Daily supplementation with Lactobacillus rhamnosus SP1 can help improve skin appearance in acne sufferers. [Image: Bigstock]

Daily probiotic improves acne-prone skin

12 January, 2018

Natural Health News Supplementing with probiotics may help the appearance of adult acne, according to new research, and may also hit at a much deeper connection between gut and skin health than previously understood.

In recent years, probiotics have become synonymous with helping maintain good digestive health. Whether as live active cultures found in some yogurts or as daily supplements, probiotics are live, “friendly” bacteria that may benefit a person’s health.

Now, emerging research is suggesting that the benefits of probiotics may extend beyond the digestive tract to the skin. In fact, skin prone to acne or rosacea has shown improvement with daily probiotic use, giving dermatologists reason to consider supplementing traditional acne therapy with a dose of beneficial bacteria.

Working at a genetic level

What you need to know

» A small pilot study has found that supplementing with probiotics can improve skin condition in those with adult acne.

» Participants who took 3 billion CFU of Lactobacillus rhamnosus​ SP1 daily for 12 weeks showed measurable improvements in skin condition.

» The probiotics appeared to work directly on gene expression in the skin – suggesting that in addition to a gut-brain axis, the body may also have a gut-skin axis.

In a recent pilot study, published in the journal Beneficial Microbes, researchers followed two small groups of people over a 12-week period

One consumed a liquid supplement (75mg/day) containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus​ SP1 (LSP1) at a dose of 3 billion ​colony forming units (CFU) per day. A placebo group of 10 subjects received a liquid containing no probiotics.

The choice to study LSP1 was based on previous evidence​​ identifying the strain’s effectiveness in improving leaky gut/dysbiosis.

Skin biopsies taken at the beginning and end of the study period were analysed for two things: the gene expression of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1​) and forkhead box protein O1 (FOXO1​).

Based on physicians using a standard five-point scale for rating improvement in skin appearance, those taking the probiotic were 28% more likely to be improved/markedly improved (versus worsened or unchanged) compared with the placebo group.

A gut-skin axis?

The probiotic group in addition showed a 32% reduction and a 65% increase in IGF1 and FOXO1 gene expression in the skin, respectively. Gene expression is the way genes function to switch certain body functions, such as hormones, on or off.

This, say the scientists, shows that that supplementation with LSP1 was able to normalises skin expression of genes involved in insulin signalling and improves the appearance of adult acne.

“It is possible that this probiotic strain may improve insulin resistance through direct metabolic effects and/or by correcting a state of intestinal dysbiosis,”​ the study’s authors theorised.

“Alterations in the gut microbiome and gut permeability can increase levels of circulating toxin that in turn activate proteins (TLR-2 and TLR-4) that play a key role in the innate immune system. Their activation can induce the release of cell-signalling molecules and the expression of enzymes that ultimately aggravate acne.”​

According to the authors, the effect of the probiotics on gene expression in the skin, which needs to be confirmed by other studies, suggests the existence of a gut-skin axis (similar to the well-established gut-brain axis) in which skin physiology is affected by specific bacterial strains in the gastrointestinal tract.