Get healthier skin with postbiotics

Get healthier skin with postbiotics

Christine Løkkebø,

If you’re reading this, then you probably already know that probiotics, with live bacteria, are really, really good for your skin and its microbiome. Yet here we are, about to explain to you why postbiotics can also be beneficial.

 The lowdown of pre-, pro-, and postbiotics

Before we dive into postbiotics, let’s get a handle on the vocabulary of pre- and probiotics.

Probiotics are live micro-organisms (bacteria) that confer a health benefit for the host (that’s you) when present in adequate amounts—both in your gut, and on the skin.

Prebiotics are certain fibers that work as a kind of “superfood” for the probiotic bacteria—they give the probiotics energy to carry out all their beneficial activities as they’re working on your skin.

Postbiotics—as you can almost hear from the name—means ”after living”.

Postbiotics are dead probiotic bacteria and all the metabolites that they produced whilst they were still alive.

Growing probiotic lactic acid is what you would call “fermentation” in lay man’s terms. It’s a process in which the bacteria start breaking down, for example, vegetables. During the fermentation process the bacteria multiply and produce beneficial by-products, that we call metabolites. Metabolites are the bacteria’s “output” from just being alive and doing their thing.

The bacteria continue to produce metabolites until they die. And it’s the sum of the dead bacteria and the metabolites that constitutes postbiotics.

Vitamins, antioxidants, amino acids and much, much more.

Even though postbiotics are dead bacteria, they can still contribute all kinds of goodness for your skin.

Just like probiotics, the postbiotics take up space on your skin, and thereby leave less room for pathogenic (harmful) bacteria. Furthermore, their metabolites contain some essential goodness that makes your skin healthier.

Amongst other things, the metabolites consist of important vitamins, amino acids, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory substances and much more. In other words, many of the ingredients you would look for in your skincare products. With pro and postbiotics you get them all in one!

In a sense, postbiotic skincare is more similar to ”ordinary” skincare because the beneficial ingredients are there, but they’re not being multiplied continuously anymore as is the case with probiotic/live bacteria skincare.

So, when should you use what?

Because probiotics are alive, they’re also more sensitive to their environment and require special care to stay alive and keep producing metabolites. But if you can manage all that, then they’re really the most “bang for your buck”.

So, even if postbiotics also inhibit pathogenic bacteria, the live bacteria are more potent in terms of rebalancing the microbiome (since they multiply) and actively create metabolites.  

If your skin’s microbiome is very imbalanced, signified by symptoms like breakouts, irritated or itchy skin, then probiotic bacteria will be the biggest help. They will actively go in and compete with the bad bacteria for nutrients, and thus help the skin get back into balance.

Postbiotic’s claim to fame lies more in the beneficial effect of the metabolites that help to nourish and strengthen the skin. So, if your skin concerns are less acute, like for example dry skin but without rashes or sores, then postbiotics should be enough to improve the skin’s general condition and restore health.