Probiotic Skincare: Supporting your Skin’s Health with Helpful Bacteria

Have you ever thought about probiotic skincare? It sounds creepy crawly, but the skin on every human houses millions of bacteria. This can be more than 1,000 species of bacteria!

Bacillus subtilis (B. subtilis) is one of the bacteria found on skin and in the digestive tract. It is also present in epithelial wounds, on extremities of the human body, in livestock and in soil.1 Because B. subtilis is found almost everywhere, it has adapted to diverse environments. It has done this by producing a large number of genetically encoded molecules that inhibit and or regulate the growth of neighboring organisms.2

For this reason, Bacillus subtilis is present in skincare products, as a probiotic, and in animal feed, fertilizer, and as an antibiotic substitute.  Staphylococcus aureus (S.aureus), is a human pathogen that causes an array of serious hospital- or community-acquired infections worldwide.3 Similar to Bacillus subtilis, S. aureus It is present on human skin, digestive tracts and in nostrils. It is also present in livestock, and surgical instruments and equipment.4

Avoiding Bacterial Infections

At minimum, 30 % of healthy humans carry Staphylococcus aureus in their nose, back of the throat, on their skin, and in the intestinal tract without causing harm. The presence of S. aureus is normally insignificant since the bacteria is present everywhere. But for individuals who have a compromised immune system, or a nick or break in their skin, the Staph bacteria can cause a serious infection. For example, a common, potentially serious finger infection can result from a little tear in the skin or a torn cuticle. In addition, if the individual works with soil or unclean instruments, where numerous bacteria including staph thrive, the Staph can take advantage of the entry site to cause an infection.

Antibiotics usually clear up bacterial infections. However, many bacterial strains have become resistant to antibiotics due to their overuse, particularly in dairy cows, hogs, and beef cattle. In addition, Staph bacteria are transferable from animals to humans.

The Science Behind Maintaining Skin Health with Bacillus subtilis

Luckily the scientific community has found a potentially easy way to maintain skin health. This method does not require worrying about the everyday skin issues that seem to manifest out of nowhere.

A new study from National Institutes of Health scientists and their Thai colleagues shows that Bacillus subtilis helps eliminate Staphylococcus aureus. The researchers, led by scientists at NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), found that Bacillus bacteria prevented Staphylococcus. aureus bacteria from growing in the gut and nose of healthy individuals.5  “Probiotics frequently are recommended as dietary supplements to improve digestive health,” said NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “This is one of the first studies to describe precisely how they may work to provide health benefits.

The possibility that oral Bacillus might be an effective alternative to antibiotic support for some conditions is scientifically intriguing and definitely worthy of further exploration,” he said.

The scientists recruited 200 volunteers in rural Thailand for the study. They theorized that this population would not be as affected by food sterilization or antibiotics as people in developed urban areas. First, the scientists analyzed fecal samples from each participant for bacteria correlated with the absence of Staph. 

Secondly, they found 101 samples positive for Bacillus, primarily B. subtilis. This is the type found mixed with other bacteria in many probiotic products. In addition, Bacillus bacteria form spores that can survive harsh environments and commonly are ingested naturally with vegetables, allowing them to temporarily grow in the intestine.

After that, the scientists sampled the same 200 people for Staph in the gut (25 positive) and nose (26 positive). Overall, there were no S. aureus in any of the 101 samples where Bacillus were present.

Future Experiments

The NIAID and Thai scientists next plan to test whether a probiotic product that contains only B. subtilis can eliminate S. aureus in people. They plan to enroll more Thai volunteers for the project. Michael Otto, Ph.D., the NIAID lead investigator, says, “Ultimately, we hope to determine if a simple probiotic regimen can be used to reduce MRSA infection rates in hospitals.” In addition, other studies have found that continuous oral use of B. subtilis alleviates the development of skin lesions in mice6 with atopic dermatitis.  Overall, this is all good news for people who wish to improve their skin health and immune function.

How to Observe National Healthy Skin Month

1. Reduce your stress and get adequate sleep. Stress can exacerbate acne and other skin conditions like psoriasis.

2. Drinking 6-8 glasses of purified water daily is vital to maintaining moist skin and clearing out toxins.

3. Check your skin for spots, blemishes, new and odd-shaped freckles and moles. When in doubt, ask your physician to take a look. Sometimes, the most benign looking freckle can end up being something that needs to be taken care of.

4. Add a probiotic with Bacillus subtillis for added skin protection and overall health support.

5. Make an appointment with a dermatologist for a complete body skin check-up.

  EffiHealth offers GutProtect, a total immune & digestive healthy support. GutProtect contains Probiotic Bacillus subtillis to strengthen the immune, digestive systems, and skin health- in one formula.