold. This can simply be about impaired digestion with a lack of necessary nutrients being available to your skin. This can, as mentioned be to do with a detoxification issue which is linked to dysbiosis of the gut flora. However the link between the gut - brain - skin is also a strong one4. The nervous system is embedded in the gut wall so acute or chronic stress has far reaching effects on the digestive system such as stress induced changes in gut motility, gastric secretion, and mucosal permeability and barrier function amongst other things5. There is also research to suggest that the gut micobiota responds to stress-related host signals. All in all this can lead to inflammation and gut permeability which then in turns increases the chances of systemic and local skin eruptions. However, on the flip side, there is growing evidence to link probiotics with a decrease in stress, anxiety and depression by reducing inflammation, increasing tryptophan levels and normalising brain neurotransmitters. Read more about this here.

Taking a high strength probiotic should provide the fastest and more effective result. See our premium daily probiotic, 'For every day EXTRA Strength' (formerly known as 'For daily wellbeing EXTRA Strength'). Another option from our range is 'For every day MAX', containing 50 billion live cultures.

Its not only those in the world of health and nutrition who are getting excited about probiotics for skin health. The world of fashion and beauty is raving about it too. In fact Gisele's make up artists are recommending probiotics for glowing skin. As quoted in a New York magazine:

'Whatever is going on in your gut shows on your face. You want to know how to cure acne? Probiotics by the megadose! I met a girl at ABC Kitchen and she had acne all over her face. Somehow it came up that I was a makeup artist and I told her these probiotics to get. She wrote me the other day, saying, 'Oh my God, you've saved my life. My skin is a million times better. There's hardly anything left'. But I told her that you've got to take mega doses; you've got to fix that whole intestinal tract.'

Well known beauty bloggers are also now trying and reviewing probiotics and all love the results:

'The main positive outcome I have actually seen from taking these probiotics is that my skin has appeared much healthier! I have even had people compliment the fact that my skin appears more even and much healthier than it has been!'
be-you-tifulbeautyblog

The proof is in our customer reviews!


Further Reading

To find out more about the link between probiotics and skin health and indeed stress read:

Could bacteria in water hold the secret to perfect skin?

Probiotics for eczema? More experts back friendly bacteria over steroids

Mail on Sunday's You magazine features us for stress

Psychobiotics. Just a fad? Or here to stay?

Probiotics & Eczema by Dr Georges Mouton

Sources:

1. Whitney P Bowe & Alan C Logan, Acne vulgaris, probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis - back to the future? Gut Pathogens, Vol 3, No. 1, 1, DOI: 10.1186/1757-4749-3-1

2. Al-Ghazzewi FH, Tester RF: Effect of Konjac glucommanan hydrolysates and probiotics on the growth of the skin bacterium Propionibacterium acnes in vitro. Int J cosmet Sci 2010, 32:139-42

3. Kang BS, Seo JG, Lee GS, Kim JH, Kim SY, Han YW, et al: Antimicrobial activity of enterocins from Enterococcus faecalis SL-5 against Propionibacterium acnes, the causative agent in acne vulgaris, and its therapeutic effect. J Microbiol 2009, 47:101-9

4. W Bowe and A Logan (2011) Acne vulgaris, probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis - back to the future? Gut Pathogens 2011, 3:1

5. PC Konturek, T Brrzozowski, SJ Konturek (2011)Stress and the Gut: Pathophysiology, clinical consequences, diagnositic approach and treatment options Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, 62, 6, 591-599