Probiotics vs. Postbiotics In Skin Care: What The Research Says

So where is biotic skin care in general? The need to be innovative. Technically, these non-living "probiotics" could fall under the postbiotic umbrella, but as we discussed – the jury is not yet sure if they are beneficial for the skin. Regardless, they are certainly not innovative.

Instead, we rely on technologically advanced, unique and targeted postbiotics to care for the skin.

Researchers were able to identify important, useful results from the bacteria that naturally live on our skin. I like to think of these as synergistic gifts, from our microbiome to our skin; our skin in turn becomes a more harmonious and habitable place for the bacteria. A beautiful cycle is born. These outputs are called postbiotics.

In the natural ecosystem of our skin, postbiotics occur in the form of several important outputs. For example, the Staphylococcus epidermidis strain produces specific serine protease enzymes and the Staphylococcus hominis strain produces antimicrobial peptides, both of which support the immune function of the skin.

In an ideal world – one where your skin's ecosystem is not disturbed by environmental factors, internal stressors, and other harmful irritants – your microbiome would do this on its own all the time. This is not the world we live in.

Not only were the researchers able to identify these very specific outputs, but they were also able to reproduce them en masse without inactivating or fragmenting bacteria (such as paraprobiotics or lysates). This technological development enables researchers to develop targeted active ingredients that can instantly activate cross-talking with the skin directly.

Aside from the textbook-sounding explanation, that's very cool. You see, when active ingredients are able to communicate directly with the skin, they can cause changes in skin behavior – instead of just causing superficial changes. (This is why dermatologists are obsessed with the ability of retinol to interact with retinoid receptors or the ability of L-ascorbic acid to stimulate collagen crosslinking.)

We find some impressive changes in postbiotics. (And fair warning, we're getting very science-heavy here, but it's a tight topic). Let's take a look at Lactobacillales, the “educational” bacteria of the skin. It is actually a strain of bacteria that colonizes our skin in our youth, but decreases as we age. In its role as an educator, it teaches the skin to act young, to protect itself and to revitalize the barrier function. Its postbiotics are things like oligopeptides (more precisely oligopeptides-5 to 13), fatty acids (including UFA, PUFA, and EFA), and biosurfactants like rhamnolipids. And now, thanks to modern technology, we are able to reproduce these natural postbiotics bioidentically and integrate them into skin care.

Once on the skin, they are able to communicate with various receptors (such as G-protein-coupled receptors, epidermal growth factor receptors, and toll-like receptors) to improve the regeneration of the epidermis, and skin hydration reduce the signs of aging thanks to irritation and pollution, stimulate microcirculation, support the skin's immune system and soothe inflammation.

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