Probiotic skin care for acne and inflammation

Honey and Kefir Probiotics for your gut and skin

You may already be taking probiotics for your gut health, but what about for your complexion? Probiotic skin care is trending in the beauty world as a go-to topical treatment for many skin conditions.

The idea behind probiotic skin care is essentially the same as probiotics for the gut. Feed the skin good bacteria and it will “conquer” the bad bacteria. The most common example of bad bacteria on the skin is propionibacterium acnes (or P.acnes). It’s one of the evil puzzle pieces that contribute to acne and consequently causes severe inflammation on the skin ( aka angry red pimples).

The goal of applying “GOOD bacteria” onto the skin is to balance the bacteria ecosystem. This reduces the effects caused by excessive “bad bacteria” like acne and other inflammatory conditions. There are many product lines out there that you can check out like The Beauty Chef’s Probiotic Skin Refiner, or Eminence Organics Clear Skin Probiotic Cleanser and Moisturizer.

You can also whip up your own very simple D-I-Y probiotic face mask with yogurt, or better yet, kefir. The lactic acid from the dairy alsos act as an amazing exfoliant because it’s an alpha hydroxy acid.

Skin Probiotics Anti-Inflammatory Probiotic Face Mask*

1 TBS of organic full fat greek yogurt (optionally, this will help thicken the mixture)
1 TBS of organic full fat kefir
1 TBS of raw honey

Mix all ingredients together (this might be a bit runny) and apply onto freshly cleansed skin with hands or a cosmetic brush. Let sit for up to 30 minutes. (This can also be used as a spot treatment). Rinse off with cool water and follow up with your serum, and or moisturizer. (Black cumin seed oil applied as a spot treatment on pimples, or on the entire face after this treatment does wonders).

*apply ongoing twice a week to help heal acne breakouts and calm inflammation.
*not recommended if you have rashes, or overly sensitive skin

Skincare 101: Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)

AHA exfoliators

What are Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)?

I know. You hear the word acid and you immediately think of an evil, acid-wielding villain from Batman.

No fear. Acids, specifically alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), are derived from fruit and dairy, and in my opinion, offer the best way to exfoliate the skin.

They typically come in a mask or serum form, and are sometimes called ‘fruit acids’. Rather than ‘mechanically’ loosening dead skin cells (typical of an exfoliating scrub), AHAs work to shed dead skin cells by dissolving the ‘glue’ that holds them together.

This may sound harsh, but in most cases (such as with lactic acid) AHAs can be fairly gentle and moisturizing. I particularly like them for treating acne since there is no physical abrasion (unlike a scrub) that could potential rupture pimples, spread bacteria, and over stimulate already red and inflamed skin. AHAs are also fantastic for clearing up congestion (black heads and white heads), brightening complexions, and lightening scars and dark spots.

Here are some common types:

Lactic acid: derived from corn or dairy products. This is considered a fairly gentle acid, and is good for most skin types; it’s also a natural humectant (meaning it retains moisture) and is therefore hydrating to the skin. This is my AHA of choice, and I am in LOVE with Pure + Simple’s Lactic Acid. I use it 2-3 times per week either all over my face, or just in spots that are prone to congestion.

Malic acid: most commonly derived from apples. It is less irritating than citric and glycolic acid, and is also a natural humectant.

Citric acid: derived from citrus fruits like lemon, grapefruit, and oranges. Excellent for brightening, and targeting age spots and scars.

Glycolic acid: most commonly derived from sugar cane. It has a small molecular structure that enables it to penetrates deep into the skin. However, it can be highly irritating and drying if used incorrectly, or too regularly.

Home care products will always have a higher pH level (aka less acidic) and contain a lower concentration of acid than professional use, however you should look for something with at least a 5% acid concentration and a pH between 3.5-4 for the product to be effective.

A little tingle is good . . . but a burning sensation is not so good!

VERY IMPORTANT: Always follow product instructions, avoid over use, immediately follow up with a moisturizer, and diligently wear sunscreen; as is the case with any exfoliation!!! If you’ve never used AHA products before, start with 1 application per week to avoid irritation and then gradually increase to 2-3 times per week.

When in doubt, consult a professional skin care therapist, esthetician, or dermatologist.

Have a question? Just ask! Write in the comments section below, or connect with me through Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.