My beauty regimen is almost like a religious practice, and because I have a sensitive skin type, I also tend to be more acne-prone than other people. For this reason, I have to take my daily beauty regimen seriously. However, in the past, no matter what I was using, I couldn’t ever completely banish acne breakouts from my life. I was purchasing high-end serums, expensive spot treatments, and even using an acne reduction skin care system morning and night, and I was still breaking out, every single month.
When I talked to some of my “beauty buddies” at the salon, they told me about something new I hadn’t tried yet. I’m talking about something called probiotics. The name sounds scientific, but probiotics are simply the live active cultures found inside common foods like yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut. These probiotic cultures are well-known for boosting health in many ways – promoting good digestion, increasing immunity, and improving skin.1
I have to admit ... I didn’t believe my friends when they told me that probiotic supplements are their best-kept beauty secret, but I was willing to try anything. I was sick and tired of throwing my money away on skincare products that just didn’t deliver on their promises of clearer skin. So, I gave probiotics a try, and here’s what happened ...
I’ll tell you straight up that taking pills is not something I enjoy doing, but at the same time, neither is slathering tons of goop on my face, and never seeing the results I want. So, during week 1, on Monday morning, I simply put the bottle of probiotic supplements by my vanity, and followed the daily intake recommendation of 1 capsule per day. By Saturday morning I will say that I didn’t notice any obvious changes in my skin, however, I did notice that my digestive schedule was much more predictable. I felt lighter, more energetic, and, ultimately, it seemed like there was also a little bit of a glow to my skin. I had no significant acne breakouts during the first week, but that is pretty normal for me. On the upside, I can also say that taking the probiotic supplements did not cause any additional acne breakouts, so at least there’s that. On to week two ...
During this week, I decided to also add a topical application of probiotics to my face. I used a thick, and creamy full-fat Greek yogurt, and simply added the plain yogurt to my face every day, twice a day (in the morning, and in the evening) to see if it boosted my results. And I still took the recommended dosage of the probiotic supplements as part of my morning beauty routine. I started calling it my “probiotic facial,” and it felt really good! The results? My skin felt more moisturized, and less itchy than it normally does in the morning, for some reason. I also noticed that by the end of week 2 I didn’t have any severe blemishes, like I usually do by mid-month. My skin almost always reliably delivers a nasty pimple before the month ends. But nothing so far. Two weeks into the month, and I’m still blemish-free – besides a few dry patches in random areas – which is normal for my sensitive skin. At the end of week 2, there were still no adverse reactions by my skin – a big win for my beauty regimen.
Finally ... a breakout! I knew this would happen, and my combination skin did not hold back. I’ve got a nice little cluster of small acne lesions right around one of my trouble areas: my chin. It’s probably because week two was pretty stressful at work, and I couldn’t stop touching my face. So, as with weeks 1 and 2, I took the recommended dosage of the probiotic supplements, and this week I used the plain Greek yogurt as a spot treatment. Thankfully, the small cluster of pimples with blotchy red spots went away by the end of the week.
I was a little shocked by the look of my skin during week 4. To be honest, I had hope that probiotics could help keep my skin clear, but I didn’t really believe it would work. And truth be told, by week 4 my skin was acting pretty normal, but I was noticing a more dewy texture and a natural rosy color that I am pretty sure was not there before. I continued to take the probiotic supplements orally in the morning, and applied the Greek yogurt masks in the evening before bedtime. While the amount of breakouts I had didn’t seem to change by adding probiotics to my beauty regimen, I did notice that the acne lesions went away faster, and that was pretty cool. If you’re going to get a breakout, the ideal is seeing it vanish in a matter of days – not weeks.
The bottom line? Probiotics are a must in my beauty regimen now. It’s only been 4 weeks, but the small improvements I’ve seen are enough to sell me on the stuff. I don’t apply the topical masks every night, but I will continue to take the recommended dosage of the probiotic supplements from here on out. And if the results keep going in this direction, I think I’ll see more of a transformation in my skin. With any luck, I’ll be able to toss out my other skincare products, and just stick with the probiotic supplement. Who knows? Maybe your skincare should come from the inside out.
1. Whitney P Bowe, Alan C Logan. Acne vulgaris, probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis - back to the future? Gut Pathog. 2011; 3: 1.