What is biotic or fermented skin care?
Sometimes it's called biome-friendly skin care, microbiome skin care, microflora, fermented skin care, or a number of other phrases - but it's all about the same category. Biotic skin care is the broad term in which we categorize products infused with biome-specific ingredients, like pre-, pro-, and postbiotics.
It's about skincare which is designed and formulated to nurture your skin microbiome, or the collection of bacteria, and microorganisms that live on your skin. Fermented skincare is basically products containing ingredients that went through a fermentation process that enhances the bioavailability of active ingredients, which can then be more readily absorbed by the skin.
What is skin’s microbiome and why should you care about it?
The billions of microbes living on you are called your skin microbiome. Optimal skin condition depends also on the microbes living on and in it. Without microbes, your skin can’t perform its basic functions and the rate of skin aging increases sharply. When the skin barrier is healthy, your complexion appears smooth, clear, even-toned, and balanced. A healthy, balanced microbiome equals healthy, balanced skin. Your skin is better able to stay hydrated, deal with inflammation, protect itself from environmental stressors, deal with skin conditions (like acne or rosacea), help your immune response, and age healthier.
On the flip side, if your skin barrier is damaged, then that’s when you’ll experience redness, irritation, breakouts, rashes, burning sensations, broken capillaries, dryness, tightness, and other symptoms you’d attribute to just having sensitive skin.
Constant use of harsh facial cleansers and antibacterial soaps strips your skin of these healthy bacteria and consequently damages your skin's natural bacterial ecosystem. This in turn makes your skin stressed and dry, causing skin issues like breakouts, eczema, rosacea flares and psoriasis.
The microflora changes over time as we go through hormonal shifts, and so on. Lifestyle can also play a role in the density of our microbiome. Nowadays, consumers are getting increasingly concerned about what to put on their face and what the impact would be in the long term.
What are probiotics, prebiotics and postbiotics?
Probiotics are strains of bacteria that occur naturally on the skin. Probiotics are a powerful, natural ingredient that help balance your skin microbiome. They’re great for helping your skin get back to its happy state - consider them as the ultimate skin superfood. Probiotics can be derived from plants through the fermentation process.
Prebiotics, on the other hand, are the nutrients for probiotics. They increase the production of probiotics in our body and on the skin.
Postbiotics are not new, but rather a more “hidden” element of biotic skin care. Recent research has been able to identify effective outputs fermented from the bacteria living on our skin. These include e.g. anti-microbial peptides and short-chain fatty acids. Rather than replanting the bacterial strains (as in probiotics) or feeding the strains we naturally have (prebiotics), postbiotics directly supply skin with these natural byproducts from the start when applied to skin.
Examples of postbiotics are peptides and fatty acids. However, since these specific peptides and fatty acids are formed from fermented bacteria byproducts, they won't appear as such on the ingredient label - instead, you'll see things like "lactobacillus ferment."
Combining probiotics, prebiotics and postbiotics together into formula helps to more effectively balance and feed the skin’s microbiome.
How does biotic skin care work?
When applied topically, a skincare product that contains prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics can have many positive effects. First and foremost they will fortify and strengthen the skin so that it gets protected against various environmental stressors.
The job of biotic skincare products is also to restore balance to skin’s microbiome, and increase the quantity of good bacteria in the skin. Furthermore, it strengthens a compromised skin barrier, allowing the skin to function better and feel stronger, and it keeps the skin’s pH healthy and balanced.
When the skin’s microbiome is healthy, it is more able to produce natural humectants and attract moisture into the skin.
Biotic or fermented skin care benefits
- Fermented ingredients fortify the skin barrier against irritating and damaging agents, which is especially beneficial for thin, aging, sensitive, and irritation-prone skin.
- Biotic skincare products increase the skin’s ability to retain moisture and stay hydrated, which is well suited for chronically dry or dehydrated skin.
- Fermented ingredients prevent the skin from easily becoming red and irritated.
- Fermented ingredients keep the skin’s pH healthy and balanced.
- Biotic skincare products improve the functioning of other skincare ingredients, enabling an overall more powerfully hydrating and anti-aging skincare.
- Fermented ingredients can act as a natural preservative, replacing the need for harmful parabens and toxic preservatives.
- Once an ingredient is fermented, its microbes break down into smaller, more absorbable molecules. This makes these ingredients much more efficient at performing their job, whether it’s to brighten the complexion or repair the skin against sun damage.
- Since the microorganisms of fermented ingredients are so similar to our own, fermented skincare products are more easily absorbed into the skin. The fact that fermented ingredients are able to mimic our cell functions also means that there is less of a chance of adverse reactions. This is ideal for anyone with easily irritated or sensitive skin.
- Fermentation creates new skin-enhancing properties. During the fermentation process, new nutrients like peptides, vitamins, probiotics, and enzymes are formed. It turns out, the same probiotics that are known to help our gut microbiome flourish are also able to promote a strong skin microbiome as well for healthier skin from the inside out.
Taking care of ourselves via a healthy diet and lifestyle is just one facet of achieving our best skin. Additionally, by using biotic skincare, you can have a beneficial effect on your skin by keeping it moisturized and delaying signs of aging. A healthy skin microbiome not only protects you from damage and dryness, it can also lead to a more radiant and healthy skin.
CIRCULOVE All-Fermented Microbiome Skincare products:
- Cleanse & Tone: CLEAN Micellar Essence
- Soothe & Hydrate: CALM Soothing Serum
- Protect & Strengthen: DAY Moisturizing Cream SPF 20
- Nourish & Moisturize: SMOOTH Face Oil
Expert: Anu Ruohosto