Probiotic skincare uses good bacteria to boost skin health. However, limited research has been done on its value.

You may know that kombucha is good for your gut. But are probiotics good for your face? While the jury’s still out on if topical probiotic skincare products are legit, some suggest that oral probiotics can benefit skin health.

Here’s everything you need to know about probiotic skincare, plus tips on how to incorporate it into your routine.

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Your skin has an ecosystem of good and bad bacteria. Research shows it looks different when skin is healthy than when inflamed or otherwise distressed. Experts call this imbalance dysbiosis.

Probiotic-packed creams and serums are designed to restore balance to your skin microbiome, like a superfood smoothie for your face. They infuse products with live cultures of good bacteria and microscopic peacemakers that support the skin’s natural defenses, ensuring your complexion stays healthy, smooth, and glowing.

Should your skincare routine incorporate live probiotics? It’s too early to tell. A 2021 review of research noted that early studies suggest some benefits, but most focus on oral rather than topical probiotics. Here’s what the experts know so far.

Atopic dermatitis

For folks dealing with atopic eczema, there’s hope. A 2017 study of 31 people with the condition found that the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus was more widespread in the skin microbiome. When scientists applied the probiotic Lactobacillus johnsonii to their skin, it reduced the number of S. aureus and eased eczema symptoms.

FYI: Larger, longer-term clinical trials are needed before topical probiotics can be recommended as a treatment for atopic dermatitis or eczema.

Skin ageing

A 2022 review concluded that probiotics applied to the skin could help reduce UV light and oxidative stress damage. Bonus: They may also help repair the skin barrier.

Probiotics could potentially reduce some visible signs of aging, like sun damage. But it’s too early to say for sure.


Scientists have theorized that topical probiotics could help tackle acne by altering the skin microbiome and reducing certain types of bacteria that may cause acne. However, there haven’t been any clinical trials.

When it comes to probiotic skincare products, you’re spoiled for choice. You can find serums, moisturizers, masks, and cleansers that pack a probiotic punch.

Look for those specifying they contain live cultures or are designed to support the skin’s microbiome. Here’s the lowdown on what you might find:

Live probiotics

These are live and kicking good bacteria — the tiny titans of skincare, protecting your skin from harmful bacteria.

We need more research to know for sure, but some evidence suggests that using probiotics both orally and on your skin may help prevent and treat skin conditions. Additionally, some probiotics boost ceramide production in the skin and increase hydration.

Some examples of skin-loving, beneficial bacteria that you might find listed on creams, serums, and potions include:

  • Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus ferment
  • Bifidobacterium longum
  • Streptococcus thermophilus


Prebiotics are delicious snacks for good bacteria. In theory, these compounds could help nourish and boost the growth of beneficial microbes on your skin. However, research on topical prebiotics is lacking.

Prebiotics in skincare are usually carbohydrates extracted from fiber-rich foods like oats, onions, and flaxseed. But the verdict is still out as to whether these ingredients are worth including in your skincare routine.


Postbiotics are the aftermath of probiotic activity. They are beneficial fermentation byproducts left behind after probiotics have had their feast.

Examples include antimicrobial peptides and short-chain fatty acids. These valuable substances may boost skin immunity against harmful organisms and ramp up the skin’s ability to hold onto water and crucial electrolytes. Your body can’t make these hydrating substances.

Probiotic skincare has the potential to improve skin health using good bacteria, but we’re not sure how well it works because there hasn’t been enough research. We need more studies to understand its benefits and downsides in skincare.

Even though we’re not sure yet, the fact that more people are interested in it shows that we should keep looking into it to make sure it does help make skin healthier.