Probiotics are widely known to aid with constipation and poor digestion, but lesser known is the positive role healthy gut bacteria can play in treating and preventing acne. Only ten years ago, the popular consensus among dermatologists was that diet played only a limited role in the onset of acne. Today, however, popular opinion in the scientific community is beginning to shift, and clinical studies are concluding that probiotic products can have a tremendous positive effect on the skin-- shorter flare-ups, reduction of cysts, smoother complexion, and improved self-esteem. And while the first instinct of many dermatologists will be to prescribe expensive topical medication, an increasing number are beginning to recognize the essential role dietary intervention plays in the elimination of acne-- a role in which probiotics are key.
Lucky for the consumer, high-quality probiotic products do not require a prescription or even a great deal of money. This article will introduce two excellent ways to add probiotic bacteria to your diet. These are the remedies your dermatologist should be prescribing for your acne.
Naturally Fermented Foods
Fermented food products such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha tea, and kefir are all rich in healthy strains of probiotic bacteria. This is especially true when they are cultivated at home, as many commercial brands contain preservatives that diminish the probiotic content. Organic probiotic food products are recognized as being just as effective as pills in the treatment of acne. Some even argue they are superior.
Cultivating your own probiotic bacteria can be as simple as adding a packet of dried strains to tea (as with kombucha) or milk (for kefir and yogurt) and letting the concoction sit at room temperature. Sauerkraut requires a little more work, shredding, salting, and packing cabbage until it is submerged in its own natural juices. But after that it is only a matter of waiting. The process that takes place is called anaerobic fermentation. Once oxygen is removed from their environment, dormant bacteria "wake up" and begin converting sugar to lactic acid-- the probiotic micro-organisms that offer such a myriad of health benefits. Despite the learning curve, the cost for making these foods at home is minimal, and instructions can be found all over the internet.
While store-bought probiotic pills are arguably the most convenient way to introduce healthy bacteria into your gut, they are also the most expensive. You must also be careful-- while some of them certainly work, not all probiotic pills are created equal. In fact, some are flat-out duds. Look for pills with at least 20 billion microflora per serving and a wide variety of culture strains. Every person's body will differ, but consumers have generally reported best results from servings of 50-100 billion bacteria. It is important to read customer reviews on various products to form a realistic idea of how it may affect your body positively or negatively.