Pre & probiotics in skincare: all you need to know
bacteria and the skin
“You can’t use live bacteria – probiotics – in skincare” explains Paola Gugliotta, “first of all because preservatives are made to kill all bacteria in less than 5 minutes, good or bad. Secondly, because the microbiological analysis test doesn’t allow the existence of live bacteria”.
Our skin is the home to millions of bacteria (good and bad) that from a layer called the skin’s microbiota. It’s the first line of protection and defense against illness, redness, inflammation, and infection. The microbiota is the layer that maintains the skin healthy thanks to the delicate equilibrium between good and bad bacteria. When this equilibrium is imbalanced, problems are on their way.
Learn how to tell them apart
PRObiotics are live microorganisms that once added (to the body or receptor) stay active (normally in the intestine) in sufficient quantity to alter the intestinal microbiota and balance it.
A PREbiotic is what good bacteria eat, food to the skin’s or the intestine’s microbiota, capable of balancing it. For example, when the Propionibacterium – a bad bacteria – unbalances, acne appears. There are actives capable of balancing and reducing these bacteria, balancing the microbiota and reducing the acne.
Sadly, not everything can be translated into the skin and make it work as it would be a very ingenious simplification. When it comes to skincare, it isn’t possible to use live bacteria – probiotics – because the security analysis that evaluates the formula requires so. Apart from that, the preservatives are put into formulas precisely to kill all bacteria, no matter good or bad.
Fermented doesn’t mean alive
When the labels list an ingredient as “ferment” or as the bacteria, it doesn’t really mean there are bacteria. What’s really inside is the active resultant from the fermentation, which is good for the skin’s microbiota. For example, the Wash cleanser contains Lactococcus and Bacillus Ferment Lysate for a soft exfoliation and to cause the regeneration of the surface, these are bacterias but they aren’t alive.
Nowadays it’s more common to use fermented actives in skincare because, after the fermentation process, the components are simplified – they are segmented into pieces – and become more usable for the organism: they are more stable and offer better properties to the skin in smaller doses.
How to take care of the skin’s microbiota
To avoid harming the good bacterias that live on the skin, the formulas must be “kind”, that means that the preservatives must be soft and safe, and the pH must be compatible with the skin. If the preservatives are normal or if the PH is out of range, they’ll kill all the bacteria.
Sepai always uses the preservatives necessary to kill the bad bacteria, the fungi, and the yeast, without harming the good bacteria.
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