Why a probiotic face cream is the smartest thing you can do for your skin

Probiotics in beauty products aim to dose the skin with a plentiful supply of healthy microflora, creating the best possible environment for skin to thrive
Probiotics in beauty products aim to dose the skin with a plentiful supply of healthy microflora, creating the best possible environment for skin to thrive Credit: getty

You may have noticed that probiotics are in everything. And you may reasonably have asked, are 17 trillion bacteria in my moisturiser really necessary?

Excellent question. Probiotics, according to the World Health Organisation are “live organisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer health benefits on the host”.  Probiotics in beauty products aim to dose the skin with a plentiful supply of healthy microflora, and create the best possible environment for  skin to thrive. 

While anecdotally, there are plenty of testimonials that skincare lines such as Aurelia, Orveda and Esse, all of which are probiotic rich, yield results,  applied topically, probiotics can have a short lifespan - that’s if the healthy bacteria in them hasn’t already been killed off by the preservatives which they’re required by law to include.

In other words,  these creams may be good because of their other ingredients. Orveda’s Botanical Booster for instance,  imparts a lovely amber glow. But at £175 it’s not cheap. Probiotics are trickling into the mid and mass market lines -  such as Vichy’s Slow Age, £30. But the question still hovers: do their vaunted probiotics do anything? 

A better tactic might be to feed your skin with prebiotics rather than probiotics. Prebiotics are aren’t bacteria per se, but compounds that act as a fertiliser for healthy microflora - and they’re not killed off by preservatives.

Alexandra Soveral, whose reformulated Forever Young Eye Cream, £39, contains prebiotics and who has just launched a prebiotic facial at Agua Spa in London, suggests, making your own prebiotic treatment at home by mixing some organic kefir with organic honey into a mask, and following up some diluted Apple cider vinegar (the kind that comes with a mother, such as Raw’s) as a toner. "It’s good for acne, rosacea and excema," she says. 

And start with a daily high quality probiotic oral supplement which will boost the flora in your gut. Mega Probiotic ND, £19.50 for 60 capsules, and Biocare’s Bioacidophlius High Potency Live Bacteria, £24.99 for 60 capsules, contain the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species, both of which are acid resistant so they can reach the intestines after passing through the harsh environment of the stomach with enough strength to be effective. They’ve changed my life. Au revoir bloat, for instance. Hello happy gut. And skin. 

Forever Young Eye Cream, £39, Alexandra Soveral

 5 tried and tested probiotic products to try now

Mega Probiotic ND, £19.50 for 60 capsules, Victoria Health 

Mega Probiotic ND, £19.50 for 60 capsules, Victoria Health 
Bioacidophlius High Potency Live Bacteria, £24.44 for 60 capsules, Biocare’s 
Slow Âge Moisturiser: Anti Wrinkle Cream, £30, Vichy 
Firm Brew Botanical Cream, £350, Orveda 
Cell Revitalize Day Moisturizer, £58, Aurelia Probiotic Skincare