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Should You Be Using Probiotic Skin-Care Products?

The Probiotic Skin-Care Trend

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You probably know all about probiotics for your gut. They help aid digestion and they're easier than ever to get through foods like kimchi and yogurt, and through supplements and fortified foods. You probably haven't considered applying probiotics topically, but walk the aisles at any beauty store and you'll see quite a few options that use "probiotic technology."

It turns out, probiotic skin care is pretty promising. "On top of the skin's physical barrier is a layer of diverse microorganisms called the microbiome that helps keep the complexion clear and radiant," says Rhonda Klein, M.D., a dermatologist practicing in Connecticut. "These natural bacteria—over 10,000 different species—help promote healthy skin function. Skin-care products that contain these bacteria are thought to reset the microbiome that has been altered by our obsession with cleanliness." (Constant washing, exfoliating, etc.) "There are many strains, both live and dead, and the strains really do matter," Dr. Klein explains. Just as you want the right probiotics in your gut, you also want the right ones on your face. (More on that here: Everything You Need to Know About Your Skin Microbiome)

Biossance Squalene + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer

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Ideally, you want to find products that have been clinically tested, like this plant-based moisturizer from Biossance that helps protect the skin's barrier—although it's important to note that just as with oral probiotic supplements, there's very little regulation here. ($52; sephora.com)

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Photo: Sephora

Foreo Day Cleanser

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Probiotic skin care may help with certain skin issues. "Probiotics have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects on the skin," says Park Avenue plastic surgeon Melissa Doft, M.D. "So they can help soothe sensitive skin and kill bacteria that leads to acne flares." Washing your face daily with a probiotic cleanser, like this one from Foreo, could help reduce redness and breakouts. And though derms aren't 100 percent sure probiotic products live up to their miracle-status hype (and taking oral probiotics may be a more science-backed approach for acne and other inflammatory skin conditions) using probiotic skin-care products won't hurt, Dr. Klein says. ($30; net-a-porter.com)

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Photo: Net-a-Porter

Clinique Redness Solutions Makeup SPF 15 With Probiotic Technology

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This oil-free foundation does double duty by incorporating probiotics to treat redness while also covering it. "Some data suggests that skin probiotics can treat diseases like eczema or acne and can help heal wounds faster," says Hal M. Weitzbuch, M.D., a dermatologist practicing in Calabasas, CA. But because they're a newer treatment, there aren't mainstream guidelines for using them for these skin issues. Still, Dr. Weitzbuch says they're worth a try: "If someone wants an alternative treatment for their skin condition, probiotics might be the answer they've been looking for. ($28; sephora.com)

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Photo: Sephora

Marie Veronique Pre + Probiotic Daily Mist

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This skin-smoothing mist incorporates both pre- and probiotics, which helps make it more effective, derms say. Probiotics are the actual "good" bacteria, while prebiotics are the "food" probiotics eat to flourish. It's like a petri dish on your face! ($40; capbeauty.com)

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Éminence Organic Skin Care Clear Skin Probiotic Masque

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This cult-favorite mask with lactic acid, cucumber, and shea butter works wonders on dry, sensitive, acne-prone skin. ($54; dermstore.com)

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Photo: Dermstore

Rodial Super Acids Exfoliating Pads

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These pads use salicylic acid to exfoliate while maintaining moisture and balance through probiotics—essentially doing two jobs at once. ($58; rodial.co.uk)

Related: These Top Beauty Products Have a Skin-Healing Side Hustle

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Photo: Rodial

Mother Dirt AO+ Mist

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Specially formulated for use on the face and body, this mist is meant to re-balance your skin's microbiome and potentially make you less dependent on products like deodorant and moisturizers. Cool, right? ($49; motherdirt.com)

Related: Do Natural Deodorants *Actually* Work During Sweaty Workouts?

Photo: Mother Dirt

Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Cell Revitalise Day Moisturiser

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One of the most promising brands in the probiotic skin-care space, Aurelia uses healthy bacteria in all of their products. This moisturizer is a fan favorite because it's suitable for all skin types, smells great, and absorbs quickly despite a rich texture. ($85; net-a-porter.com)

Photo: Aurelia Probiotic Skincare

Tula Skincare Purifying Cleanser

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In addition to fighting inflammation with probiotics, this cleanser also utilizes other anti-inflammatory ingredients like turmeric, blueberry extract, and omega-3s. ($28; dermstore.com)

(BTW, here's how to use post-workout inflammation to your advantage.)

Photo: Tula

The Beauty Chef Probiotic Skin Refiner

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This product, which you apply with a cotton pad pre-moisturizer, does it all: Lactic acid exfoliates, improves skin tone, and hydrates, while Lactobacillis probiotics help to restore balance. ($75; capbeauty.com)

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Photo: Cap Beauty

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