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The Particulars of Probiotics

By: Rebecca James Gadberry
Posted: June 13, 2008, from the September 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Bioecolia is best formulated in creams, lotions and gels that remain on the skin or scalp, as opposed to facial cleansers, body washes and shampoos that are rinsed. Solabia also claims that its ingredient is an ideal addition to deodorants because it inhibits the growth of underarm bacteria.

More recently, a German ingredient developer, Chemisches Laboratorium Dr. Kurt Richter GmbH (CLR), introduced ProBioBalance CLR (water, lactose, milk protein, bifida ferment lysate). Described as “probiotic bifidobacteria cultures solubilized in a bioactive milk-based nutrient,” the company recommends the material for use in high-performance skin care. This is apparently for good reason. In vitro and in vivo studies on the ingredient’s effect on the skin by the CLR group are quite impressive, reflecting much of the cellular and immune system benefits for which probiotics generally are known. In vitro, keratinocyte vitality—the primary cell in the epidermis that forms the skin’s barrier, the stratum corneum, and orchestrates much of its immune defense—was protected even after the nutrients used to maintain cell life were removed. Control cells did not fare as well, showing signs of undernourishment and inactivity. In two other in vitro studies, protein-destructive enzymes known to cause elasticity loss and wrinkling, as well as immune suppressive biochemicals that lower the skin’s immune activity after ultraviolet (UV) exposure, both were reduced in skin that was pre-treated with ProBioBalance CLR, then exposed to UV radiation. Similar to the first study, untreated cells did not fare nearly as positively.

The material also was tested on 20 volunteers on whom prolonged redness due to irritation was developed for purposes of the study. Each member of the test group was exposed to a placebo and the same vehicle plus 5% ProBioBalance CLR, and a section of skin was left untreated. Throughout the nine-day test, skin treated with the vehicle-plus-probiotic consistently displayed less redness than the two control areas, with redness evident in the two controls but completely eliminated in the skin treated with ProBioBalance CLR at the end of the study. CLR recommends this ingredient to control signs of aging and stress, although cosmetic companies are exploring its use for a variety of skin concerns.

LABs also are being investigated for their use as natural cosmetic preservatives. One of the most promising is AC Leucidal from Active Concepts (leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate). Using modern biotechnology, the company has isolated a peptide from pure Leuconostoc kimchi culture and combined it with radish root to yield one to two years of preservative activity effective against E. coli, salmonella, shigella, candida and other microbes. Products containing AC Leucidal already may be on the market, even though it was introduced to cosmetic manufacturers in late 2005.

As cosmetic scientists learn more about utilizing the effects of prebiotics and probiotics in their products, look for more novel and effective applications of these concepts. In the meantime, an occasional application of yogurt to control acne might appeal to your more nature-loving clients.