By now, most of us will have heard of prebiotics, probiotics, maybe even postbiotics in skincare, but what's all the fuss about really, is it another marketing ploy to get you spending your hard earned cash? Darl’ is here to settle the score.
Let's lay the groundwork; healthy, radiant skin relies on some fundamentals; one of which is having a robust skin barrier. When the skin barrier is not doing its job, common issues such as sensitive/ irritated skin, dry skin, dermatitis, acne and breakouts may present.
The other fundamental for optimally healthy skin is harnessing a healthy and diverse microbiome.
But what is the microbiome? The microbiome is the name given to the resident populations of trillions of bacteria, yeasts, fungi & viruses that live on the skin - and it is absolutely vital for a radiant, glowing complexion.
As you would imagine, managing this wild population isn’t necessarily that easy, especially given that sunlight, preservative rich skincare, temperature changes, medications, sweat and even stress can upset the delicate supportive balance of bacteria on the skin.
Unlike the gut that offers an almost ideal environment for the growth of bacteria, the skin is a vast expanse of inhospitable territory. The skin microbiome is more vulnerable to being undermined on a daily if not hourly basis.
Most of the microorganisms that inhabit the skin are commensal (harmless and indeed supportive) however when the less supportive - spot causing or immune triggering microbes are able to take hold, that's when we start to see the negative effects of a disturbed microbiome.
When the microbiome is restored to full health the skin becomes less sensitive, we see fewer breakouts, maintaining hydration becomes easier and the skin becomes more resilient to external stressors.
So what’s the difference between pre, pro and post-biotics?
Prebiotics are specialised plant fibre that act as a food source to the live probiotic bacteria. Found in fruits, vegetables and grains including oats, rice, soy and mushrooms, they help good bacteria thrive – while inhibiting the growth of bad bacteria. Prebiotic ingredients are stable in skincare and enhance the proliferation of a healthy skin microbiome.
Probiotics are the beneficial live microorganisms that live on the skin. Their role is to keep harmful bacteria from breaching the skin barrier, which can cause inflammation, breakouts and dermatitis flare-ups. Probiotics are unstable when formulated in skincare; as live-bacteria, when these ingredients face preservatives, temperature or pH changes they are likely to die off and pose therefore no benefit to the microbiome whatsoever.
Postbiotics are bioactive compounds that the probiotic bacteria naturally produce. Postbiotics have been reported to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory action, besides promoting a more a diverse and balanced microbiome.
What does Darl’ have to say about all this? At Darl’ we believe that prebiotics are the most cost effective, efficacious and proactive way to boost your microbiome. Rather than spending your money on topical probiotics- that may or not work (remember these are live bacteria so when packaged their viability is questionable). Or postbiotics- that are a byproduct of a healthy microbiome (get your microbiome in shape and you’re making these for yourself).
If you support the microbiome with prebiotics you have a snowball effect of healthy skin optimising factors taking place.. that your skin creates for you!