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.
- 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.