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Prebiotics in Skincare

What Are They and How Do They Work?

It’s no secret that the world is going organic. From allergen-free foods to grass-fed beef to cleaner energy. Health and skincare products are certainly not exempt from this trend.

Over the past five to ten years, the public has questioned mainline skincare products and the unpronounceable list of chemicals we apply to our largest organ every day.

Likewise, we’re beginning to see just how much the chemicals in our food and skincare products affect our day-to-day health and energy levels. 

If you struggle with skin conditions that mainline products don’t seem to be alleviating, or you just want to overhaul the health of your skin altogether, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. 

Should you buy prebiotics? Probiotics? What about organic? What does that even mean?

In this post, you’ll learn the difference between prebiotics and probiotics, and why we believe prebiotic skincare is one of the best ways to not only kick pesky skin conditions but introduce clean, plant-based substances to your skin that your body loves.

Let’s dive in!

Prebiotics vs. Probiotics

Firstly, let’s address the crucial distinction between prebiotics and probiotics. At some point, you may have had a doctor tell you to “take your probiotics.” That’s good advice, but probiotics aren’t just for your gut. 

In a previous blog post, we explained the complexity of your body’s microbiome - the living “society” of healthy bacteria - that resides both in your gut and on your skin. Therefore, the same idea behind ingesting probiotic supplements to spur on healthy bacteria growth lies behind applying probiotics to the skin.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, we still need to talk about the differences between prebiotics and probiotics.

Probiotics are substances or foods that actually contain living bacteria. Some examples include yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, and kimchi. Generally, if it’s fermented, there’s a high chance it contains healthy bacteria.

Prebiotics, on the other hand, are specialized plant fibers that stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria in the body. 

Hence the “pre” prefix, these plant fibers (which can be consumed orally or applied to the skin) are the catalyst for good bacteria growth, leading to a healthy and well-balanced microbiome on both the skin and in the gut.

Why Prebiotics are Superior

Probiotics certainly have their place, but the superiority of prebiotics for skin and gut health lie in the fact that everyone’s microbiome is different.

This means the species of bacteria that your skin needs to thrive may be very different than the species my body needs. If you were to stop at the local health store and peruse the probiotics section, you’d likely be overwhelmed at all the species of bacteria included in each supplement or skincare product. 

Another way of thinking about probiotics is as a “one-size-fits-all” approach.

But how can you possibly know which supplement or product or bacterial species will yield the best result for your unique genetic makeup? 

That’s where prebiotics come in. Prebiotics don’t dictate the exact species of bacteria that grow in your gut and on your skin, but simply create the most ideal conditions for these bacteria to grow and flourish.

Okay, so what? We’ve spent all this time talking about the difference between prebiotics and probiotics, but what does it mean for someone like you, who actually wants to have clear skin, more energy, and a chemical-free life?

The Effects of Healthy Bacteria on the Skin

This research paper,  published in 2018, collected multiple clinical studies dating all the way from 1961 to 2016 that introduced healthy bacteria into adults with acne. The result was a tremendous decrease in visible lesions, with a recorded 80% of patients experiencing clear skin. 

Across the board, almost miraculous levels of healing were reported in individuals with dermatitis, psoriasis, and other skin conditions.

Due to the fact that prebiotic products are plant-based and safe for children, the paper also reports several incidents of infant and child skin conditions improving as a result of healthy bacteria on the skin.

This is why we’re so passionate about healing the whole person at Aleavia. Removing the visible effects of skin conditions is a great place to start, but ditching the chemicals and renewing the body’s natural chemistry from the inside out can provide life-changing results in all areas. 


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I switched from an organic body wash to the Aleavia green tea honeysuckle body wash as I am still in the process of switching to even cleaner products and removing myself further from chemicals. Since I already was using a fairly clean body wash before, I didn’t think I would notice much of a difference. I had a slight case of keratosis pilaris on my arms that showed up the last few years and suddenly it was gone in a week! I am quite pale and got a pretty good case of sunburn on vacation recently. I ALWAYS peel but this time I actually got a bit of a tan! It has to be Aleavia as my body didn’t peel but my face did and I don’t yet use Aleavia face wash. I am so excited and will be ordering some more body wash for my husband! He has very rough bumpy skin and I just think Aleavia will cure it!

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