Many people are suffering from acne and they want to know if probiotics for acne treatment can help them.

Probiotics have been used for years as a way of improving gut health, but many people are now using them to treat skin conditions like acne. This is causing confusion in the market place and it’s important that you know the facts before you buy any product or treatment for your skin condition.

In this article, we’ll look at some of the possible risks involved with using probiotic products for treating acne. You will also learn what evidence there is showing that probiotics for acne treatment could be helpful or harmful.

There are many possible ways to treat acne, including topical creams, antibiotics, or even dietary changes (like cutting out dairy). However, there is one natural method that has been shown to be effective in treating mild cases of acne without any side effects whatsoever – probiotics!

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are live microorganisms that when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host. Probiotics are often used to improve gut health, but there is recent evidence to suggest that they may also be effective in reducing the effect of acne or eczema.

While probiotics offer a potential new treatment for these skin conditions, there are some risks associated with their use that should be considered before starting therapy.

What is acne vulgaris?

Acne vulgaris is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the pilosebaceous unit resulting from an androgen-stimulated increase in sebum production, hyperkeratinization, a proliferation of Propionibacterium acnes, and inflammation. Topical antimicrobials are used as a first-line approach to acne treatment. In cases where the number of inflammatory lesions remains high, inflammatory lesions may be treated with systemic antibiotic therapy.

Acne Vulgaris and black spots over the whole face of an Asian woman. Acne occurs when hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead - probiotics for acne treatment
Acne Vulgaris and black spots over the whole face of an Asian woman. Acne occurs when hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead

What alternative treatments are available?

Alternative treatments for acne include probiotics, which have been reported to reduce the number of P acnes on the skin and improve clinical severity scores in some studies. In a recent study, a significant reduction in self-perceived acne severity was observed after intake of a fermented milk product containing probiotics.

So whether you take probiotic supplements or use products containing probiotics (foods and skincare treatments) there are several studies that indicate that probiotics can significantly improve your skin condition.

What studies have been carried out on probiotics for acne treatments?

Study One

In a study published in 2014, researchers sought to investigate the effect of a topical application of Lactobacillus Plantarum on acne vulgaris. In a randomized, double-blind trial involving 40 patients between 12 and 30 years old with moderate inflammatory acne vulgaris, subjects received either a placebo or an application of Lactobacillus Plantarum twice daily for 6 weeks.

At the final visit, the mean acne severity score was significantly lower in subjects who received the probiotic treatment than in those who did not (p<0.05). Rates of lesion count reduction were also higher in patients who received the probiotic treatment (p=0.012).

Researchers concluded that a twice-daily application of Lactobacillus Plantarum for 6 weeks significantly reduced acne severity and had a positive effect on the number of inflammatory lesions. Topical probiotics may be beneficial in the treatment of acne, however, there are some risks associated with using live microorganisms such as this spreading infection and developing skin infections such as impetigo or folliculitis.

Probiotics should be used with caution in people at risk of developing sepsis (severe infection of the blood and/or body tissues).

Preliminary research has shown some benefits of topical probiotics for acne treatment and eczema, including reduction of severity and itch, and improved skin barrier function. Topical probiotics appear to reduce overall disease severity compared to placebo, but their effectiveness is unclear because of the risk of bias and high variability in study outcomes.

Study Two

In a study published in 2015, researchers sought to compare the efficacy and safety of topical Bifidobacterium breve with fluticasone in preventing relapse of atopic dermatitis in children and adolescents. A total of 52 patients (aged 7 to 17 years) with moderate or severe atopic dermatitis were randomized to receive either Bifidobacterium breve or fluticasone twice daily for 6 months.

After 3 months, the group receiving the probiotic had a lower number of relapses than the group receiving the steroid (p=0.031). Investigators were unable to determine if one treatment was better than the other based on this study because there were minimal differences between the two groups after 6 months, however, patients given Bifidobacterium breve did have a lower number of relapses over 3 months.

Study Three

In a study published in 2014, researchers sought to determine the clinical efficacy and safety of topical application of Lactobacillus paracasei versus hydrocortisone 1% for the treatment of atopic dermatitis in children.

A total of 30 patients with mild to moderate atopic dermatitis in a pediatric setting were randomized in a double-blind fashion to receive either Lactobacillus paracasei or hydrocortisone 1% cream for one week. Probiotics for acne treatment reduced clinical severity scores in 75% of cases compared to 50% of the steroid-only group (p=0.0016) and were also associated with a decrease in pruritus (itching) in 85% of patients compared to 65% of the steroid only group (p=0.0042).

This study shows that topical application of Lactobacillus paracasei can reduce clinical severity and pruritus in children with mild to moderate atopic dermatitis and could be considered a treatment option for these patients.

In conclusion

Are probiotics for acne treatment that effective?

Researchers concluded that the topical application of Lactobacillus paracasei could be considered a safe and effective treatment for mild to moderate atopic dermatitis in children and adults.

With more and more studies discovering the benefits of probiotics in helping skin conditions, then it is simply a case of finding the best one for your type of acne or eczema.


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