For decades, we’ve been told that bacteria are our number one enemy in the fight against acne. But over time, scientists have learned that the reality is much more complicated. Not all bacteria are harmful, and completely ridding the skin of bacteria can do more harm than good. That’s why skincare brands such as Phyla, Codex, and Biojuve good Bacteria that treat acne with microbe-infused serums, probiotics, and more (yes, it’s true).
“There was always the view that all bacteria are bad,” says Dr. Yug Verma, a microbiologist and Phira founder. “He has one bacterium that causes acne disease, and it’s called C. acnes. The reason it has the word ‘acne’ in its name is probably because he’s 70 or he’s 80.” For years I knew that C. acnes was a bacterium. “It’s closely related to the development of acne. At the same time, recent microbiome research over the last 10-15 years has shown that our skin has very good bacteria that we don’t want to kill. They help us.”
A 2013 study looked at the skin microbiome of 101 people (49 with acne and 52 without acne) and found that people with healthy (acne-free) skin had more It was found that many C. acnes bacteria were present on the skin of the skin. translation? Not all strains of C. acnes cause acne.
Dr. Thomas Hitchcock, chief scientific officer at Crown Laboratories (developers of Biojuve) likens it to how we look at animal species. For example, wolves and dogs both belong to the Canis lupus species. “Do you really think that a beagle dog that loves you and is kind to your baby is the same as a gray wolf that might take your baby away and eat it? No,” says Dr. Hitchcock. “They are the same species, but they are genetically very different animals. And the same is true for microbes.”
The problem with traditional acne medications such as antibiotics, benzoyl peroxide, and retinoids like Accutane is that they indiscriminately kill the bacteria they come in contact with. Armed with new knowledge, scientists are now taking a bacteria-eliminating approach to acne care. Phyla, which launched in June 2021, employs live “phages” (more on that later) in its three-stage acne-fighting phage system ($120), which kills bad bacteria while the good ones stick. Remove acne bacteria from the skin. In February 2023, Codex Labs launched one of its first supplements, the Shaant Clear Skin Probiotic Supplement ($45). It is designed to reset the gut microbiome in a way that targets skin inflammation, one of the main causes of acne. And that same month, Biogive, a skincare line that can only be purchased through a doctor’s appointment, launched a product featuring live acne strains that keep skin healthy.
Phyla’s three-step phage system
A 2016 study comparing the skin microbiomes of participants with acne and those with fair skin found that participants without acne had phages (microbe-killing microbes) that were not present in participants with acne. virus) was found to be present in the skin. This led to the creation of her Phyla’s three-step phage system, which delivers live phages via serum.
“I have an annoying friend who has perfect skin, never had a pimple, woke up in the morning and never washed her face, and never had a pimple,” says Dr. Varma. “These phages are naturally present in their skin and may help keep the microbiome in balance and control P. acnes overgrowth.”
The system begins with a gentle, non-foaming cleanser made with exfoliating salicylic acid and anti-inflammatory tea tree oil. “This cleanser’s real job is to gently exfoliate your skin and open up your pores to accept serum,” says Dr. Varma. If you have a lot of dirt and makeup on your skin, start with a cleansing balm before using this cleanser. Next is the serum, followed by the moisturizer.
“Serum is our hero product. It contains our secret sauce, live active phages, which reach the skin and immediately begin to balance the microbiome,” says Varma. says Dr. “We also have moisturizers because many acne sufferers have dry skin from years of using harsh products. , formulated to be phage-friendly.”
This product is also formulated with a special preservation system that allows the phage to continue to live and function. “The serum is stable at room temperature for him for two to three months, and in refrigerated he is stable for one year,” says Dr. Varma. “And at room temperature he’s pretty close to stabilizing for 12 months.”
Codex Labs acne-focused probiotics
we are used to seeing germs Lactic acid bacteria What we don’t see on the back of probiotic skin care packages is that there are different types of ingredients. Codex Labs founder Barbara Paldus, M.D., collaborated with dermatologist and alveda practitioner Raja Sivamani, M.D., to reduce leaky gut, which occurs when bacteria leaks out of the gut and causes inflammation elsewhere in the body. We identified a minimal lactobacillus strain. .
“Inflammation affects the pores, which begin to produce sebum, which causes cell death within the pores,” explains Dr. Pardus. Dead skin cells accumulate due to cell death, clogging pores and filling them with sebum. “And acne bacteria are basically in an oxygen-free, food-rich environment, ready to grow exponentially. And there you are.” Your inflammatory acne. “
This probiotic combines a specific strain of lactic acid bacteria with another bacterium, Bifidobacterium, and other anti-inflammatory ingredients such as guggul and green tea leaf extract.
“Seventy to eighty percent of your immune cells are actually in your gut,” says Dr. Pardus. “Basically, these specific bacteria in our probiotics have been shown in research to stimulate these immune cells, and these immune cells basically feed the immune system. It soothes and helps regulate the immune system, including the skin.”
You’ll see results within the first few weeks of taking this probiotic, but Dr. Pardus recommends using this probiotic in addition to cleaning up your diet to actually reset your gut microbiome. We recommend using Tix for 90 days. If you take good care of yourself by eating healthy, sleeping well, and exercising, you may be able to stop taking supplements after the 90-day period. “If you take it for maintenance for a month, symptoms may come back here and there, but this is different from a long-term supplement,” she says. However, if your lifestyle is still not enough, you can continue taking the supplement indefinitely to maintain its effectiveness.
Biojuve’s Living Xycrobe Technology
Biojuve’s products are designed to flood your skin with beneficial acne bacteria and kick out bad acne bacteria before bedtime. Start with a gentle cleanser and progress to Living Biome Essential Serum (available with or without added retinol) and accompanying activating mist. Living Biome Serum contains live microorganisms, aka Xycrobes, freeze-dried and encapsulated in tiny crystals. Take a pumpful of serum in your hand, spray the revitalizing mist and mix. This supplies the microbes with a mixture of water, which essentially wakes them up, and arabinose, the sugar they consume to do their work.
It’s the only thing that works in your nighttime routine, so if you still want to use retinol (Dr. Hitchcock says you don’t actually need it), you can use the retinol version of this serum.
“Some people are married to retinoids,” Dr. Hitchcock says. “We can’t guarantee that the retinoid you want to use doesn’t contain preservatives that kill zyclove, so we found a compatible retinoid and put it in a slightly more expensive version.”
If you want to add some goodness to your morning routine, you can buy different serums, barrier creams, and day products that contain SPF. “You can wash your face when you wake up in the morning, but I prefer to leave Zyclove on, so I chose not to,” says Dr. Hitchcock. If you wash your face, you can add the Biome Support Complex serum, which features fermentation byproducts of Xycrobes. “Basically, if you choose to wash your face, you’re actually putting back some of the good stuff you secreted overnight and just washed off,” he says. It also creates a film on your skin that prevents all the ingredients you apply on top of it from interacting with the preservatives and other ingredients in any skincare or makeup you add on top of it.
Then you can add a hydrating barrier cream (available in Normal to Dry and Normal to Oily), which also contains film formers. Finally, finish off with a Sheer Finish SPF 50+ sunscreen that’s super-blended with moisturizing hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, vitamin E, and shea butter.
Who Benefits from Using Good Bacteria to Treat Acne?
If traditional acne products are too harsh on your skin, or if you just can’t find one that works the way you want, try these good bacteria products.
These products are independently selected by the editors. Purchases made through our links may earn a Well+Good commission.