It wasn’t too long ago when we all shuddered at the thought of bacteria residing beneath our skin. Since the pandemic, most of us still never leave home without an arsenal of sanitizer and masks to eliminate these tiny critters, fungi, and viruses. Collectively known as the microbiome, these microorganisms make up around 1 to 3 percent of the human body’s mass. In fact, the average person has around 1,000 species of bacteria on their skin and gut microbiome.
Recently, we’re all realizing that bacteria isn’t always the enemy after all. Some help keep harmful viruses at bay, maintain gut health, and prevent environmental stress (among other benefits!). One particular byproduct of bacteria is taking over the skincare world: postbiotics. Now, postbiotics aren’t exactly new in dermatology. You might even recognize them as your peptides, glycerol, and lactic acid. But what are postbiotics exactly? And what makes them so promising?
What are postbiotics?
By now, you’re probably more familiar with prebiotics and probiotic bacteria, which are easily found in common foods like yogurt, pickles, and kombucha. Think of them as the interior designers of your gut. While probiotics increase the good bacteria in your body, prebiotics give good bacteria nutrients to grow and enrich the microbiome.
What are postbiotics then? Simply put, they’re the endgame of probiotics and prebiotics — the metabolic by-products created during the fermentation process of probiotic bacteria. Some examples of postbiotics are enzymes, peptides, peptidoglycan-derived muropeptides, polysaccharides, cell surface proteins and organic acids.
The role of postbiotics in skincare
In essence, postbiotic skincare cuts out the middlemen (AKA prebiotics and probiotics) to deliver the good stuff— postbiotics! — directly to the skin and reap the benefits. After all, it’s not the bacteria themselves that’s actually improving our skin’s condition, but the byproducts.
Experts classify postbiotics into five broad types:
- Nutrients — Your usual B vitamins, vitamin K, and some amino acids.
- Short-chain fatty acids — Helps balance the gut’s pH to prevent pathogen growth.
- Bacteriocins — Also known as antimicrobial peptides, which also prevent “bad” bacterial growth.
- Carbohydrates — Helps probiotics digest fibers.
- Hydrogen Peroxide — Prevents the growth of infection-causing yeast like Candida.
Postbiotics have similar benefits to prebiotics and probiotics, in that they also support the good bacteria on your microbiome. So what else can postbiotics do for your skin?
- Helps reduce inflammation
Inflammation is the root cause of several skin concerns, such as redness, acne, and eczema. Postbiotics have been found to have anti-inflammatory properties, which means that they can help temper inflammation in the skin.
- Hydrates and strengthens the skin barrier
Move over, hyaluronic acid. Postbiotics may just supercharge your next moisturizer, as research shows that they can help enhance skin’s hydration levels, boost elasticity, and promote the production of ceramides — all of which keep your skin barrier strong and healthy.
- Prevents signs of aging
Perhaps one of its most exciting benefits, studies reveal that postbiotics can support collagen production and reduce the signs of aging. As we age, our skin loses its natural ability to generate collagen and elastin, which is what leads to wrinkles and fine lines. With postbiotics, you benefit from amino acids that firm, smooth, and protect the skin from environmental damage.
- Restoring balance in your microbiome
From the food we eat to the products we slather on, everything we do to our skin has some effect on our microbiome. Layering all these ingredients and chemicals impacts our microbiome’s ability to survive and thrive. As such, it’s never been more important to use microbiome-friendly products. Remember, an unbalanced flora can lead to a plethora of issues — be it acne and sensitivity, or dryness and eczema flare-ups.
Postbiotics in Pure Culture
- Lactobacillus Ferment
This is a type of probiotic bacteria that produces lactic acid, which helps to regulate the skin's pH levels, exfoliate dead skin cells, and improve hydration.
It is created through the fermentation of Lactobacillus, a type of probiotic bacteria. During the fermentation process, the bacteria produce lysates, which are enzymatically digested cell wall fragments. These lysates are then collected and added to skincare products. Lactobacillus Ferment Lysate contains a range of beneficial compounds, such as peptides, amino acids, and vitamins, that can help to improve the overall health and appearance of the skin.
Lactobacillus Ferment Lysate is known for its ability to balance the skin's microbiome, which can help to improve the skin's barrier function and reduce inflammation. It can also help to exfoliate dead skin cells, improve hydration, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
It is found in all of Pure Culture’s clean skincare products, from our Wild Algae for oily to acne-prone skin, our Bulgarian Rose line for dry and mature skin, and our high performance body soap bar called Biome Bars.
- Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate:
Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate is a postbiotic ingredient derived from fermented sake, a traditional Japanese rice wine. It is created through the fermentation of Galactomyces, a type of yeast that is naturally found on the skin. During the fermentation process, the yeast produces various byproducts and metabolites, which are then collected and added to skincare products.
Galactomyces is known for its ability to improve the overall health and appearance of the skin. It contains a range of beneficial compounds, such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and enzymes, that can help to hydrate, brighten, and smoothen the skin. It can also help to regulate sebum production, reduce the appearance of pores, and improve the skin's barrier function.
It is commonly found in skincare products, such as toners, serums, and moisturizers. It is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin, and is often used as an alternative to harsher exfoliants, such as AHAs and BHAs.
It is found in Wild Algae Super Skin Tonic which is a state-of-the-art multi-use, antibacterial and calming toner-slash-essence with MicroSilver that gives a lit-from-within glow. It is also in Green Caviar Miracle Matter Bar 2.0, our new and improved body bar for detoxifying skin all over.
At Pure Culture, as we continue to promote natural skincare in the Philippines, bacteria are our friends, not foes. All our formulas are designed to work with your microbiome, not against it — using bio-compatible ingredients that effectively address inflammation, diminish signs of aging, boost collagen production, and more. On top of this, we’ve got a comprehensive Heck No checklist, making sure to avoid harsh ingredients that may just compromise your skin barrier and strip it of all bacteria (including the good guys).
As beauty continues to embrace bacteria, microbiome-friendly skincare products are becoming less of a trend, and more of a movement towards a holistic approach to healthy skin, and we’re here for it.