Expect to see more skincare brands incorporating probiotics in their formulas, heralding a new generation of anti-ageing. Jenni Gilbert discovers its pioneers in ethical organic brand Esse, from southern Africa, and Australia’s own The Beauty Chef.
Most of us are aware of the benefits of probiotics, (good) microbes that promote a healthy gut and digestion.
What you mightn’t realise is that skin can’t perform either of these basic functions without microbes; tiny, single-celled organisms including bacteria, viruses and yeasts. The sum of microbes in the body is called the microbiome.
Now probiotics are being harnessed to strengthen the skin and slow the ageing process by feeding your face “good” microbes so they can out-compete “bad” pro-ageing species, with certified organic brand Esse producing the world’s first live probiotic serum.
“The Human Microbiome Project* discovered that optimal skin health is dependent on the presence of trillions of microbes living on, and in, skin,” says Esse founder, chemist Trevor Steyn.
“This international research project revealed that there are more microbes in the body than human cells – at least 10 times more.
“The intestinal tract and the skin have particularly high microbial diversity but there are microbes in the lungs, mouth and even blood. They perform an intricate part of the chemistry that keeps us alive.
“It is now clear that microbes are integral to maintaining optimum skin pH (thus barrier function). They also modulate the formation of tight junctions (T-junctions) in skin and improve moisture retention.
“If people want to slow the ageing process, they should make an effort to maintain a healthy and diverse ecosystem of microbes in and on their skin. Unhealthy skin ages faster.
“This new information changes almost everything in health and skincare. We have been treating ourselves as a single species, but we’re not.
“The skin’s immune system is in constant contact with microbes. It treats many of them as if they were part of us, the `host’.
“That is, it helps probiotic microbes to form films on the surface of the skin, like natural body armour. Microbes are responsible for the majority of skin detoxification.
“We have invested considerable research to ensure that our products maintain a balance of microbes to slow the ageing process.
“As the Esse Probiotic Serum touches the face, 50 million live probiotics per drop are activated by moisture on the skin.”
The Beauty Chef’s Probiotic Skin Refiner is an exfoliant, skin hydrator and collagen booster all in one.
A bio-active whole food extract created during the bio-fermentation of The Beauty Chef’s renowned Inner Beauty Powders, this revolutionary product is formulated using a nourishing combination of bio-fermented Certified Organic grains, seeds, grasses, fruits, algae, vegetables and herbs.
The Lactobacillis probiotics in the refiner help balance the skin’s natural flora, strengthen the skin’s barrier system and boost the skin’s immune health. Additionally, biofermented lactic acid gently exfoliates the skin, increases the skin’s natural moisturising abilities and stimulates collagen synthesis.
“As we age, the skin thins. Studies have shown show that AHAs such as lactic acid help increase skin thickness, while helping to reverse damage caused by longterm UV exposure,” says The Beauty Chef creator Carla Oates.
“When applied regularly to the skin, [AHAs] can also lighten pigmented spots, alleviate roughness and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It has also been shown to firm up sagging skin and promote collagen growth in the deeper layers of the dermis.”
* The Human Microbiome Project (HMP) was a US National Institutes of Health five-year initiative launched in 2008 with the goal of identifying and characterising the micro-organisms that are found in association with both healthy and diseased humans (the human microbiome). The ultimate goal was to test how changes in the human microbiome are associated with health or disease.