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Myths and facts about probiotics

June 12 2020 – Martin Engervik

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Did you know that our founder, Marina Engervik, writes professional articles for the Norwegian beauty industry magazine 'Kosmetikk'? They recently published an article on probiotics that Marina has written. Here you can read the entire article (translated from norwegian to english):


Myths and facts about probiotics

It is often stated that probiotics can fix almost all skin problems, but what is right and what is wrong? Marina Engervik from Marina Miracle has studied research reports to find out what is right about the claims about probiotics.

Text: Marina Elisabeth Engervik
Foto: Dreamstime/Marina Miracle

On and inside our skin there are thousands of microbes - live bacteria - on average we have 19 strains of good bacteria on our skin. In these strains, there are thousands different bacterial species, and each of the species consists of billions of bacteria. We understand that the microbiome of the skin is infinitely complicated. It is a huge area of research, and we have barely scratched the surface of it. There is still a lot we don't know, and there is more and more information and research available on the topic. This article presents what we know right now, at the time of writing.


It is confirmed that probiotics can treat acne

It has been confirmed that probiotics can have a good effect on acne, and several studies have been conducted using probiotic creams to directly attack the bacteria that causes acne (Propionibacterium acnes). In one of the studies; in which the test subjects used a probiotic cream daily for eight weeks, over half of the test persons got rid of acne almost completely, compared to those using a placebo cream. Several similar studies have been completed to confirm these results, with half or more noticeably improving after treatment with probiotic cream.

It is said that with these good bacteria and with the peptides they produce, one can inhibit the further development of the acne bacterium, attenuate the inflammation of the skin and reduce the development of new acne.


It is confirmed that probiotics prevent sun damage and is anti-aging

There are several reasons of how probiotics can prevent sun damage and be an anti-aging agent, but one of them is the pH of the skin. A healthy and young skin has a pH between 4.2 and 5.6. It is the bacteria that produce acidic molecules that adjust the pH of the environment on the skin. If the microbiome is unbalanced, the pH level of the skin will increase. It will therefore also age faster because it needs to be in a favorable, slightly acidic pH to be strong enough to withstand pathogenic bacteria and to maintain good humidity, according to the International Journal of Women's Dermatology. Interesting attempts have also been made to strengthen the skin barrier with probiotics to prevent sun damage. It has been shown to produce good results in that the skin is both more resilient and that existing wrinkles are somewhat reduced. Therefore, we can confirm that probiotics have an anti-aging effect.


Postbiotics have not been confirmed to be more effective than probiotics

When we know that the skin's microbiome is so finely tuned and complicated, is it safe to start manipulating this by adding millions of new, good bacteria? Can it adversely affect balance and skin barrier? There are several researchers in the field who are skeptical about the use of probiotics in skin care. Some say that it will be safer and more effective to affect the environment of the skin's microbiome, than to affect the living microbiome itself, writes CosmeticsDesign-Europe. The theory is that in this way one will optimize the environment for the bacteria so that the skin reaches a healthy balance. Then there are the post-biotics that apply, ie remains, non-viable by-products from good bacteria that the microbiome can use to build itself up. We know that both prebiotics and postbiotics are vital for probiotic bacteria to function well. The bacteria feed on prebiotics, and then they use building blocks from postbiotics. That postbiotics are actually a better choice than probiotics is still unconfirmed, and something that is being researched further.


It is not confirmed that probiotics can treat psoriasis

There are studies showing that probiotics can treat psoriasis when taking probiotics as supplements. But good research remains to be done on whether probiotic creams have an effect on psoriasis. This is a skin condition where the skin barrier has been shown to be weakened and affected by pathogenic bacteria. So in theory it should work to treat psoriasis with probiotics directly on the skin to strengthen the skin barrier, but it has not been confirmed in studies yet.


Probiotics have been proven to be uneffective against atopic eczema

Atopic eczema is a very common skin disease. As many as 20 percent of children and four percent of adults worldwide have this skin disease. The fact that probiotics can cure atopic eczema is something many claim, and this is perhaps what has been researched the most in terms of probiotics in skin care. I have atopic eczema myself, so I was very interested in whether this was actually true. In one of the reports I read, there were twelve isolated studies involving over 700 people with atopic eczema, using both probiotics and placebo. The results show that there was no difference in what was used. All further research studies on this show the same result: Using probiotics in the treatment of atopic eczema unfortunately has no effect. Nevertheless, many people are researching this further because they have such a strong belief that there may be a method where probiotics can cure atopic eczema. 


What is probiotic fermentation?

When fermenting nettle in an already completed probiotic culture, you will get the best of both worlds.
- That's what we do in our products, and it's called probiotic fermentation. The process often starts with sprouted seeds, and when the raw material is ready for fermentation, we blend it with our probiotic culture, which consists of a total of 12 bacterial species. During the fermentation process, which takes at least 30 days, the active ingredients in the raw material are converted into a ferment. This is carefully filtered and treated, leaving a probiotic fermented juice containing both pre-, pro- and post-biotic together with enzymes, vitamins, minerals and nutrients from the raw material. In this way, the skin receives, not only probiotics that can support the microbiome, but also nutrition that more easily penetrates the skin, and so the skin is strengthened, improved and more balanced, explains Marina Elisabeth Engervik.