by Dr. Roshini Raj
If you’re a health-conscious eater, you’re likely getting regular doses of probiotics from foods like yogurt, kefir or kimchi. For years, probiotics have been touted for their role in improving general gut health. Now, recent research shows that their powerful health-promoting, rejuvenating and calming benefits can also be applied to the skin, our body’s largest organ.
First, what are probiotics? And what do they do?
Probiotics, also known as “good” bacteria, are living microorganisms that are naturally found in our bodies. In fact, about 90 percent of your body is made up of bacteria. Probiotics help you maintain a healthy balance of intestinal microbes and aid in general digestion, which is one of the top areas of ailment for a majority of North Americans. Besides staving off stomach aches, new research is exploring the link between intestinal bacteria and general immunity, mental health and even cancer risk.
What does this have to do with skincare?
In the past five years, we’ve seen studies show that probiotics can have powerful skincare benefits. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology has called them the “new beauty breakthrough” thanks to their ability to protect the skin and decrease skin redness and calm inflammation.
One of the most important benefits in probiotic skincare is that the “good” bacteria are able to act as a natural defense mechanism. The balancing effect that we’ve seen on the digestive system is now something we can show works in a topical solution. Probiotics form a protective layer on the skin’s surface and help strengthen your skin’s natural defense mechanisms to ultimately reduce inflammation, clear up skin, aid in redness, and reduce skin sensitivity.
What should consumers be looking for in a healthy skin care product?
Our skin is exposed to environmental stressors like air pollution, allergens, toxins and UV ray exposure every day and our body-friendly probiotic complex stimulates the production of vital defense cells to make our skin healthier and more resistant to damage and aging.
For our TULA skincare line, we spent years working on our patented Probiotic Technology, and included other nutritious ingredients like Omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids, blueberries, turmeric and white tea extracts to protect, strengthen and nourish the skin. We like to say that our products are like a “healthy smoothie” for your skin, feeding your skin the same way a healthy diet nourishes your body.
How can we guard skin against environmental damage this spring/summer?
During the summer, the heat can cause a variety of skin issues, including dehydration, sun spots and blemishes. I recommend supercharging skin protection with skincare products that guard against environmental damage while encouraging collagen production. Look for skin-protecting and collagen-boosting ingredients like amino acids, probiotics, blueberries or other fruit extracts with antioxidant activity. With enough collagen, your skin will stay plump and hydrated, sealing in its own moisture.
Dr. Roshini Raj is a board certified gastroenterologist and internist with a medical degree from New York University School of Medicine and an undergraduate degree from Harvard. She is a TODAY Show contributor, a core expert on The Dr. Oz Show, and the Medical Editor of Health Magazine. In Fall 2014, Dr. Raj co-founded TULA, a skincare line that uses a patented complex of probiotics and other superfood ingredients to protect and nourish the skin.