I always knew that good food and super ingredients would make it into our skincare one day – but not like this. Not bacteria. If you’re like me, the thought of minuscule crawling things all over my skin makes me shudder, and nothing feels better than hopping into the shower and scrubbing those buggers away.
Before I’m branded a germaphobe, however, I must clarify that yes, not all bacteria is bad: all those years of yoghurt ads preaching the benefits of consuming active culture have drilled that into me. I do love a cheeky Yakult here and there and right now, in the middle of my diet, I’m consuming pots of Activia like nobody’s business (it’s my “healthy snack”). That feeling in my gut? It’s a good one, full of good bacteria, and I have no problem with that. But this is skincare I’m talking about here. Did we forget that bacteria causes spots and blackheads? Guys?? Surely more bacteria – the apparent bane of my face’s existence – could not be the answer to my skin problems.
Claire, founder of Aurelia Skincare, thinks differently. “The natural immune triggers in your skin are usually overstimulated by pollution and stress,” she said. “Probiotic ingredients are able to calm them and reduce the damage from these free radicals.”
Jennifer Cookson, Director of Product Development at Mother Dirt points out that, in drier skin types, it’s more likely that skin irritation and sensitivity is caused by over-washing. “Products that contain preservatives indiscriminately kill the microorganisms present on the skin. This means the skin’s natural microbiome can be left in an imbalance.”
I listen intently. After all, it’s 2018 – so if there’s any time to get a little more au fait with bacteria, it’s now. If the latest technology can roll out adaptogenic creams and spot-zapping pens then hell, there’s no reason for me not to jump on this probiotic bandwagon. However, I am a woman of many questions and I don’t commit without first knowing my stuff. Thankfully Jennifer and Claire have the answers. Here’s how the barrage went:
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are live bacteria (read: the good shit) and yeasts that live inside us: they are primarily the gut, but they’re also all over us, in the soil and basically anywhere there is life. Such good bacteria are paramount to preserving equilibrium in the body’s natural microbiome (bacteria ecosystem) and, as a byproduct, healthy skin.
Although consistent cleanliness is important for maintaining personal hygiene and health, our modern lifestyles have arguably lead us to a habit of over-washing and our skin oversensitive. Products with stripping sulphates or harsh preservatives frequent our day-to-day routine, leaving us reliant on cleansing. “It’s never been more important to ensure that our skin is treated gently,” Claire points out.
Now this is where probiotics come in. “Probiotic ingredients restore and balance the skin from within, protecting it from free radicals,” she explains, “And not only do they calm the natural immune triggers in your skin, they also activate the skin’s natural ability to repair itself and boost the natural process of restoring collagen, elastin and healthy cells.” Balanced microbiome = happy skin!
So…does it work?
As with any product, the results you get will ultimately fall on your body’s own reaction to the probiotic ingredient. “Everyone’s microbiome is unique,” Jennifer explains. Simple factors such as your age, sex, and where you live contributes largely to the composition of your unique microbial flora – and thus, your results. “It’s not a ‘one size fits all’. Even in our own clinical tests, some customers report seeing a difference much sooner than others,” she says.
That said, we can’t deny that probiotics are able to bring near-miraculous transformations to skin. “With equilibrium maintained, skin will look more radiant, healthy and glowing,” Claire states. And get this: it’s even compatible with sensitive skin types. “It really does help to manage inflammation and increase the repair process within the skin, giving skin more resilience.”
“It’s true,” Jennifer says, backing up with some useful statistics: “In our own clinical studies, users of the mist reported an improvement in skin clarity and the look and feel of dry and uneven skin over 4 weeks. There are over 800 reviews of Mother Dirt AO+ Mist to date, with the vast majority of them raving about the product’s magical ability to calm eczema, curb body odour and restore skin health. “Plus, a lot of our customers have reported a reduced dependence on other products, or have felt that they were able to bathe or wash less,” she added. Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m sold.
– Jennie Lim & Selena Arroyo