Treating acne often requires a multi-pronged approach. While topical treatments are essential, it’s also important to consider what you’re putting in your body, and how it affects your complexion. As probiotic supplements have become increasingly popular, more people have started to use them as a part of their anti-breakout skincare routine. If you’re thinking of trying out these supplements, we’ll dive into everything you should know about the best probiotics for acne below.
What is a Probiotic?
Let’s start with the basics. Probiotics are live microorganisms that support and improve the good bacteria in the body. They generally work in the gastrointestinal tract, helping to fight bad bacteria, improve gut function, support immunity, promote a healthy complexion, and more.
Many foods contain probiotics (we’ll touch on that below), but you can also take probiotic supplements in the form of powders or capsules. These supplements contain a potent concentration of these good bacteria that support overall health.
Can Probiotics Cause Acne?
There’s a common concern that probiotics may actually cause acne. I’d recommend taking a look at this article to get a deeper dive into the connection between acne and probiotics. In short, you need to know that not all probiotics deliver the same results. While some bacteria strains have been proven to minimize breakouts, others may actually cause acne in certain people.
If you’re looking to take a probiotic supplement to treat acne, you’ll want to seek out formulas containing specific acne-fighting strains. One of the most commonly studied probiotic strains that has been proven to help with skin health and acne is lactobacillus. In particular, one worth highlighting is lactobacillus plantarum. It has been proven to improve acne, thanks to its anti-inflammatory and anti-pathogenic properties.
Another notable strain under the lactobacillus family is lactobacillus paracasei. Research has shown that this specific strain effectively improves skin barrier function while reducing inflammation. Lactobacillus casei has similar effects on skin inflammation, while lactobacillus fermentum has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial abilities.
If you suffer from acne breakouts using a probiotic with lactobacillus is a must for protecting your skin barrier, and preventing unwelcome acne-causing bacteria. “Good bacteria” is necessary for healthy skin function, and without it you will have much worse skin issues than just acneDr. Anna Chacon
Acne-Safe Foods Naturally High In Probiotics
Taking probiotic supplements can be great for improving your skin and boosting overall health. That said, you can also work certain foods into your diet that are rich in probiotic microorganisms to increase your intake.
Some great probiotic foods that are suitable for those prone to acne include yogurt, kimchi, tempeh, sauerkraut, miso, kombucha, kefir, and pickles. Keep in mind that it’s best to consume a variety of probiotic-rich foods. This way, you’ll get a wider variety of healthy bacteria that can support your skin and overall health.
For the best results, it’s also smart to eat foods packed with prebiotics. Prebiotics are plant fibers that provide nutrients to good gut bacteria so that they can provide the maximum benefits. Foods that are rich in prebiotics include onion, garlic, asparagus, artichokes, soybeans, bananas, apples, oats, and flaxseed.
The Best Probiotics for Acne Summary
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|BiOptimizers – P3-OM (BiOptimzers)|
|On a Budget|
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|Culturelle – Digestive Daily Probiotic Capsules (Amazon)|
|For Hormonal Acne|
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|Love Wellness – Clear Skin Probiotics (Amazon)|
|For General Skin Health|
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|Codeage – Skin Probiotics (Amazon)|
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|Vitamin Bounty – Pro-50 Probiotic (Amazon)|
Best Overall Probiotic for Acne:
BiOptimizers – P3-OM
The BiOptimizers P3-OM contains a patented probiotic strain that effectively targets acne and inflammation while also supporting the gut and overall health. The addition of prebiotics ensures the probiotics are able to deliver the best possible results.
Supports Gut Barrier Health
When the gut barrier is supported by probiotics, it becomes stronger, less inflamed, and more efficient at digestion and preventing acne causing inflammation
Promotes all aspects of a healthy gut
Helps balance the immune response, add to your digestive enzyme bank account, strengthen your gut barrier, communicate with your brain, and promote healthy gut movement
Probiotic plus prebiotic (Synbiotic)
combination of healthy gut bacteria, from the probiotic, and fibers that the probiotic can ferment for additional energy, provided by the prebiotic
365-Day Money Back Guarantee
Vegetarian-friendly, lactose-free, 100% plant-based
The BiOptimizers P3-OM is the top pick for acne-fighting probiotics, due to the potent strain and high-quality ingredients. It features the company’s patented lactobacillus plantarum OM, a potent super-strain that effectively assimilates and multiplies in the gut. As mentioned earlier, lactobacillus plantarum has been scientifically proven to minimize breakouts, largely because of its powerful anti-inflammatory properties, as well as its ability to fight bad bacteria.
What also makes this formula stand out is that it contains prebiotics. The prebiotics give the lactobacillus plantarum OM the fuel it needs to not only fight acne and inflammation, but also help with digestion, support gut health, boost immunity, and so much more.
The unique freeze-dry method of preparation is also worth noting. This preparation allows the probiotics and prebiotics to survive when exposed to digestive enzymes and stomach acid. What this means is that, regardless of whether you take it with a meal or on an empty stomach, you’re going to experience the fullest benefits of the product. This ultimately means you can work it into your routine in whichever way works best for you.
In addition to being highly effective, this probiotic is incredibly convenient to use. Unlike many other probiotic supplements on the market, the P3-OM is able to maintain its potency without refrigeration. This means that you can easily travel with the product and not have to worry about a disruption in your health routine.
“Since I started using P3-OM daily, I’ve found a huge improvement in my complexion. My breakouts have decreased dramatically, and my skin in general feels calmer and healthier. The fact that the formula is also supporting my general gut health and immunity means it now has a permanent spot in my daily routine.”Ashley Wilson
BiOptimizers P3-OM Pros:
- Formulated with one of the best probiotic strains for tackling acne and inflammation.
- Fully plant-based formula that is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
- Potency is still maintained without storing the product in the fridge.
BiOptimizers P3-OM Cons:
Best on a Budget:
Culturelle – Digestive Daily Probiotic Capsules
Lactobacillus strains are considered to be some of the best for fighting acne.
Prebiotics from chicory root extract help fuel the probiotics.
Double aluminum blister card prevents contamination and degradation.
Vegetarian and Allergy-friendly
Formula doesn’t contain gluten, soy, eggs, dairy, wheat, peanuts, or tree nuts.
Unfortunately, probiotic supplements can be pretty pricey. Thankfully, the Culturelle Digestive Daily Probiotic Capsules are expertly formulated while still being comparably budget-friendly.
This formula contains lactobacillus rhamnosus, which is commonly used in probiotic supplements. As mentioned above, lactobacillus strains in general are considered to be some of the best for those struggling with acne. In a small study, researchers found that the specific strain used in this formula may normalize how the skin responds to insulin, which in turn helps minimize the appearance of acne. In addition to helping with skin health, this probiotic improves digestive issues and supports the immune system. It has also been shown that it is able to survive when exposed to stomach acid, which means it can efficiently move to the intestines.
While the strain used in this formula does not have as much acne-specific research behind it as the lactobacillus plantarum (which is found in the BiOptimizer supplement recommended above), this product is still a great choice for someone looking for a less pricey option.
The Culturelle formula also features chicory root extract, which contains prebiotics. These plant-based prebiotics work to support the lactobacillus rhamnosus so that it is as effective as possible.
It’s also worth highlighting the packaging. The capsules are individually packaged in a double aluminum blister card, which prevents light, air, moisture, and other elements from affecting the formula. Similarly to the BiOptimizer probiotic, this product does not need to be kept in the fridge, making it much more convenient.
Culturelle Digestive Daily Probiotic Capsules Pros:
- Contains a well-studied probiotic strain, as well as prebiotics that support the probiotic.
- Doesn’t need to be kept in the fridge.
- Vegetarian and allergy-friendly formula that does not contain eggs, dairy, wheat, tree nuts, or peanuts.
Culturelle Digestive Daily Probiotic Capsules Cons:
- Compared to other options recommended, probiotic strain is not as well-researched for treatment of acne.
Best for Hormonal Acne:
Love Wellness – Clear Skin Probiotics
Formula features bacteria in the bifidobacterium family, which has been proven to help with breakouts
Helps with Hormones
Chaste tree fruit extract works to balance hormones while targeting acne
Additional Acne-Fighting Power
Zinc provides extra anti-acne benefits
No Animal Ingredients or Gluten
Suitable for vegetarian, dairy-free, and gluten-free diets
For those specifically dealing with hormonal acne, the Love Wellness Clear Skin Probiotics is an excellent choice. It not only targets acne, but also works to support a more hydrated and less red complexion, while also improving the appearance of pores.
The probiotic used in this formula is bifidobacterium longum BB536. In addition to probiotics in the lactobacillus family, those in the bifidobacterium group have also been widely studied for their effectiveness when it comes to acne.
This Love Wellness probiotic has been clinically tested and shown to improve acne in 70% of participants. In addition to the probiotic strain, it contains chaste tree fruit extract, which is widely used to treat acne (particularly premenstrual breakouts) and balance hormones. The formula also features a clinically proven concentration of zinc, which works alongside the other star ingredients to minimize acne.
One reviewer notes the following: “It took me over a month before I noticed a difference, but it has made a huge difference in my hormonal acne. I used to have big, painful breakouts every 2 weeks. In the past 2 months, I’ve only had 1 breakout, and it wasn’t inflamed and painful like it used to be.”
Like the other recommendations above, this probiotic is also shelf-stable, which means it does not need to be refrigerated. It is also gluten-free and vegetarian-friendly.
Love Wellness Clear Skin Probiotics Pros:
- Added ingredients help balance hormones and support a clearer complexion.
- Vegetarian and gluten-free formula.
- Shelf-stable formula does not need to be kept in the refrigerator.
Love Wellness Clear Skin Probiotics Cons:
- Not suitable for vegan diets, as the formula contains traces of dairy.
Best for General Skin Health:
Codeage – Skin Probiotics
Specifically formulated for skin
Made with 19 probiotics that minimize inflammation and acne and improve the complexion
Botanical blend and phytoceramides
Includes açai powder, ginger and rose hip extracts, triphala, fenugreek, and provides 30 mg of phytoceramides per serving
No refrigeration required
Shelf-stable and doesn’t require refrigeration
Made in USA
Vegan-friendly, and made without gluten, soy, preservatives, or additives
If you are looking to target more than just breakouts, the Codeage Skin Probiotic may just be your best choice. This supplement contains an impressive 19 strains of probiotics. This includes many in the lactobacillus family, including lactobacillus plantarum, lactobacillus casei, and lactobacillus fermentum. All of these strains (as well as others in the formula) have potent anti-inflammatory properties. Lactobacillus fermentum (as mentioned earlier) also has antimicrobial properties.
There are also a variety of probiotics in the bacillus family. One worth noting is bacillus coagulans, which has been shown to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antioxidant properties. Together, all of the 19 probiotics work to calm inflammation and fight acne for a clearer and more radiant complexion. Fermented prebiotic fibers also help support the blend of probiotics for optimal gut health.
While the probiotic concentration is certainly powerful, there are also a blend of other ingredients that improve the complexion. Vitamin C (derived from acerola cherry) fights damaging free radicals and supports the production of collagen, while phytoceramides help with skin hydration. A blend of other botanicals provide additional nourishment and antioxidant benefits, including camu camu powder, acai powder, ginger extract, and holy basil extract.
This potent formula is shelf-stable, so it doesn’t require refrigeration. It’s also vegan, and doesn’t contain gluten, wheat, soy, preservatives, additives, or binders.
Codeage Skin Probiotic Pros:
- Features an impressive 19 probiotics, including many that reduce acne.
- Additional botanicals improve the skin’s appearance.
- Vegan formula doesn’t need to be kept in the refrigerator.
Codeage Skin Probiotic Cons:
Best for Inflammation:
Vitamin Bounty – Pro-50 Probiotic
Multiple Probiotic Strains
The formula features 13 strains, many of which provide powerful anti-inflammatory benefits
Delayed Release Capsule
Patented capsule that protects the live organisms in the capsule from stomach acid, delivering more cultures and ensuring maximum efficacy to help support gut health
No Refrigeration Needed
This formula stays potent, even when not stored in the refrigerator
Vegan and Gluten-Free
100% plant-based formula that is also free of gluten
Anyone looking to specifically target inflammation should try the Vitamin Bounty Pro-50 Probiotic. It’s made with 13 probiotic strains, which work together to minimize inflammation in the body while improving the complexion and supporting general health.
One of the strains worth highlighting is lactobacillus paracasei, which has anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also effective at improving skin barrier function and helping with a range of skin conditions, including acne and sensitivity. The formula also features lactobacillus casei and lactobacillus plantarum, both of which also fight inflammation and minimize breakouts. These probiotics (along with others included in the formula) also help support immunity while boosting digestive wellness.
In addition to the many probiotics, this formula contains fermented greens that contain prebiotics to support the formula. This includes barley grass, alfalfa, wheat grass, and oat grass. The formula is also vegan and gluten-free, and does not need to be stored in the refrigerator.
Vitamin Bounty Pro-50 Probiotic Pros:
- Contains 13 probiotic strains, many of which provide anti-inflammatory benefits.
- Fermented greens add prebiotics.
- Vegan and gluten-free.
Vitamin Bounty Pro-50 Probiotic Cons: