Toothpaste, skin creams and cosmetics: we use them daily.
Expect to see probiotics slip into the long lists of ingredients. Are they warranted?
A recent review in a journal called Microbiology Discovery provides an overview of probiotics use in personal care products.
The excellent article covers the following areas:
- Primer microbes on the skin and oral cavity
- Diseases when microbial populations go awry
- Potential pf probiotics in personal care products
- Challenges including regulations and claims
- Future directions
Many probiotic- savvy readers may want to start at the tantalizing finish but don’t miss the rest:
Here are some interesting outtakes:
“Sebaceous sites such as the forehead has the lowest diversity, and Propionibacterium species are the dominant organisms.” A little later we learn that sebum degradation increases acids which discourage pathogens.
“Soaps, makeup, and skincare products (e.g.,moisturizers) alter skin conditions that in turn may influence the types of microbes residing on the skin.”
The paper discusses acne, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, wound healing and how they relate to microbial types and diversity. Probiotics may exert effects either topically or by oral ingestion.
- Topicals include many products on the market. Proposed mechanisms—still in early stages—as well as safety concerns are discussed.
- Oral ingestion is thought to stem from the gut’s lead in immune action. Atopic dermatitis and eczema as well as burns appear to be helped.
The oral cavity is another repository of microbes—thousands of species find safe haven in the mouth. Saliva, plaque and daily hygiene are discussed. Caries, inflammation, infections, tonsillitis and even bad breath can be a result of oral dysbiosis.
Safety limits for organisms in cosmetics are unusually low—some at 500 cfus—and thus are subject to question of value as well as technical problems with preservation. To sidestep these challenges, some manufacturers have instead used metabolites to infuse healthful organisms.
Safety in oral care products is less troublesome as 1000s of species already exist in the diversified cavity. For example, species of Streptococcus can inhibit Streptococcus mutans, the bacteria blamed for dental caries and plaque.
The push into personal care products will continue for probiotics. Issues such as regulation (very different across countries), research and safety will create a drag but in the end will lead to better applications for all.
The authors conclude:
“Industry should work with researchers and regulatory authorities if they wish to gain credibility for their products by addressing accurate labeling, good manufacturing practices, and rigorous quality control . Because personal care products are an integral part of people’s routines and habits, the potential benefits of probiotics, if substantiated, could have a positive impact on human lives.” Read the excellent review here.