Probiotics Benefits May Include Healthier Skin


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Some early studies suggest that consuming probiotics in food or dietary supplements might help or prevent certain skin conditions, according to LiveScience.

The benefit of consuming probiotics is that they introduce healthy bacteria into the gut, reducing inflammation, which causes a variety of skin conditions, said Dr. Whitney Bowe, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

According to Bowe, probiotics hold promise for treating common skin conditions such as acne and rosacea. Several manufacturers are currently experimenting with adding strains of probiotics to their skin care products, including moisturizers, cleansers, peels and lotions. The four skin conditions that seem most promising for probiotics to treat are acne, eczema, rosacea, and anti-aging.

But according to another article in LiveScience, people still have misconceptions about the use of probiotics, their benefits, and their role in promoting health and treating diseases, said Dr. Patricia Hibberd, a professor of pediatrics and chief of global health at MassGeneral Hospital for Children in Boston, who has studied probiotics in young children and older adults.

The article goes on to say that not all probiotics are the same, that they cannot replace medication, and that food and supplement labels do not provide an accurate microbe count for the specific probiotic they contain.

According to WebMD, “Probiotics are bacteria that help maintain the natural balance of organisms (microflora) in the intestines. The normal human digestive tract contains about 400 types of probiotic bacteria that reduce the growth of harmful bacteria and promote a healthy digestive system.”

Part of the problem, according to Hibberd, is the way probiotics are advertised. None of the supplements or foods that contain probiotics is approved to treat specific diseases or conditions but general health claims are allowed to be made. Food makers are allowed to say that their product “improves digestive health,” a very general claim that’s not well-defined.

Still, Bowe believes that early research is showing some compelling results for probiotic treatment of skin conditions. Increased numbers of good bacteria may also help to hydrate aging skin, reduce sun damage and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, Bowe suggests.

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