Probiotics Learning Lab Impartially created by the experts at OptiBac

An article published this weekend in the Sunday Times Style magazine explores the idea that mineral-rich water from thermal spring water possesses health boosting benefits for our skin. The word seems to be getting out to the general public about the benefits of probiotic bacteria, and we were really interested to see such a large publication writing about bacteria in one of their Sunday supplements.

Thermal Water

Thermal spring water may contain beneficial bacteria to boost skin health

Thermal spring water at La Roche-Posay, a small town in western France, has long been known to hold benefits for skin health; survivors from Napoleon’s North African campaign were sent there to help with severe skin conditions contracted in the Egyptian desert. Almost 50% of patients in France prescribed spa therapy due to skin diseases visit La Roche-Posay. A team from La Roche-Posay has published details about the effect of a recently discovered bacterium called Vitreoscilla filaformis (VF), a form that appears to thrive in the town’s natural springs. Dr Sophie Seite, scientific director at La Roche-Posay, has been credited for determining exactly what VF does; to get rid of the disease-associated Staphylococcus aureus (a well-known hospital superbug) by creating conditions where harmful bacteria cannot grow, as well as increasing beneficial bacteria diversity. These natural springs are rich in the mineral selenium, and it is believed that the bacteria thrive in this mineral rich environment.

Dr Sophie Seite says, “There are all sorts of bacteria whose growth is boosted by different types of minerals in spa water, and we are working out which are the most effective”.

Studies to date using VF-derived proteins in people with skin problems have shown positive results. Work is now underway involving the team from La Roche-Posay and dermatologists in order to determine how to rebalance colonies of bacteria in order to help reduce problems with sensitive and acne-prone skin. The area clearly requires more research, but we think the potential for harnessing health properties of spa water bacteria at this stage is intriguing. La Roche-Posay currently plans to add VF to their existing face cream in the coming months.

Staphylococcus Aureus

Benefical Vitreoscilla filaformis found in thermal water can eradicate harmful Staphylococcus aureus

Spa water has been known for its health benefits since Roman Times, but its popularity has waned somewhat in more recent years. Interestingly spa water was available on prescription from the NHS until the 1970’s. Perhaps this latest research into the bacterial benefits is the start of spa water revival, and of it coming back into fashion.

You can read more about the potential effects of bacteria found in unusual places here.

Image Source:

Reference: Mahe, YF, Perez MJ, Tacheau C, Fanchon C, Martin R, Rousset F & Seite S. A new Vitreoscilla filiformis extract grown on spa water-enriched medium activates endogenous cutaneous antioxidant and antimicrobial defenses through a potential Toll-like receptor 2/protein kinase C, zeta transduction pathway. Journal: Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology. Volume 2013:6, pp 191-196.


  • I have been trying La Roche Posay Lipikar Baume for a few weeks to try to resolve the steroid rebound my daughter gets. Her eczema is so severe we have to cover her in strong steroid every 3 days. It clears up quickly but 3 days without steroid and she flares all over. I have been using the Lipikar on her body and another cream on her arms and legs.
    She is now 12 days without using steroid and her body is completely clear of eczema. The arms and legs are covered in eczema and have required steroid to get it back under control. So Lipikar to me is a miracle cream or at least it would be except for one big drawback. It stings so much that she fights me whenever I apply it. The sting only last about 30 seconds so I persevere because the results are so good. Many other eczema parents have given up on this cream because it stings their children. Some however seem not to be affected.
    Do you know of any other products containing Vitreoscilla Filliformis that have less preservatives in (This is what usually causes the sting).
    Many Thanks

  • Probiotics Learning Lab

    Hi Martin,

    Thank you for your comment, and so sorry to hear that your daughter is suffering with such distressing eczema symptoms.
    Have you considered trying your daughter on oral probiotics? Skin ailments can often be an indication of gut dysbiosis and often respond well to probiotic supplements - see our information page on this <a href="/live-cultures/articles/probiotics-and-eczema">here</a>.

    Wishing you the best of health,

  • I suffer from migraine, severe constipation and rosasce. I think they are all connected. Do you have an opinion on this? Peta

  • Probiotics Learning Lab

    Hi Peta,

    Thanks for your question.
    It's is becoming increasingly well-documented that gut health may be a factor in a variety of health conditions.
    We have covered the subject of probiotics and skin conditions, amongst other things, in our Frequently Asked Questions section.

    Do take a look - you'll find lots of useful information there about probiotics.

    Best wishes,

    Kerry Beeson BSc. (Nut. Med.) Nutritional Therapist

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