Best Probiotics for Acne

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What is acne?

Acne is a disorder of the hair follicles and oil glands (sebaceous glands). The sebaceous glands secrete oils (sebum) to keep the skin moist. When the glands get clogged, it can lead to pimples and cysts. (JohnHopkins Medicine)

best probiotics for acne

What causes acne?

Acne may occur as a result of the contribution of several factors. Some of them are:

  • Excess sebum production: sebum mixes with dead skin cells and clogs the hair follicles, leading to acne.
  • Hormonal changes: puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause results in significant hormonal changes which cause an increase in sebum production, which can contribute to the development of acne.
  • Bacterial overgrowth: Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), a type of bacteria that naturally lives on the skin can contribute to inflammation and the development of acne when it multiplies in excess amounts on the skin
  • Diet: Some studies suggest that certain foods, such as dairy, salty and high-glycemic-index foods, may contribute to the development of acne.

What are the available treatment options for acne?

Treatment options for acne include topical and oral medications including benzyl peroxide, retinoids and antibiotics in severe cases. Lifestyle changes and skincare routines are designed to address the underlying causes of acne. 

In recent years, researchers have found some beneficial roles of probiotics in the treatment of acne and they worked out to include probiotics as part of the treatment plan. 

How do probiotics work for acne?


probiotics for acne

Although limited studies and further detailed studies are expected, the following roles are postulated according to the latest research findings.

Probiotics may help balance the skin’s microbiome. 

  • The skin is home to a diverse array of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms that play a crucial role in maintaining skin health. When this balance is disrupted, it can contribute to conditions like acne. 
  • Probiotics may help restore a healthy balance of bacteria on the skin, which can help reduce inflammation and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria that contribute to acne.

Probiotics may help reduce inflammation.

  • Inflammation is a key factor in the development of acne, and several studies have shown that certain strains of probiotics can help reduce inflammatory markers in the body. 
  • By reducing inflammation, probiotics may help alleviate acne symptoms.

Probiotics may help strengthen the skin barrier. 

  • The skin barrier is a complex system that helps protect the skin from environmental stressors and prevents moisture loss. A compromised skin barrier can contribute to conditions like acne. 
  • Probiotics may help strengthen the skin barrier by increasing the production of ceramides, which are key components of the skin’s protective barrier.

Which probiotic strains are beneficial in the treatment of acne?

Some probiotic strains that have been studied for their potential benefits for acne-prone skin include:

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus: improves skin hydration and reduces inflammation, which may help improve acne symptoms.
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum: improves skin barrier function, which can help prevent moisture loss and reduce the risk of acne breakouts.
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus: reduces inflammation and may help improve skin texture and tone.

Which probiotic supplements should I take for acne control?

As mentioned above, although not recommended as the sole treatment, probiotics are taking part in the treatment and prevention of acne. As a GP in NHS UK, I have surprisingly found several patients, particularly in the adolescent population, who are able to prevent and alleviate symptoms of acne by adding some probiotics to their casual management plan. Some reliable probiotics that I found effective for acne are as follows: 


My choice: best probiotics for Acne

Symprove Daily essential

Symprove Daily Essential is one of the highest-quality products in the probiotics market. This particular product is mainly targeted for gut symptoms but the good amount of Lactobacillus strains works for acne.

Especially the L rhamnosus strain which is known to have an effect on GABA which helps relax and has prominent anxiolytic properties.

I favour this product because it is in liquid form which is quite rare in the market. The liquid form has 2 main properties – one is more live bacteria pass through the gastric barrier and two is less side effects such as bloating and burping.

Most of my patients noticed differences in the symptoms after a few weeks and even more after months and only a few reported mild side effects.

Optibac Probiotics Every Day – Digestive Probiotic

This is probably the most suitable for this particular indication as it has a fairly low CFU count with targeted strains of probiotics best for acne.

Although this is formulated for digestive issues, the strains involved Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are also effective for people with histamine problems.

Culturelle Digestive Daily Probiotics Capsules

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This is, even more, a targeted product with a single strain of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG with a dose of 10 billion CFUs.

I particularly like this product because L rhamnosus is the most researched strain with the best evidence acne.

In addition, it is one of the products with the least digestive side effects which almost all of the patients I prescribed really liked.