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From cleansers to serums, probiotic skincare is set to be huge. Here’s why it’s a good idea to have it on your radar


Here at Boots, we’re obsessed with skincare – there’s no product, tool or ingredient that we won’t try at least once. We’re trying to master facial massage using a gua sha tool. We didn’t think twice about changing our skincare routine once we reached our 30s. And from those containing hyaluronic acid to those with niacinamide, we don’t just have a serum, but serums. But there’s one skincare ingredient in particular that has really taken off in the last year: probiotics.


Topical probiotics are now entering the mainstream and can be found in a range of products from serums to cleansers. And, with legendary skincare brand Liz Earle launching their own probiotic range this year, you just know they’re something worth paying attention to. After all, until now, Cleanse & Polish has been the only cleanser the brand has offered. So, here’s what you need to know about probiotic skincare. 


What is the microbiome?


“The term microbiome refers to all the genetic information of bacterial microorganisms in a particular environment of the body,” says Nikki Haldane, a nutritional therapist at Greenholme Wellness. “While most of these bacterial microorganisms live in the large intestine, we also have a skin microbiome, which supports the barrier function of our skin, preventing harmful bacteria from entering the body and reducing vulnerability to infection,” she continues. Essentially, as Liz Earle ambassador and facialist Sarah Carr explains, “Our microbiome is all of the bacteria, fungi, viruses that live on and inside our bodies. When they’re in the right balance they help to protect us and keep our skin healthy.”

What do probiotics do for your skin?


“For effective skin health both the gut microbiota and the skin microbiota need to be supported, and ensuring a diversity of bacteria in both is key,” says Nikki. “While I prefer to establish a healthy gut microbiome right from the very start when working with skin complaints, topical probiotics are also an option when it comes to caring for the skin’s microbiome specifically.” Sarah Carr says, “Liz Earle probiotic skincare helps restore and create a strong and balanced microbiome.” This in turn can help support the moisture barrier and help skin to look healthier and more balanced.*


Who should be looking to introduce probiotics into their skincare routine?


“The key skin types that will really benefit from a probiotic range are those noticing increased sensitivity or stressed skin,” says Sarah (which, let’s admit, is most of us at least some point in our lives). 

How should you introduce probiotics into your skincare routine?


The amount of probiotic skincare products available at the moment can be a bit overwhelming, but Sarah advises that probiotic cleansers in particular “really help when the skin has been over stripped.” And that “probiotic moisturisers and masks help deliver a dose of pre, pro and postbiotics to really treat the skin.” 


13 GREAT TOPICAL PROBIOTICS FOR SKIN TO TRY


So, where on earth do you start when it comes to probiotic skincare? Whether you simply want to keep your body moisturised or address skin redness, here are 14 picks that cater to all budgets and concerns. 


Explore more great options here.

For a daily probiotic cleanser
Liz Earle Pro-Biotic Balancing Milk Cleanser (£18)


• Size: 100ml

• Fragrance-free


All skincare routines ought to start with a reliable cleanser. This pick gently removes impurities while containing a rich blend of probiotics (and pre and postbiotics) to leave reactive skin looking calmer and clearer.

For a probiotic day cream
Liz Earle Pro-Biotic Balancing Day Cream (£32)


• Size: 50ml

• Fragrance-free


If you’re looking for a lightweight moisturiser to rebalance the oily and dry areas of your face throughout the day, this day cream’s an excellent option. Like both the cleanser and the night cream in the range, it contains a blissful mix of probiotics (and pre and postbiotics) alongside natural ingredients like chicory, lunaria oil, jojoba oil and oat extract that make it a gentle joy to use. 

For a probiotic night cream
Liz Earle Pro-Biotic Balancing Night Cream (£32)


• Size: 50ml

• Fragrance-free


Sometimes, if your skin’s particularly stressed, it’s best to just sleep on it with assistance from a night cream. This pick replenishes the skin’s moisture barrier to leave dry and sensitive skin feeling renewed by morning. 

For a probiotic serum
Vichy Minéral 89 Probiotic Fractions Recovery Serum for Stressed Skin (£29)


• Size: 30ml


Stress doesn’t just take its toll on our minds, it affects our skin too, leaving it weakened and struggling to quickly defend and repair itself. Luckily, there’s a solution in the form of this probiotic serum which is made especially for stressed skin. Also featuring niacinamide and Vichy Volcanic Mineralizing Water, it may help to speed up skin repair, which means – deep breath – less dullness, improved elasticity, less lines and overall radiance. 

For a probiotic body lotion
Garnier Intensive 7 Days Shea Butter Probiotic Extract Body Lotion (£5.25)


• Size: 400ml


With shea butter and probiotic extract, this body lotion provides just the solution for parched limbs in the short-term and improves skin’s suppleness over time.

For a probiotic treatment for red and irritated skin
Dr.Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Colour Correcting Treatment (£15)


• Size: 15ml


If your skin is often red and irritated, this treatment might be just what you need. It adapts to your skin’s natural colour to neutralise redness, while the gaggle of active ingredients – including Jartbiome, Dr.Jart+'s original probiotic ferment ingredient – work to soothe and moisturise. 

For a probiotic treatment lotion
Estée Lauder Micro Essence Skin Activating Treatment Lotion (£48)


• Size: 75ml


As appealing to display on your bathroom shelf as it is to put on your skin, this lotion strengthens skin with a concentration of exclusive Micro-Nutrient Bio-Ferment. 

For a probiotic spray
Drunk Elephant Sweet Biome Fermented Sake Spray (£35)


• Size: 100ml

• Vegan


If you wish to bolster your microbiome on the move and treat your skin to a delicious blend of fatty acids and ceramides, incorporating a probiotic spray into your routine makes perfect sense.

For a probiotic moisturiser
The Inkey List Multi-Biotic Moisturiser (£12.99)


• Size: 30ml


From irritation to oiliness, an unbalanced pH level can show up on your skin in a lot of ways. Luckily, this moisturiser contains not only probiotics, but also their nutrients (prebiotics) and their byproducts (postbiotics) to help restore it!

For a probiotic night serum
PSA GOALS Multi Acids & Probiotics Perfecting Night Serum (£37)


• Size: 30ml

• Vegan


We adore night serums. And this hydrating serum featuring acids and probiotics gets to work on blocked pores and dark spots, meaning that you’ll have a good morning indeed once you wake up!

For a probiotic booster treatment
Allies of Skin Prebiotics & Niacinamide Pore Refining Booster (£65)


• Size: 50ml

• Vegan


Formulated with a powerful cocktail of probiotics, prebiotics and niacinamide, this pore refining booster is designed to help brighten and calm skin. 

For a probiotic mist
Allies of Skin Molecular Saviour Probiotics Treatment Mist (£57)


• Size: 50ml


If you want dewy and glowing skin delivered with an instant blast of hydration, we suggest giving this mist a go. Alcohol-free (its base is aloe vera instead) and nutrient-rich, it contains a mix of probiotics and antioxidants to help restore your skin to glory in times of stress.

For a hydrating probiotic serum
Lancôme Advanced Génifique (£130)


• Size: 115ml


Backed by 20 years of research, this is a serum for everyone. Enriched with a mix of probiotics and prebiotics, it strengthens the skin's barrier from the first application, and you know what that means: your skin looks better overall.