SkinCare Ingredients 2011

Prebiotics and probiotics show skin health potential

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Skin care ingredients Skin health Probiotic

Prebiotics and probiotics show skin health potential
Friendly bacteria and the fibres they feed on may be the next big entrance into the skin care ingredient sector, with data showing their potential for boosting skin health and preventing conditions like acne.

At next week’s Skin Care Ingredients virtual event​, scientists from Scotland’s Glycologic Limited will present on the topic of pre- and probiotics in skin care of the future.

“This area is embryonic in terms of development,”​ explained Dr Farage Al-Ghazzewi and Prof Richard Tester. “It is difficult to study due to the dynamics of skin microbiology.”

This has not stopped research into the potential skin health potential of probiotics and prebiotics, and studies have already shown that the ingredients, together or alone, show potential for a range of skin health benefits, from wound healing to the prevention of acne.


According the FAO/WHO, probiotics are defined as "live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host".

“In cosmetic formulations, the term probiotic applies to those beneficial microflora that have the capacity to optimise, maintain and restore the natural flora of the skin,”​ explained Dr Al-Ghazzewi.

“The only problem with topical applications of probiotics is the harsh environmental conditions of the skin which prevent colonisation although this is not the case for the oral and vaginal cavities,”​ added Dr Al-Ghazzewi.

Prebiotics are "nondigestible substances that provide a beneficial physiological effect on the host by selectively stimulating the favourable growth or activity of a limited number of indigenous bacteria". ​(Synbiotics are a combination of the two.)

The Glasgow-based scientist – who holds the position of Microbiological Health Specialist at Glycologic Limited – added that prebiotics for skin health “represents a very loose utilisation of the term”​.


At next week’s presentation, Dr Al-Ghazzewi will also showcase data for the company’s gluco-mannan hydrolysate (GMH) prebiotic ingredient for skin health. According to the company’s data, the GMH ingredient may promote skin healing, and help treat skin infections, including severe to moderate and mild acne. It also interacts pleasantly in topical application, they said.

The scientists will also cover the mechanisms of action and the potential future directions for prebiotics and probiotics as skin care ingredients at the upcoming Skin Care Ingredients virtual event​. The one-day event, taking place on Wednesday, June 15, is free to attend.

In addition to the prebiotic and probiotic presentation, the event will feature presentation on a variety of subjects, including new technologies and opportunities in global markets, hyaluronic acid & peptide solutions, the growing importance of green chemistry in formulation, antioxidants, and core opportunities for skincare in the BRIC markets.

For more information and to register, please click here​.

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