Are probiotics for skin care worth the hype?


Manufacturers of probiotics claim a host of benefits to our general health, but studies have shown more moderate ones from these ‘friendly bacteria’:

  • A reduction in diarrhea (infectious and associated with antibiotic use)
  • Certain probiotic strains help in mild to moderate ulcerative colitis (a type of inflammatory bowel disease) and possibly for bloating and gas in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Some strains help improve stool consistency and frequency of bowel movements in people with constipation
  • Probiotics have been linked to enhanced immune responses against colds and the flu but the research is inconsistent.

While considered safe overall there’s not a lot of solid evidence to recommend their widespread use. This doesn’t mean that probiotics aren’t beneficial, just that we need larger, longer and better studies to give them a firm thumbs up.

Probiotics and our Skin

Of late, you’ll notice an increasing number of probiotics for skin treatments in the market. Should you consider using them?

It’s first important to understand a bit about our skin. Our skin hosts a number of bacteria which live in harmony with us when our skin is healthy. When skin is compromised, however, these bacteria can become harmful, as occurs with acne. We can also acquire dangerous bacteria from the environment which can put us at risk from infection. Our normal skin bacteria along with a slightly acidic pH, sebum content, hydration and our skin’s barrier function helps to protect us from external bacteria.

Topically applied probiotics are live bacterial cultures that can influence the composition of skin bacteria. Through a fermentation process, probiotic bacteria produce acidic compounds like lactic acid, helping to maintain an acidic pH, which discourages the growth of most harmful bacteria. However, bacteria are not allowed in skin care! Cosmetics demand testing for bacteria and laws allow for only a few harmless bacteria and NO disease-causing bacteria. So when you see a skin care product advertised as a probiotic one, it most likely contains dead bacteria or extracts that are free from bacteria. You are paying for nothing!

Keep in mind as well, that cosmetic formulas are usually quite complex and contain a number of ingredients, including preservatives to discourage microbial growth. Even if a manufacturer did manage to get away with putting good bacteria into a topical formulation, preservatives that are effective would kill them. An alternative to probiotics in skin care are ‘prebiotics’, non-digestible plant-based carbohydrates that discourage the growth of harmful bacteria while preserving and encouraging the growth of beneficial ones. Prebiotics are easily incorporated into skincare products and make an excellent alternative to live bacteria. You can find prebiotics in our Daily Infusion Moisturizer.Daily-Infusion-Moisturizer-apothekari-skincare

Probiotics for skin care? More misguided marketing. Try a yoghurt mask instead!

★ Reviews

Let customers speak for us

48 reviews
Love, love, love!

I've only been using this serum for a couple of weeks and the difference in my skin is already noticeable. I have very sensitive skin and didn't have any irritation. I was able to use it daily from day 1. Love this product! It's going to be a staple in my arsenal from now on.

Works good but..

I have been using this deodorant for a couple weeks now and it works very well to keep door at bay. However it dries sticky and when I sweat it gets even more sticky. I will keep using fur a while to see if I can get past the sticky feeling, but not sure if I can. It’s too bad because it really does work.

Dear Sandy,

Thank you for your review. We're so pleased to hear that our deodorant is working very well for you! We're always happy to receive feedback from our customers as we try to improve our products. We will take your comment into consideration to improve the formulation. Thank you!

Customer Service

Terrible Rash

This worked for a few weeks and I started getting a painful red rash under my arms. I was about to purchase a set of 4 and I’m glad that I didn’t. I reached out to the company to inquire about what could have caused this as they claim to have products that don’t cause rashes. Of course no one ever replied. Will not purchase again

Dear Tara,

Thank you for your review. We're sorry to hear that you experienced a reaction to our deodorant. It's formulated to be irritation free (pH friendly ingredients and without baking soda). Very occasionally you may experience discomfort or tingling, especially after shaving or if you have sensitive skin.
We've checked our records and are unable to locate an email or call from you regarding this issue. We've tried reaching out via email but haven't heard back. We stand by all our products and offer a full money-back guarantee if you're not satisfied. Please get in touch with us and we will be happy to help resolve this issue.

Customer Service

Neroli Rose Natural Deodorant Roll-On
Jennifer C. (Princeton, US)
It works!

Happy to finally found a natural deodorant that actually works- worth every penny. Excited to try more scents, especially the lavender when it is back in stock.

Shea Body Butter
Jennifer C. (Princeton, US)
My new fave

This cream is my new fave. It's moisturizing without being greasy and absorbs well. The scent is crisp and clean without being overpowering. My husband and son have started using it and love it too! Might need another one to keep by the kitchen sink.

Price Based Country test mode enabled for testing Canada. You should do tests on private browsing mode. Browse in private with Firefox, Chrome and Safari