Probiotic Skin Care: Miracle Ingredient or Marketing Hype?


Probiotic skin care - miracle ingredient or marketing hype? via @agirlsgottaspa

As a consumer, my hope is that when a product comes to market, it delivers information that is true. I mean, we’re all so busy, who has the time to fact check everything?

For a while, we all believed the mascara commercials and ads where the spokesperson/model had the most amazing lashes… until the FTC made them disclose that the lashes you saw were really lash extensions with mascara and a healthy dose of photoshop. And sidebar – prior to this disclosure I always thought something was just plain wrong with me because I couldn’t duplicate those lashes using that miracle mascara.

Every year there is a new fad ingredient for skin care and cosmetics. Some of them, like argan oil, truly deserve the praise and promotion. While others deserve to be looked at with skepticism.

Enter probiotics.

Now don’t get me wrong, my whole family takes a probiotic and we eat yogurt with live cultures all the time. I know the benefits of probiotics because it has really helped us with gut issues. Probiotics are a good thing.

However, I’ve noticed a trend with it being touted as a miracle skin care ingredient. I’ve seen claims that state that probiotic skin care offers a healthy dose of probiotics to help boost the skin’s immune system. That probiotic skin care is infused with healthy bacteria. Another brand says the probiotics in their skin care protects and strengthens the skin’s microbiome.

It all sounds amazing… if it were true.

Whenever I hear these sciencey types of claims I immediately turn to my longtime myth-busting beauty blogger friend Perry of The Beauty Brains.  Who, if you are not aware, is a cosmetic chemist and scientist. In other words, he knows his stuff.

Perry told me, “Probiotics in skin care will not affect your immune system. For probiotics to have an effect, they would have to be living and there are no skin care products on the market that have living probiotics (bacteria) in their products. It is marketing BS pure and simple.”

And the claim that probiotics in skin care can protect and strengthen the skin’s microbiome?

Perry explained,“The bacteria and other microscopic creatures that live on your skin (like demodex mites) are called the skin microbiome. If you took a microscope and looked at skin you’d see a literal zoo of microbes. The claim that the skin care line ‘protects and strengthens’ the microbiome is meaningless marketing drivel. That’s like saying you protect and strengthen a zoo. It makes no sense, but it sounds impressive to consumers.”

So there you have it. Probiotics in skin care to boost your immune system or to protect/strengthen your skin is merely marketing hype; a buzzword.

And while it’s true, we’ve previously reviewed and raved about a skin care brand whose focus is probiotics, in hindsight it appears that the products worked well due to the other skin nourishing ingredients, not in relation to probiotics.

So when you read or hear about “probiotic technology” (which I have yet to see any brand truly define what that technology is), don’t fall prey to the claims. Or have you already? Leave a comment – I’d love to hear from you.

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Posted on by Shannon Smyth in anti-aging, beauty, Health, skin care 1 Comment

About the author

Shannon Smyth

Shannon began A Girl's Gotta Spa! beauty blog in 2005 to morph her love of beauty and in educating women on what truly works and what does not. She has been featured in Glamour, VOGUE Australia, Woman's World, Nail Pro, SHAPE and on WBRE's PA Live. She is a go-to source for social media consulting when it comes to beauty brands.

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