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What Do Probiotics Actually Do for Your Skin? An Expert Explains All

Yes, they really are just as good for your skin as they are for your tummy
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Chances are, you've heard of probiotics in terms of gut health: Often present in fermented foods such as yogurt, they're meant to help support and balance the "good" bacteria with the "bad" bacteria on your insides. But more and more, they've been popping up in skin care products. So, how exactly do probiotics affect your skin's well-being? We reached out to HydroPeptide's chief of operations and chief geneticist, Dr. Neal Kitchen, to find out.

Turns out, that much like our gut, our skin is also populated with a variety of bacterium, both good and bad. "Our skin has microbiota (i.e., skin flora) that affect the health and appearance of the skin," explains Kitchen. And, as with our gut, probiotic skin care products can help keep things in check: "When applied topically, probiotics and probiotic-promoting ingredients help to balance the pH of the skin and improve the skin flora by combatting inflammation and harmful bacteria on the skin's surface."

Other benefits? These "good" bacteria can also help to prevent free radical damage, resulting in better overall skin quality. Kitchen says they have also been proven to increase collagen and protein production while improving oxygen intake (which leads to "more efficient cell renewal and skin healing") and brightening/reducing the risk of hyperpigmentation. Now, with benefits like those, it's worth it for pretty much anyone to give probiotics a try — though Kitchen notes that they're especially good for skin concerns like acne and rosacea, since they help to prevent the harmful bacteria from "triggering inflammation."

We're pretty sold on the concept, how about you? Keep reading to see some of our favorite probiotic skin care products.

Image via Imaxtree

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HydroPeptide Power Serum, $144
We asked Kitchen about the different types of probiotics out there and he recommended Lactobacillus ferment, which is derived from Lactobacillus, a lactic acid bacteria. This probiotic ingredient is used in many HydroPeptide formulations, including the popular Power Serum Line Lifting Transformation — fitting, since it's been shown to boost collagen production while also providing antioxidant protection.

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Dr. Brandt Bright Biotic, $58
Kitchen pointed out that probiotics are good for brightening skin and reducing hyperpigmentation. This serum harnesses that powerful effect, combining probiotics like Lactococcus ferment lysate with exfoliating fruit enzymes to really turn up the wattage on your glow factor.

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Though this technically contains prebiotic ingredients, as opposed to probiotic ones (meaning, it helps promote healthy bacteria rather than actually containing them), this popular moisturizer is still designed to have many of the same positive effects. As with probiotic skin care products, it helps to balance the skin, while also promoting a healthy skin barrier, making it great for people with sensitive skin or conditions like acne, rosacea or eczema.

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If you're interested in probiotic skin care products, the entire Tula line is worth checking out — the whole brand is based around probiotic ingredients. This one is made with a blend of Lactobacillus probiotics and glycolic acid, meaning it brightens and clarifies skin. Plus, it also contains hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, so you don't have to worry about drying out your complexion.

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