Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist -  Written by Akruti Khandkar (Journalist)  on 07th Jan 2021

How do Probiotics and Prebiotics work in your skincare routine? 

How do Probiotics and Prebiotics work

When it comes to Probiotics and Prebiotics in skincare, these have similar functions as both work on the digestive system. These medications help to keep the surface level stable. The surface level is the skin's ideal condition in which it is neither too dry nor too oily. The surface level of the skin can battle all the environmental dermis that leads to inflammation or acne. If you desire skin free from breakouts, acne, burning sensation, and inflammation, you should incorporate probiotics & prebiotics in your skincare routine. Let us learn how probiotics and prebiotics work in your skincare routine

Firstly, what are probiotics, and what is their role in skincare?  

We all know how probiotics work in our digestive system. Probiotics are good bacteria that colonize your gut with healthy microorganisms. However, probiotics are available in many fermented pickles, raw vegetables, and fruit or dairy products and can also be consumed as supplements. In skincare, probiotics work similarly as it does to your body. Probiotics help in skin inflammation and make your skin healthy. Access to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, probiotics and prebiotics both work wonders for acne, photo-protection, and wound healing.  

Do you know?

The microorganisms present in the skin include fungi, viruses, and bacteria, systematically arranged in the three groupings: resident, temporary and transient.

Now, what are Prebiotics?  

Prebiotics are obtained from carbohydrates, mostly fibers that humans are unable to digest. Prebiotics help healthy bacteria (probiotics) to grow in your gut leading to a smoother digestive system. Prebiotics are available in legumes, fruits, and vegetables. They, too, are available in supplement form. Prebiotics work hand in hand with probiotics and also benefit the skin if applied together. Prebiotics keep the skin surface healthy and makes it capable of defending against other harmful microorganisms. It also treats redness, aging, dryness, and weakened surface.  

Do you know?

The term 'Prebiotics' was first coined in 1995 for non-digested food ingredients, which advantage the host by empowering certain gut microorganisms.  

Are probiotics essential for acne-prone skin?

Some clinical examinations show that there is a connection between taking probiotics and assisting your skin with recuperating skin acne. Probiotics can achieve valuable development in skin wellbeing, just as a decrease in follicle-clogging up because of irritation and poisons. In all likelihood, probiotics could be the most favorable future treatment for eczema, allergic inflammation, wound protection, UV-induced skin damage, atopic dermatitis, and skin hypersensitivity.

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What are other skin benefits of Probiotics?  

Other than acne treatment, probiotics offer three other benefits:  

1. Act as a protective shield 

When probiotics are used topically to the skin's surface, it works as a defensive shield to fight fungi, toxins, and bad bacteria. In simpler terms, the effective probiotics sit between the skin's surface and the unwanted poisons to avoid them from coming into contact with the skin and inciting an immune reaction.  

2. Antimicrobial activity  

When used topically or as a supplement in food or a pill attacks and kills the bacteria. This situation denotes the term 'antimicrobial' as it retaliates against harmful microorganisms to keep them from making skin irritation that leads to acne.  

3. Calming impact  

According to the Journal of Gut Pathology, experts prove a connection between the functioning of the gut, skin, and brain. When harmful organisms thrive in the body, they trigger the resistant framework in the body. The fight produces aggravation as the resistant framework conflicts with the attacking microorganisms.

Taking probiotics topically or as a supplement is said to calm that inflammatory reaction and decrease skin inflammation. 


The International Journal of Dermatology backs up the fact that utilization of probiotics can change the skin's microbiome to repulse undesirable poisons, lessen irritation and microscopic organisms and guard against skin inflammation.  

4. Atopic Dermatitis

A study reveals that probiotics are beneficial in the treatment of atopic dermatitis. It helps in reducing the SCORAD (Scoring Atopic Dermatitis) and stimulating cytokine production. Cytokines are a group of glycoproteins, proteins, or peptides that signal molecules to regulate and mediate inflammation and immunity. Probiotics work on SCORAD by modifying the immunogenicity of potential allergens. 

5. Anti-aging impact  

Probiotics may likewise secure the skin against photoaging. Research shows that probiotics inherit an anti-aging potential and improves elasticity, skin hydration, and reversing UV induced aging. Studies also show the positive impacts on wound healing, rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis, and other eczema types.  

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What are the benefits of Prebiotics? 

Unlike probiotics, prebiotics don't contain bacteria. They just support the bacteria to develop. Prebiotics provide tons of benefits.

Some of the most prominent ones are: 

  • Prebiotics, which are a hotspot for microorganisms, are likewise useful in recalibrating the skin microbiome. Probiotics are the heroes, and prebiotics contain what the heroes consume to ensure they flourish and multiply.  
  • The benefits of prebiotics are co-related to the benefits of probiotics
  • Prebiotics likewise advance a more different cluster of microorganisms, and variety is critical to good skin. 
  • Prebiotics can be applied to the skin microbiota (the surface layer of skin) directly and increment specifically the movement and development of valuable 'typical' skin microbiota. Although little research has been done about the adequacy of topically applied Prebiotics.  
  • Nourishing items containing prebiotics and probiotics affect the skin by regulating the insusceptible framework and giving practical advantages to atopic illnesses.  
  • Prebiotics help rebalance the skin microbiome, including water, carbon, water, nitrogen (amino acids), and oligo-elements (calcium, manganese, selenium, magnesium, sulfur, etc.)  
  • Most of the work concerning prebiotics utilization to improve the skin microbiome has been centered on atopic dermatitis as a sound. A healthy microbiome is viewed as the utmost important part of a solid skin surface.  
  • Some studies prove that patients with psoriasis and other skin illnesses like rosacea may profit from Prebiotics. 

Who should add prebiotic to their skincare routine?  

A balanced microbiome is an essential need for everyone's skin. If your skin isn't looking and feeling as youthful and healthy as it used to, there's a decent possibility your microbiome could be unstable or unbalanced. Everybody can profit from Prebiotics, particularly those with an undermined skin hindrance or affectability. Prebiotics are likewise reasonable acne-prone skin, and a considerable lot of them offer a double reason as normally hydrating elements for the skin.  


A blend of prebiotics and probiotics will convey the best outcomes, guaranteeing skin has what it needs to keep its obstruction unblemished, smooth, and solid-looking skin. 

Do you know:

Items that contain both prebiotics and probiotics are alluded to as Synbiotics.  

Can we use prebiotics and probiotics together?  

Probiotics are a real microbe that can recharge the gut microscopic organisms — however, they can get slaughtered by the body, particularly if it's not naturally occurring. Interestingly, Prebiotics is a type of dietary fiber found in food that specifically takes care of the great microbes.

And keeping in mind that the two might be incomprehensibly unique, consolidating both into your everyday lives is a formula for progress.

As per the Dermatology Times, the blend of prebiotic and probiotic uncovered that those with atopic dermatitis experienced colossal alleviation in the wake of following a skincare routine comprising the two. Several studies prove the intensity of Atopic dermatitis decreasing in children when following the synbiotic treatment.  

Side Effects of prebiotics and probiotics  

Although the utilization of prebiotics and probiotics is, for the most part, safe for individuals, there are rare cases where a healthy individual gets debilitated after ingesting particular kinds of microorganisms contained in probiotics. It is advised to use probiotics with caution among critically ill patients or severely immunocompromised in the case of probiotics as it can be infectious.

If the individual is taking antibiotics, it should be separated from bacteria-derived probiotics within a gap of two hours. Individuals taking prebiotics can experience bloating and gas. Diarrhea and abdominal pain are common after the consumption of large doses.

In the case of a synbiotic routine, there are some common side effects. Constipation, gas, and loss of appetite are common, particularly toward the start of the routine. The tolerance towards the side-effect depends on the individual's sensitivity factor and the dose of medication.  


Not all probiotics and prebiotic will work a similar route for you, and not every person needs to take them.

To avoid the use of supplements and their side-effects, eat an appropriate amount of prebiotic and probiotic food that will help maintain a balance of good and bad bacteria. Consult your dermatologist before using any supplement and read the product labels to ensure you aren't allergic to it.