What Happened When I Only Used 'Probiotic Skin Care' for 2 Weeks

probiotic skin careprobiotic skin care

You’ve heard about prebiotics and probiotics for your gut, but what about… for your face?

Prebiotic and probiotic skin care isn’t new, but considering how much we all love guzzling fermented products like kombucha, kimchi, miso and pickled anything, I thought it was about time to bring bacteria back.

‘Microbiome’ skin care sounds like a bit of a fad, but is there more to putting prebiotics and probiotics on your skin? I swapped all my usual skin care for a routine made up of only prebiotic and probiotic skincare products to see if there were any noticeable changes to my skin.

Here’s what happened…

Prebiotics vs Probiotics - What’s The Difference?

They sound similar, but probiotics and prebiotics in skin care play different roles in maintaining a healthy skin barrier - your skin’s line of defence that keeps the good in and the bad out.

Just like your gut, your skin has its own microbiome made up of trillions of microbes, including ‘bad bacteria’, and ‘good bacteria’ like probiotics, says Katy Bacon, education director for Murad Australia. 

“Probiotics are body-friendly bacteria that help balance the levels of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria to help strengthen the immune system and support the body’s ability to remain healthy.”

If probiotics are a type of good bacteria, what are prebiotics?

“Think of prebiotics as being fertiliser for the skin. Prebiotics are beneficial fibre that feed ‘good bacteria’ such as probiotics.”

You can learn more about your skin barrier in this episode of the Beauty IQ Uncensored podcast below!

Benefits of Prebiotics and Probiotics in Skin Care.

Both prebiotics and probiotics in topical skin care can help keep your skin barrier and microbiome healthy. Signs of a weakened skin barrier include dehydration, sensitivity, itching, irritation, acne and other inflammatory skin conditions.

“Prebiotic skin care is good for everyone, but particularly for those who have sensitive skin or sensitised skin due to an impaired barrier because it helps to rebalance the microbiome, increase hydration and restore the healthy functions of the skin,” Katy says.

In other words, prebiotic and probiotic skin care is akin to meditation and affirmations for distressed skin.

Best Prebiotic and Probiotic Skincare Products.

OK, that all sounds wonderful, but is this prebiotic/probiotic skin care and microbiome chat legit, or just marketing speak?

Here are my honest thoughts on six popular prebiotic and probiotic skincare products after trialling them for two weeks.

The Prebiotic Cleanser and Mist.

Murad Prebiotic 4-in-1 Multi Cleanser & Murad 3-in-1 MultiMist Murad Prebiotic 4-in-1 Multi Cleanser & Murad 3-in-1 MultiMist 

What: Murad Prebiotic 4-in-1 Multi Cleanser 148mL and Murad Prebiotic 3-in-1 MultiMist 100mL

What they say they do: Murad’s vegan cleanser and mist contain plant-based sources of prebiotics, like an activated blend of lactobacillus prebiotic bacteria (probiotics in skin care usually comes from dairy). The cleanser promises to remove even the most stubborn makeup and grime, without stripping the skin. And the mist reckons it can hydrate and prime the skin, and set your makeup.

My review: UM, this mist is my new favourite thing. I now know why Adore’s Senior Editor Amy Clark won’t shut up about it. The scent is heavenly and I used it morning and night, but I was shook to find it really does work as a makeup priming and setting spray. Applying before my base actually makes my makeup sit better!

The cleanser's gentle gel-to-oil formula was pretty good at breaking down my makeup when massaged into dry skin. Very gentle and no stinging on the eyes - would highly recommend this cleanser to my sensitive skin pals.

The Probiotic Exfoliant.

The Beauty Chef Probiotic Skin RefinerThe Beauty Chef Probiotic Skin Refiner

What: The Beauty Chef Probiotic Skin Refiner

What it says it does: An exfoliant, skin hydrator and collagen booster, this probiotic-rich product is made from bio-fermented goodies like organic grown grains, grasses, algaes including spirulina and chlorella, seeds and legumes. Lactic acid plumps the skin and helps with cell turnover. Being in my 30s (when cell turnover slows down), this was music to my ears. 

My review: You should know, this bio-fermented product smells like… a bio-fermented product. But it did a stellar job of sloughing off that extra grime after my cleanse. I experienced a mild tingle, but I know this just means it’s doing its job. Apply a couple of nights a week by soaking a cotton pad. You'd use this product in place of any other chemical exfoliants.

The Cult Prebiotic and Probiotic Serum.

Lancôme Advanced Génifique SerumLancôme Advanced Génifique Serum

What: Lancôme Advanced Génifique Serum

What does it say it does: The product description of this cult anti-ageing Lancôme Genifique serum reads, “Every dropper delivers 30 million pre and probiotic fractions to the skin*; delivering essential nutrients to the skin's microbiome.” Woah.

My review: This serum has a light, watery consistency that felt silky on the skin, but deeply hydrating at the same time. It's expensive, but you get so much out of each drop - I only used half of the prefilled dose per application. If you’re on the oily side, the serum is hydrating enough that you could skip your moisturiser or go straight to sunscreen in the morning. My skin felt supple after applying and I noticed a slight glow when I woke up the next morning. Although I’m sure it’s all of these great products working together, I think this serum played a big part.

The Probiotic Hydrating Mask.

 Aspect Probiotic Mask Aspect Probiotic Mask

What: Aspect Probiotic Mask

What it says it does: Bursting with probiotic and humectant (water-retaining) ingredients like grape seed oil, orange peel oil, lactic acid and glycerin, this mask is about as close as you can get to a big bottle of fancy water for your face.

My review: I now know why people (including Adore’s Joanna Fleming) rave about this radiance-boosting mask. The rich, creamy texture melted into my skin, but it doesn’t feel heavy like a moisturiser. It gave my skin an unparalleled glow when used as pre-makeup skin prep - here’s what my skin looked like wearing makeup after applying, no highlighter!

Murad 3-in-1 MultiMist reviewMurad 3-in-1 MultiMist review

You can use it as a night mask, and when I did, I woke up looking luminous the next morning. My face looked and felt firmer, and kind of – more youthful. Sounds weird but it’s true, I kept looking in the mirror and thinking, what is this sorcery? I’ll definitely be repurchasing this tube.

The Probiotic Sheet Mask.

 Cosmedix Micro Defense Microbiome Sheet Mask Cosmedix Micro Defense Microbiome Sheet Mask

What: Cosmedix Micro Defense Microbiome Sheet Mask 5 pack

What it says it does: If you want to increase skin moisture levels and strengthen your skin barrier, this one’s for you. The probiotic-soaked sheet mask is infused with Alpha-glucan Oligosaccharide, and almond and coconut oils.

My review: OH MA GAWDDDD did this mask deliver. There really isn’t enough time to tell you just how much I was into this sheet mask. If your skin is dry and you want juicy-skin-on-steroids, you better add this to cart right now. No really, go. You will thank me, I promise. 

It smells like a floral dream and after massaging the juicy serum residue from the mask into my skin, I was left with a much brighter and healthier-looking complexion. My face still looked bright and even-toned the NEXT day, which made me wish I’d saved this for an under makeup day. I sent a picture to a close makeup artist friend - she said she's going to order some for her wedding clients, stat.

 Cosmedix Micro Defense Microbiome Sheet Mask review Cosmedix Micro Defense Microbiome Sheet Mask review

So, turns out prebiotic and probiotic skin care isn’t just buzzy marketing speak. In fact, I’ve already spread the word far and wide, telling anyone who will listen about how it can help heal your skin barrier AND give you glowy skin.

Honestly, I didn’t realise I had dull-looking skin until I saw the noticeable results from using these products. My complexion looks brighter, more even and healthier - like I’ve just downed five litres of Glow Powder.

The standouts? It has to be the mist, mask and sheet mask. And the serum. But even if you add just one of these prebiotic and probiotic products to your routine, your skin barrier will love you sick.