Although prebiotics are better known for their ability to keep your intestinal flora balanced, they can also play an important role in your skin health too – Especially for those of us with oily complexions, who are prone to breakouts or the more recent skin phenomenon: maskne. Read on to discover why new studies have confirmed that epilobium extract is the ideal natural prebiotic for treating acne.
Our skin is home to a complex ecosystem of bacteria naturally present in our epidermis that acts as a physical protective barrier and immune defence. These microorganisms, also known as our skin microbiome, are responsible for maintaining our skin healthy and strong, so any imbalance between the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria can trigger various skin problems. However, this is where topical prebiotics can come to the rescue. These compounds are not metabolized by our bodies and can help get our healthy microbes back into balance.
What’s new in the world of prebiotics?
Recent in vivo clinical trials have shown that Epilobium fleischeri extract (a rare yet sustainable glacier willow herb) has significant prebiotic qualities, able to do the following:
- Reduce inflammation by decreasing the levels of ‘bad’ bacteria which cause redness and irritation, such as Staphylococcus capitis, Corynebacterium kroppenstedtii and Corynebacterium tuberculostearicum.
- Improve skin defences by increasing the growth of ‘good’ bacteria such as Staphylococcus epidermidis, Staphylococcus hominis and Micrococcus yunnanensis – Thus protecting against the growth and colonization of pathogenic microbes.
Other studies have focused on one of the key antioxidants this plant has – Oenothein B. Using a state-of-the-art 3D facial mapping technique, dermatologists have seen how, in just 4 weeks of continual use, epilobium extract can decrease excessive sebum production on all areas of the face by inhibiting the production of 5 alpha-reductase, the hormone responsible. Thanks to this reduction in sebum, the growth of ‘good’ bacteria on the skin’s surface is increased, while the levels of harmful microorganisms goes down. Skin is visibly clearer, mattified with reduced pore size. All in all, these results prove that Epilobuim fleischeri is an outstanding natural prebiotic for treating acne.
Can it help with maskne?
Online searches for oily skin remedies has doubled since the beginning of the pandemic due to the increased use of protective face masks. Maskne, or acne caused by mask wearing, occurs when sweat, sebum and bacteria are ‘trapped’ on the skin under our face coverings, creating the perfect breeding ground for clogging pores and breakouts. However, as epilobium extract has been proven to balance not only sebum production but also our skin microbiome activity, this means that skincare products containing a high quality, optimum dose of this wonder ingredient can help keep in check those pesky blemishes and restore our skin’s healthy appearance.