Probiotics. You’d have to have been living in a bad-bacteria-infested cave not to have heard about their benefits for your gut, and overall wellbeing. Found in fermented foods and drinks like yoghurt, tempeh, kombucha and that Korean all-star kimchi, probiotics are live microorganisms or ‘good bacteria’ that ease digestive discomfort, help with nutrient absorption, and generally boost our immune systems.
So, like good little monkeys we’re stuffing ourselves silly with pickles and shotting Yakult (no? Just me?) because the nutritionists told us to. But should we also be saving our left overs and making a miso mask, a kombucha kompress, a sauerkraut serum?
Yup, fermentation-mania has spread from the kitchen to the beauty salon, with probiotic skincare set to be one of the hottest beauty trends of 2016. According to Belinda Duncan, Educator at Beauty EDU, probiotics have significant benefits for the skin, both when consumed and applied topically.
The hype in Western cultures may be quite recent, but those Korean minxes have long been benefiting from fermented ingredients in their skincare prods. And when it comes to beauty, where Korea goes, we follow.
“Probiotics (in skincare) work by helping the skin regain its natural pH balance, much like they do for your gut by neutralising and removing toxins,” says Belinda.
“Essentially they trick the skin into focusing on the good bacteria and not the the bad bacteria that increases inflammation in the skin, and therefore inflammatory skin disorders such as rosacea, acne and eczema can be greatly improved. Probiotics have been proven to reduce redness and skin irritation and may also reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by improving hydration and elasticity.”
And while all the beauty big guns are wheeling out formulations containing probiotics, you can get into the fermentation face party at home, just by looking in the fridge. “Live cultures in yoghurts can be directly applied to the face and can double up as a probiotic and an exfoliant due to the lactic acid which helps to soothe, smooth, brighten and banish acne without stripping moisture” says Belinda.
“Brands such as Tula and Eminence are leading the market in offering topical skincare products containing probiotics. By eating and applying ‘good bacteria’ you will reap the benefits of a balanced, more healthy and radiant skin!”
Need more face-based inspo? Check out our '2 minute face' interview with Lara Worthington.