adult breakout

10 mins read

what do prebiotics do for your skin?

age bright clearing serum bottles
adult breakout
skin health


What is the microbiome.

Prebiotics vs probiotics.

Prebiotic formulas for oily, breakout prone skin.

Prebiotic formulas for dry and sensitive skin.


have you ever heard of the microbiome?

You might be more familiar with the gut microbiome and the little yoghurt drinks or supplements you can take to help keep it healthy. Another microbiome that is gaining a lot of attention is the microbiome on our skin.

The skins microbiome is home to billions of bacteria, fungi and viruses of which bacteria makes up the biggest proportion. This community of microbes' helps our skin function and stay healthy too. When the skins microbiome becomes unbalanced, we can see certain skin concerns develop such as acne and dryness or existing concerns can be exacerbated.

how can we support our microbiome with our skin care?

Prebiotics act as food for the bacteria stimulating the growth of ‘good’ bacteria. When the ‘good’ bacteria are flourishing and abundant they can in turn keep the ‘bad’ bacteria under control.

what about probiotics?

Probiotics are the live strain of ‘good’ bacteria. True probiotics are not typically found in skincare products because the same preservatives that give products their shelf life and prevent bacterial contamination will kill the probiotics themselves. Because of this, topical products typically contain prebiotics.

Now you know more about the skins microbiome and how prebiotics can support it, lets have a look at some key prebiotic ingredients Dermalogica formulate with and how they can support different skin concerns.

oily skin and breakouts

Breakouts can be a sure sign the microbiome is out of balance. When excess oil and skin cells cause blockages in the pores, ‘bad’ bacteria are free to flourish by feeding on the excess oil. They then multiply, produce waste, and irritate the lining of the pore causing inflammation.

Dermalogica formulate with AGE Bright Complex that uses thyme and pine oil, to work with the skin's natural microbiome to promote clearer, brighter skin by helping to reduce ‘bad’ bacteria and oil. This is used in combination with Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) which helps to reduce visible skin ageing by fading post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (the pink, red or purple marks left behind from breakouts). Dermalogica’s AGE Bright Complex can be found in AGE Bright Clearing Serum.

A host of microbiome loving ingredients can be found in Active Clay Cleanser. Botanical lipids and Murumuru Seed work together to attract and remove excess oil from skin while helping to protect its natural lipid barrier and promote a healthy microbiome. The bioflavonoid-rich complex of Citrus, Aloe and Broccoli Extract inhibits the growth of ‘bad’ bacteria whilst glycerol delivers powerful prebiotic benefits, stimulating skin’s natural defenses and providing “food” to help skin’s ‘good’ bacteria. Glycerol can also be found in Clearing Skin Wash.

The Prebiotic Moisture Complex in Active Moist combines a potent prebiotic system with a unique combination of plant extracts, forming a botanical layer on skin for long-lasting hydration, improved skin texture, and a healthy microbiome.

dry and sensitive skin

Dry skin can also suffer during an imbalance of the microbiome. It is thought that the ‘bad’ bacteria can disrupt the tight junctions between skin cells, entering the deeper layers of the skin causing inflammation.

A prebiotic blend of Saccharide Isomerate, Xylitylglucoside and Glycerin found in Micellar Prebiotic PreCleanse helps feed beneficial skin bacteria over potential harmful bacteria to balance the skin microbiome and retain skin moisture, even after it's rinsed off. This nourishing micellar milky precleanse lifts away dirt, oil, and make-up while helping balance skin’s microbiome with prebiotics. Ideal for drier and more sensitive skins to achieve a thorough cleanse without compromising skin’s barrier.

Chlorella Vulgaris (Green Algae) Extract is a prebiotic algae complex, which helps to rebalance the skin’s natural microbiome by fostering ‘good’ bacteria and diminishing ‘bad’ bacteria which exacerbate dryness. Making this a perfect ingredient for Intensive Moisture Balance, Dermalogica’s daily moisturiser for dry skin.

Environmental pollution particles can suppress the growth of ‘good’ bacteria on the skins surface allowing ‘bad’ bacteria to flourish. Skin Smoothing Cream is a next-generation moisturiser featuring a state-of-the-art complex - Active HydraMesh Technology that infuses skin with moisture to help reduce hydration loss and shield skin’s natural microbiome. This advanced ingredient technology has been shown to protect the ‘good’ bacteria and enhance their growth. Glycerol further supports the ‘good’ bacteria for an optimal healthy microbiome.

To find out more on how you can incorporate prebiotics into your skin care regimen find your local professional skin therapist with our store locator.