Prebiotic skincare: the best ‘good’ bacteria-boosting beauty buys

Ayesha Muttucumaru 11 April 2018
Any products in this article have been selected editorially however if you buy something we mention, we may earn commission

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The best prebiotic skincare

The benefits of prebiotics for your gut  are well documented, but growing evidence suggests that it could be good for our skin too. Carrying more credibility than probiotic products  in skincare expert Paula Begoun’s opinion , the concept centres around giving the ‘good’ bacteria (i.e. the probiotics) on our skin the ‘fuel’ it needs to thrive, (numbers of which can be depleted by factors such as pollution, excess hygiene, extreme temperature changes and antibiotics), to create a healthier environment for it to grow in and enhance its ability to protect skin against environmental threats, redness and dryness.

This useful ‘skin food’ comes in the form of oligosaccharides, galactooligosaccharides and fructooligosaccharides (quite the mouthful), i.e. carbohydrate building blocks. Think of the process as the skincare equivalent of ‘carb loading.’ “There have been claims of reduced sensitivity and better skin smoothness among others,” organic chemist and Esse Organic Skincare founder, Trevor Steyn, tells us, and while he notes that the tech is particularly helpful for those with irritation-prone skin types, it can benefit everyone.

While research is relatively new on the subject, the category’s seen noticeable growth over the last year. Here are the products that could give your ‘good’ bacteria a helping hand.

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Gallinee Hydrating Face Cream, £34.90 for 30ml

Best for: Dry to combination skin

This richer textured but non-greasy cream leaves skin brighter and more radiant thanks to a triple biotic complex comprising of probiotics, prebiotics and lactic acid (a natural by-product of ‘good bacteria’ that helps to gently exfoliate skin). Its scent does take a little getting used to though (a bit gingerbread-like due to the prebiotics sourced from chicory, beet and yacon), but that’s as far as the irritation should hopefully go. It’s formulated without mineral oils, parabens and it’s non-perfumed too to give it far-reaching appeal.

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Oskia Nutri-Active Day Cream, £60 for 40ml

Best for: Combination skin

Extremely lightweight, this fast-absorbing day cream contains prebiotics alongside a whole host of skin smoothing actives for a softer, more hydrated complexion - barrier-boosting niacinamide , firming peptides , softening hyaluronic acid  and protective rosehip seed oil to name but a few, to leave skin noticeably more glowy.

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Esse Serum R6 serum, £37 for 15ml

Best for: Skin firming

This silky and incredibly hydrating serum contains two prebiotic ingredients - inulin and alpha-glucan oligosaccharide - alongside moisture-boosting heavyweight, hyaluronic acid  to leave skin soft and supple. It also contains skin firming kigelia extract and antioxidant-rich grapeseed and rooibos extracts to fight free radical damage for an extra skincare shield before your daytime moisturiser and SPF.

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Elixseri Opening Act Serum, £76 for 30ml

Best for: Dull skin

If you’re looking for a more potent exfoliator, this overnight treatment could fit the bill rather wonderfully. Containing AHAs derived from a prebiotic of papaya and also from regenine, a fermented blend of plant and fruit extracts, it effectively sloughs of dead skin cells and removes product build-up to leave skin fresher, smoother and better prepped for whatever you pop on top. A little goes a long way too.

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Zelens Z Balance Prebiotic & Probiotic Facial Mist, £48 for 50ml

Best for: A calming spritz

This rebalancing, refreshing facial mist works a treat for stressed out skin showing the signs of city living. Formulated with prebiotics derived from corn, yacon and beetroot as well as five probiotics too, it’s also full of antioxidants thanks to polyphenol-rich Shiso leaf, to protect as well as speedily rehydrate. It suits both the dry and the particularly oily.

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Orveda The Prebiotic Emulsion, £280 for 50ml + silicone mask

Best for: Dehydrated skin

This specialist multi-tasking treatment is jam-packed with actives designed to help skin recoup and recover (it’s recommended for post-procedure use). It’s by-far the most expensive product in our edit, but also, the most versatile - it can be used as a primer, moisturiser and also, a weekly treatment with the silicon mask included. Formulated without alcohol, mineral oils and fragrance, it’s also vegan  too.

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Elemis Superfood Day Cream, £42 for 50ml

Best for: Dry skin

Containing sugar-derived gluco-oligosaccharide along with a superfood mix of ginger, matcha tea and goji berry, this rather delicious sounding option provides welcome comfort to tight feeling skin. With a lightweight texture that doesn’t feel heavy, it leaves skin replenished and re-energised.

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