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Recent research has shown that probiotics can actually lead to an improvement in an individual's complexion. Defined by The World Health Organization (WHO) as live microorganisms. When administered in adequate amounts, probiotics can confer health benefits on the 'host' (GI tract) in the human body. Health care practitioners have embraced probiotics as one component of a more holistic way of treating health conditions including those affecting the skin. One of the latest buzzwords in nutrition, probiotics are widely regarded as being essential to staying and aging well.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics have been used by various cultures for centuries to reduce symptoms associated with diarrhea, constipation and vaginitis; to improve the digestion of lactose-containing dairy products and in some instances to help control acne when applied topically to skin. They are found in foods such as sour cream, kefir, sauerkraut and kimchee.
In Europe and Asia, probiotics are more widely accepted by medical practitioners and consumers. Their use in the control of acne, signs of aging, immune functions and other aspects of skin care have been studied.
One of the first probiotics to be introduced for treating skin conditions was Bioecolia (alpha glucan oligosaccharide). This ingredient has been shown to help balance the ecosystems of the skin and scalp during times of stress, exposure to airborne pollutants or through the use of harsh cleansers and sanitizers. Several European companies as well as some in the US feature the use of Bioecolia in topical products for the treatment of acne, dandruff and baby products.
How Do Probiotics Contribute To Healthy Skin?
In addition to their benefits when applied topically, probiotics are thought to improve the health of the gut or gastrointestinal system. The gut contains bacteria that are both beneficial and detrimental to health. Probiotics contribute to an increase of the 'good' bacteria, which can help to minimize or even neutralize the effects of bacteria that are considered hostile or detrimental to health. Good bacteria can also help to inhibit the growth of disease producing bacteria as well as aid in the synthesis of vitamins, improve the uptake of minerals and stimulate the immune system.
Since the skin is a reflection of inner health, it's not surprising that if you suffer from digestive disturbances, your complexion may become sensitive, appear unhealthy, discolored, mottled and pasty. Probiotics can help to change the environment that results in digestive problems. As a result, many conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome, have benefited from consumption of probiotics. And, researchers have shown that conditions including sensitive and acneic skin can also improve.
If you are interested in incorporating probiotic foods into your diet, try to consume them naturally in foods. And if you'd like to supplement, choose a reputable brand to ensure that you're getting what you pay for.
Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti aging skin care and women's wellness. She owns and operates an online skin care store at PharmacyMix.com and a wellness consulting practice at MidlifeBalance.com.