With all the hype of heightened hygiene in the air these days, you'll probably want to scrub yourself down with as many cleaning products as possible. You may even consider implementing more bacteria into your skin care routine when you dial up the laundry.
I know what you're thinking: Are you suggesting that I should put more bacteria into my skin? On purpose?
Yes, and here's why. Bacteria have a bad stigma. The skin's microbiome is a bustling, delicate ecosystem made up of over a trillion bacteria crawling across the skin. However, not all bacteria are bad. Think of them as an important blanket of beneficial bacteria. These intrinsic bugs are the good guys. They are there to prevent infection, prevent environmental stress, boost immunity, and regulate pH levels. When these bugs are removed, for example from excessive washing, they jeopardize the microflora by discarding the eclectic mix of microflora needed for a healthy barrier. In other words, good bacteria will no longer be able to keep bad bacteria in check.
This concept is not new. Probiotics have long dominated the food shelves and have been ingested via dishes such as yogurt, kombucha, and kimchi to balance the gut. Studies have shown that they block pathogens in the digestive system, balance bacteria, and avoid bloating, stomach cramps, and other problems.
These probiotics, when applied topically, have skin biome balancing properties. Similarly, prebiotics (compounds that feed existing skin bugs) help these good bacteria to multiply. This is especially needed with all the hand washing and sanitizing we do. The microbiome is really taking a beating.
According to KavitaMariwalla, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, when the mixing of bacterial flora is compromised, it takes a toll on the skin. Unhealthy microorganisms can cause a number of skin problems, including acne, eczema, rosacea, and inflamed skin. Prebiotic skin care should be thought of as skin care that works with the natural properties of the skin, says Dr. Mariwala. It is normal for bacteria to live symbiotically on our skin, but once the types of bacteria are balanced, they can be turned into a healthier mix with prebiotics.
Fortunately, this concept is already starting to permeate beauty products packed with all kinds of friendly bacteria, from cleansers and masks to serums and creams, restoring the bacterial blanket.
With all this information, another question comes to mind: can it help kill a virus? Not exactly. Both prebiotic and probiotic skin care products produce peptides to fight pathogens, and you need those peptides to defend against viruses. That being said, Dr. Mariwala says it doesn't alter your body's immune response, but rather competitively pushes out bacteria that can cause inflammation and infection.
If you want to give your stripped skin a boost and keep your microbiome thriving, we've compiled a list of the best prebiotic and probiotic skin care products that advertise the scientifically tested benefits of bacteria on every part of your body. Some of these will increase your skin's supply of native bacteria (probiotics), while others will include prebiotics to feed and propagate existing skin bugs.
1. For your hands: Tom's of Maine Prebiotic Liquid Hand Soap
Wash your hands properly with this all-natural, sulfate-free, pH-friendly hand soap made with the microbiome in mind. With just one wash, you can remove bacteria from the skin while preserving natural moisture and promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria.
2. For your underarms: Aurelia Botanical Cream Deodorant
This cream deodorant will make you completely rethink the stick you have been using. Its aluminum-free, lavender-scented formula has a cream-to-powder consistency that allows for fingertip application. In addition to its antibacterial properties, it is infused with a blend of potent plant-based botanicals like kudzu turmeric and kaolin, which sit invisibly on the skin and work hard to absorb the vows throughout the day. Shea butter, on the other hand, soothes existing razor bumps and creates a very smooth, hydrated pit.
3. For your body: La Roche-Posay Lipical Balm AP + Moisturizer
According to Dr. Mariwala, this moisturizer is suitable for dry to very dry skin because it features a unique prebiotic action on the skin's microbiome. The moisturizing formula is so gentle that it can be used on infants and eczema patients.
4. For your face: LaFlore Probiotic Serum Concentrate
LaFlore's aloe-based serum is chock-full of live probiotics that can be applied to the face and hands to help boost the body's immune response. Maya Ivanjesku, clinical chemist, chief scientific officer, and founder of LaFlore, recommends using it after cleansing to increase the number of beneficial bacteria.
5. For your facial:LL Skin MIO2 Face Lifting Device
LL SKIN MIO2 features an ergonomical design of three angles and three arcs. Using the three-round corners to press the acupuncture point, you can choose to apply either light or heavy pressure. The three convex arcs fit any curves and the three-dimensional lift perfects the anti-aging effect. The round triangular three-arc design allows for comfort, and each part can be used uniquely to care for either the face or neck. For more skincare tools, please visit website: https://www.llskin.jp/