20101212_200110_LactobacillusAcidophilus

Probiotics are bacteria which inhabit the intestines and help maintain a healthy balance. They are known to interact with bodily tissue which comprise the immune system. Probiotics could also be helpful in lessening systemic inflammation. We also know that people with acne tend to have more constipation, and, excuse the frankness, their poop has less healthy bacteria in it. So it’s intriguing to think that maybe probiotics could help.

At least two studies have been performed so far regarding probiotics and acne. The first found a significant decrease in total acne lesions when people were taking probiotics alongside minocycline vs. taking minocycline or probiotics alone. This is marginally interesting, but not groundbreaking. The second study had people applying probiotics topically to the skin and those applying 5% topical solution exhibited “an effective reduction in acne lesion size and (redness).” Again, this is somewhat interesting, but not earth shattering.

Lastly, since doctors continue to prescribe antibiotics for acne, even though I can see absolutely no reason why they continue to do this, these patients may benefit from probiotic supplementation post-treatment to get their gut back in check.

My bottom line with what we know so far is that probiotics probably can’t hurt and may help somewhat.

References:

  • Bowe WP, Patel NB, Logan AC. “Acne vulgaris, probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis: from anecdote to translational medicine.” Beneficial Microbes. 2013; 25: 1-15.
  • Jung GW, et al. “Prospective, randomized, open-label trial comparing the safety, efficacy, and tolerability of an acne treatment regimen with and without a probiotic supplement and minocycline in subjects with mild to moderate acne.” Journal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery. 2013; 17(2): 114-22.
  • Muizzuddin N, et al. “Physiological effect of a probiotic on skin.” Journal of Cosmetic Science. 2012; 63(3): 385-95.

3 Responses to “Can probiotics help acne? Theoretically they might, but don’t expect miracles.”

  • Anonymous

    Hi guys

    Im new on this site but I want to tell my story about antibiotics and how I cleared my acne with it.

    I have been suffering from acne ever since I was 14, it got really severe when I was 17 but kept fluctuating afterwards. Safe to say high school was a nightmare for me and I even considered suicide.
    I have been on a lot of medication since then and have had mixed results. The longest I have ever been without acne was maybe a few months but it always came back.

    Here is the shorter version of how I cleared my acne and how it relates to antibiotics

    After taking some antibiotics for an infection my acne cleared. Then I realized that my acne is caused by a bacteria that is in my stomach naturally.

    Simple solution to balance the bacteria levels:

    Drink plenty of water, SPACE out your meals, avoid red meats and sugar and exercise before you are going to eat any large meal.

    LONGER VERSION

    Im now 24 and I made a decision a while back to try to understand why my acne occurs.I took several factors into account and assessed each one.

    These factors included
    1-Personal hygiene (I.e how often I washed my face)
    2-Medications (I.e how my acne responded to various creams and pills)
    3-Sleep
    4-Diet
    5-Health (I have chronic congestion at times and some other mild issues)
    6-Sexual (I.e masturbation, orgasms, sexual arousals…etc)

    I ruled out the first two immediately because I knew from past experiences that washing my face had very minimal effect on my acne, medications were not really an option because they were not a long term solutions.

    Sleep was a factor, but not a deciding one. I realized that better sleep meant less acne but less sleep did not really aggravate the acne.

    My sexual energy was also put to the test but I realized it was also very minimal in it’s effect.

    After that I put my nostril theory into test and it was the most positively correlated factor up until that point.

    You see my nose is usually congested on the side I sleep at during night time, that side that is clear recovers much more from the acne through a good night of sleep than the side that does not.

    However this was also not a reliable factor as I had no clue why my nostrils get congested and why they stay clear.

    The last factor was the hardest factor to test. I never really noticed anything in my diet that could correlate with the acne so I was frustrated that this was the only option I had.

    That all changed when it was 3 months ago when I was prescribed some antibiotics from a dentist for a tooth abcess.

    While on the course of this antibiotic my acne started to reduce dramatically. I hate this revelation because antibiotics cannot be a long term solution and In fact I had to take medication for the side effects of the antibiotics.

    It hit me like a rock one day and it all started to make sense, I concluded a few things

    1-That my acne was DEFINITELY caused by bacteria that originates from the digestive track.
    2-Like all bacteria, this bacteria in my body needed to be regulated to a certain amount to make sure it does not be attained in access.

    Now I was a person who use to body build at one point and one day I was told something by a women as I was trying to buy supplements.
    She told me that a certain supplement was better than the regular ones for one reason, it is more easily absorbed by the body.

    Now you might think, well what does that have to do with anything? How does this all connect?

    It goes like this

    1-My acne is caused by bacteria that naturally occurs in my body.(which explains why my acne got better with the antibiotics)
    2-This bacteria sticks around if the digestive system is clogged up. (more food needs more digestive bacteria to be decomposed and absorbed-why the lady said I should take supplements that were easier to absorb)

    3-The congestion in my nose/nostril is an indicator of whether or not my digestive system is clogged up (I.e why my acne goes away when I have a clear nostril)

    4-Sleep makes the acne go away because the digestive system works better on getting rid of left overs when you sleep (I.e why my acne gets better with better sleep)

    5-If I give my body things easier to digest, space them more out, and drink lots of water, the digestive clog ends and the congestion should end which ultimately should lead to the disappearance of the acne.

    RESULT

    My face is now roughly 90% clear of acne, and I mean really clear, even the the scars are fading away and breakouts are minimal.

    It gets cleared every day so long as I stay away from eating too much food at once.

    I wish I could show you guys before and after pictures but I was so mortified of my acne prior to this that I rarely ever took high definition pics of myself.

    This is 100% free, keeps you health and you can still eat what you like.

    All you need to do is this.

    Drink plenty of water every day! Space your meals out, curb away from sugared beverages and red meats UNLESS you plan to do some intense exercises before hand to prepare your digestive metabolism.

    Now this should work IF your acne is caused by BACTERIA. If it is caused by something else then this may not work.

    This had changed my life and now I am so more confident in myself.

    I hope my story helps you all.

  • Anonymous

    Acne has, aside from some potential genetic influence, everything to do with diet – EVERYTHING. I have not myself been on probiotics, nor prebiotics (essentially food for the already existing bacteria in your intestines and as of late the preferred way of cultivating your gut) or antibiotics (kills both maleficent and benign bacteria and realistically has to be followed up with probiotics).

    Frankly I fail to see how you, Dan, can completely disregard this thought. You say that you are welcoming to studies that show this correlation, but what attention have you paid to the science done on adolescents in the most remote part of the world (don’t have the link – sure it’s googable) that haven’t been “contaminated”, for lack of a better word, by western diets, of which acne was completely non-existent.

    You are one of the unlucky people who suffer with acne as an adult and have to answer to that with continuous topical treatment in the form of Benzoyl Peroxide. You also state on acne.org that acne forms deep down in the skin and about the myths of topical mistreatment other than aggravation and irritation of active acne. All well and good – but accepting the fact that it all has to do with gastrointestinal health is simply the next step. For instance, you also say that you’ve been on paleo (caveman diet: no carbs or processed food) and that it worked, initially at least. Well did you in that case also take the your internal health into consideration or was it simply just a matter of eliminating the cause – which with such a diet in today’s way of life still is very, very difficult.

    Probiotics (and/or prebiotics) along with a couple of other supplements that help heal the intestines is the road to clear skin. There is no surprise that zinc, fish oil (omega 3) etc., while all aiding in the fight against acne more notably also promote greater overall health. Do some more research on what is recommended for a stable immune system, and try to achieve it not only by taking out what’s bad, but go about it by strengthening yourself first.

    It’s like with all modern medicine; only attack the symptoms. Have a headache? Take some painkillers. Regularly having infections? Prescribe antibiotics. Got acne? Treat it topically. There’s simply not enough logic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.