Are you suffering from acne and looking for a natural, healthy alternative to banish your acne? Sometimes, medication isn’t the best route. Probiotics may be that natural remedy you’ve been searching for to help you stay away from harsher options. Read on to find out some of the best probiotics for acne in the market.
What are probiotics?
In this medical article, probiotics are defined as:
“live microbial feed supplements which beneficially affect the host animal by improving microbial balance”.
This basically means that probiotics are live bacteria that help balance your gut flora and have a heap of health benefits. There’s actually a huge 400 species of probiotics inside a healthy person and around 300 trillion bacterial cells – both good and bad.
Probiotic health benefits:
- Producing vitamins (A, K and B1)
- Assists with management of conditions, infections and diseases like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Crohn’s, diarrhea and eczema through anti-inflammatory properties
- Supporting vaginal health, reducing episodes of thrush, bacterial vaginosis (BV) and urinary tract infections (UTI)
- Encourages healthy fertility and eases symptoms of menopause
- Supporting immune response (controls about 70%) and healthy immune function, also reduces risk of allergies developing in infants
- Cancer prevention by reducing cholesterol absorption in gut
- Assists with lactose intolerance symptoms
Probiotics are found naturally in many fermented foods, so although your body cannot produce probiotics itself, you can consume them with your daily diet. Foods like kimchi, tempeh and yogurt are loaded with friendly bacteria. If that’s not convenient enough, you can consume your probiotics in powder, tablet or capsule form.
And just like us, probiotics need food to thrive. Bananas, asparagus, onions and garlic all contain prebiotics which are tiny indigestible fibres that feed the healthy bacteria in your gut. Whether you consume your probiotics in your diet or as a supplement, prebiotics are an essential part of the process.
What is acne?
Before we dive into how probiotics can help with acne, we need to understand what this condition really is.
Acne (acne vulgaris) is a skin condition that will affect every 3 in 4 people at some time in their lives, generally starting at puberty. During puberty, testosterone production increases which stimulates oil production on the surface of your skin. This oil, or sebum, clogs up your pores and hair follicles causing them to become inflamed.
Here are some other common causes of acne:
- Excessive sweat
- Being overweight/poor diet/little exercise
- Some medications
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Hormonal changes/menstruation
Here’s a few of the different kinds of spots you may experience with acne:
- Blackheads – Tiny, open pores that become blocked and oxidize when in contact with air, causing their dark colour
- Whiteheads – Tiny, white bumps
- Pustules – The classic pimple, red and inflamed, filled with yellow or white pus
- Nodules – More commonly referred to as ‘blind pimples’, hard, red bumps under the skin that cannot be popped and are very painful
Depending on what severity of acne you have, mild, moderate, severe or cystic, there are many medications and remedies you can try. Some have very serious side effects which is why a lot of individuals turn to natural therapies to help rid them of their spots.
Regardless, it’s best to speak to a doctor or dermatologist before starting on any kind of therapy for your acne, just to be on the safe side.
How can probiotics help with my acne?
Compared to normal acne medications and remedies, probiotics have a few distinct advantages, here’s just a few detailed below.
Won’t dry out your skin
Probiotics work from the inside out. This means you can skip the harsh creams and pills that dry out your skin and cause it to go flakey (making your acne look worse). Probiotics specifically target the bacteria that causes acne and when this happens, your skin is encouraged to produce and restore healthy fats and ceramides – lipids that form a barrier on your skin to help it retain moisture. This barrier will keep your skin supple whilst the probiotics fight off acne-causing bacteria.
Immune system boost
As mentioned above, probiotics are powerhouses at controlling around 70% of your immune function and response. When you increase your intake of probiotics, your body is going to be able to fight off the acne and inflammation inside your body more efficiently.
Through the gut-brain-skin axis, studies have shown that if your gut flora is not healthy then your mental state may begin to decline. Stress, anxiety and depression can lead to an increase in inflammation in the body, including acne. So start from the very beginning of the problem by getting your gut flora balance in order, this will have markedly positive results on your skin.
Checklist for purchasing probiotics
- Colony forming units (CFU) – This is how probiotics are counted. CFU’s will indicate the amount of live organisms in the product – aim for the highest amount you can.
- Correct strains – Not all probiotic species are made equal and within each species there are different strains that are better at targeting different kinds of health concerns. Lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium bifidum are two strains that have been shown to target acne successfully, so try to grab a product with those two in it.
- Enteric coating – Your stomach acid is an enemy to your tiny probiotic friends, get a product that features a coating on their capsules to protect the probiotics from your acidic tummy.
- Expiry/refrigeration – If necessary, keep your probiotics refrigerated at all times and make sure to grab a bottle that’s furthest from its expiry to ensure maximum potency of the microorganisms inside each capsule.
- Read the label – Lots of quality probiotic products will contain extra vitamins and minerals for added daily health benefits, an all-in-one supplement if you will. Opt for these kinds of products instead of ones with unnecessary fillers or exposure to toxins.
- Prebiotics – As mentioned earlier, prebiotics feed your healthy bacteria. A ‘synbiotic’ product will contain both prebiotics and probiotics to give you the best and quickest results.
- Once a day – This means one tablet, capsule or serving a day. Any more than that and you risk missing a dose which you must avoid at all costs, consistency is key with probiotics!
Top 7 best probiotics for acne
#1 1MD Complete Probiotics Platinum
You really can’t go wrong with this 1MD probiotic product. With 51 billion CFU in every serving and 11 different strains, it’s guaranteed to work across a huge spectrum of health issues. Including inflammation, targeting acne-causing bacteria and improving gut health to decrease stress.
Results are in
A survey conducted in 2016 by 1MD produced some amazing results; 93% of the users that were surveyed reported having more energy and a huge 96% of users experienced better digestive health. If these results don’t convince you, then consider that 1MD will give you a full refund if you don’t see any significant results within 90 days. A great product to try risk-free, you can’t go past this one.
Price: From $79.69 (30 capsules) on Amazon
- 51 billion CFU per serving
- 11 strains of probiotic
- Once daily dose
- Contains prebiotic
- Vegan, non-GMO, gluten, soy and preservative free
- 100% money back guarantee within 90 days
- May cause temporary digestive issues in first time users due to high amount of CFU
#2 Hyperbiotics PRO-15 Probiotics
If you’ve got a sensitive stomach, Hyperbiotics Pro-15 might be the product for you. The last thing you want to worry about when trying to heal your acne is taking a probiotic supplement that upsets your tummy, causing you to stress out even more. The added technology in these ‘pearls’, which are a fraction of the size of normal capsules, ensures that the probiotics are released slowly and steadily – allowing your body to adjust instead of causing possible digestive troubles. A great option for beginners.
Dosage can be modified
Another reason this Hyperbiotics product is a great option for people who are new to the probiotic world is due to the fact that you can modify the dose to suit your health needs. 3 pearls will give you intensive probiotic therapy but even just one pearl will deliver 5 billion CFU into your gut.
Price: (60 capsules) on Amazon
- 5 billions CFU per ‘pearl’
- ‘Pearls’ are small and easy to swallow
- 15 strains of probiotics
- Modifiable dose depending on how severe acne is (up to 3 ‘pearls’ a day)
- Not as many CFU as other brands
#3 Align Probiotic Supplement
Backed by science
On the Align website, they specify that their product contains a pure strand of patented bifidobacterium – one of the best strains of probiotic for fighting off acne. This bacteria has apparently been developed by gastroenterologists with more than 10 years of scientific research backing it. This is a huge claim but with over 1,500 customer reviews on Amazon and an overall 4.5 star rating, they must be doing something right!
What the reviews say
Taking a deeper look into the reviews, many users reported having noticeable improvements to their IBS symptoms very soon after starting this product. As IBS is a chronic and difficult condition to manage, the fact that this product eases the symptoms really shows how well it works. Align Probiotics also offers a 60 day money back guarantee if you’re not satisfied.
Price: (42 capsules) on Amazon
- Once daily dose
- Can be stored at room temperature
- Money back guarantee
- Specialised strain that fights acne
- Not vegan
- Contains fillers
#4 Andalou Naturals Probiotic + C Renewal Cream
A different alternative
Capsules and pills aren’t your only probiotic option when it comes to fighting your acne. There’s a load of great creams and serums on the market that target skin renewal and repair. This moisturizer from Andalou is one such product. You’ll be able to easily incorporate it into your daily routine and your skin will thank you for it!
Along with probiotics, this product also contains fruit stem cells, Vitamin C, sunflower oil and aloe vera to fight inflammations and free radicals whilst hydrating the skin. If you’re looking for more natural goodies in your everyday routine to aid your war on pustules, this product is packed with them.
Price: $15.49 for 1.7 ounces on Amazon
- Loads of natural ingredients for brightening, moisturising and repairing skin
- Easy to incorporate into everyday routine
- Contains less probiotics than other options
#5 Eminence Clear Skin Probiotic Cleanser
Targeted acne cleanser
This Eminence cleanser aims to remove the buildup of excess oil and dirt on your skin to flush out your pores and prevent acne from developing. It has powerful natural ingredients like tea tree oil, vitamin E and lactic acid which specifically target acne and are known to improve and prevent scarring from pustules that burst (or are picked at – naughty!).
This cleanser doubles as a toner, helping to balance your skin and smooth out any uneven pigmentation over time. This will help with the redness of acne inflammation and any scarring.
Price: $44 for 8.4 ounces on Amazon
- Not tested on animals
- Environmentally friendly packaging
- Probiotics from yoghurt
- Many vitamins, minerals and natural ingredients that are gentle on the skin
- Paraben free
- Contains less probiotics than other options
#6 Probiotic Action EMERALD Sprayable Probiotic
Here’s another different option, a spray to target acne blemishes including blackheads and any inflammation on the skin’s surface. This contains a pure Bacillus strain which is known to be one of the best probiotic strains for fighting acne. It’s also been said to help with rosacea and eczema in a natural, gentle way.
Head, shoulder, knees and toes
Well, maybe not toes, but from the reviews on Amazon many consumers seem to be using this natural probiotic spray all over their body – not just their face. Everything from PCOS breakouts to hormonal acne around that time of the month can be treated with this product, simply spray after cleansing and you should see your acne reduced in no time.
Price: From $22.75 (45 day supply) on Amazon
- Convenient spray
- Strain that is known for helping with acne
- Can be used all over body
- Only one strain
- Only for mild to moderate acne
#7 Eminence Clear Skin Probiotic Moisturizer
Another great product from Eminence that boasts an ultra lightweight formula with cucumber and tea tree to fight acne, detoxify your skin and smooth your complexion out. There’s also calendula oil and shea butter to calm irritation from breakouts.
Consistency is key
Users report that this product won’t be an overnight solution so you’ll need to keep up a daily routine to see the best results, the worst complaint in this product’s reviews is that it doesn’t come in a bigger jar!
Price: (2 ounces) on Amazon
- Natural ingredients to calm irritation and detoxify skin
- Easy application
- Lightweight formula that won’t clog pores
- Users wish product came in bigger size
Writer, Product Tester.
Adele is a budding content writer with a passion for all things health and fitness related. In her time off Adele enjoys reading, travelling and exploring Sydney’s culinary delights.