8 mins

HARNESSING the good bacteria

Before probiotics entered the realm of skincare, they were previously traditionally associated with gut health. The last few years have seen a focus on the skin microbiome, with prebiotics and postbiotics, as well as probiotics, formulated into skincare products

According to, our skin is home to millions of bacteria, fungi and viruses that compose the skin microbiota. Similar to those in our gut, skin microorganisms have essential roles in the protection against invading pathogens and the education of our immune system.

As the largest organ of the human body, skin is colonized by beneficial microorganisms and serves as a physical barrier to prevent the invasion of pathogens.


Microbiome skincare isn’t just about tossing in a probiotic or two—it’s a holistic approach to skincare design. And, in this arena, Esse Skincare stands as a trailblazer, spearheading the probiotic revolution by launching the world’s first serum containing live probiotics.

South African brand Esse provides superior microbiome support by making use of Biotech ingredients: prebiotics, postbiotics and probiotics.

Says Esse founder Trevor Steyn: “Probiotics, in particular, are live microorganisms that, when used in the right amounts, offer immense benefits to your skin. They’re alive and able to grow and colonise the skin. These living probiotics do what other microbe-based ingredients don’t. They produce lactic acid to maintain your skin’s pH, increase hydration with hyaluronic acid, fend off harmful microbes, and even calm your skin’s immune system. It’s a powerhouse combination for a healthier, more resilient complexion.

“Many brands claim to use probiotic ingredients, but the truth is often quite different. In most cases, these are actually postbiotics which are non-living preparations of beneficial microbes. While postbiotics can benefit your skin and microbiome by calming the immune system, defending against pathogens, and enhancing the skin’s barrier function, they lack the live probiotics’ dynamic impact and ability to colonise the skin. Since it is really difficult to keep probiotics alive, many brands prefer to use postbiotic ingredients as they are easier to include in products.”


In 2015, Esse Skincare launched the world’s first serum containing live probiotics and a couple of years later it launched the first professional live probiotic facial treatment. With a high dose of three species of live Lactobacillus bacteria, this serum, when freshly mixed by a therapist, comes alive, activating billions of live microbes. These powerful probiotics shift your skin’s microbiome towards a ‘new normal’, reducing inflammation and slowing the ageing process. The live probiotic treatment is complemented by the Exclusion Mask, creating an ideal anaerobic environment for the bacteria to thrive. This regulation of the immune response reduces inflammation and sensitivity. What’s more, these bacteria naturally produce hyaluronic acid, lactic acid, and microbial peptides, providing hydration and regulating your skin’s pH.

Esse is also using live probiotics to bolster your skin before and after aesthetic treatments, reducing inflammation, speeding up recovery, and enhancing overall treatment outcomes while minimising possible risks. This is another step forward in Esse’s mission to transform your skincare routine and support a thriving skin microbiome.

Says Steyn: “At Esse we favour a complete microbiome skincare approach, not only a probiotic approach. Our skincare products avoid harsh preservatives that could harm your skin microbiome, and we also steer clear of aggressive foaming agents that strip away sebum — the essential nutrient source for beneficial microbes.

“Esse Skincare’s approach combines natural and organic ingredients with effectiveness, setting a new standard for microbiome skincare. We continue to push boundaries, all the while aiming to help you achieve healthier, more radiant skin with the use of probiotics.

“In a world where skincare is constantly evolving, Esse Skincare is rewriting the rulebook with our live probiotic treatments. Whether you’re seeking a complete microbiome overhaul or looking to enhance the results of your aesthetic procedures, Esse is leading the way.”

Live probiotics can be found in the Esse Sensitive, Plus, Clarifying and Aesthetic retail ranges.


Matis has launched a professional Purete Skin Solution treatment for combination to oily & acne skins that features pre and probiotics as some of the main ingredients to ensure balance is restored. The treatment can be used on active acne if the correct precautions are followed.

This range consists of a cloudy velvet mask that is mixed with water and applied to the skin. It is left on for 20 minutes, removed and finished off with a Perfective Concentrate that leaves the skin powdery, velvety, mattified, clean and balanced.

Matis’ formulation consists of a Pre & Probiotic Complex that is a combination of oligosaccharides (natural carbohydrate prebiotic found in plants) and bacteria that work together to enhance the skin’s radiance and stimulate the skin’s natural defences by stimulating the microbiota (micro-organisms in skin).

The complex helps to protect the skin’s barrier, improves skin conditions such as acne and sensitivity (as both are aggravated by impaired barrier functioning), and helps to balance the skin’s microbiome.


The BiomeRenew Postbiotic Skin Care Range is a transformative collection of skincare products that harness the inherent power of nature’s remedies to rejuvenate and nurture your skin. This lineup revolves around a fundamental principle – the profound influence of a healthy skin microbiome on achieving skin that radiates with vitality.

Postbiotics, the beneficial byproducts of probiotic bacteria, are the cornerstone of BiomeRenew’s formulations. These extraordinary compounds facilitate balance, fortify your skin’s innate defenses, and bolster overall skin well-being, regardless of whether you want to address specific skin issues such as acne or hyperpigmentation or seeking to maintain youthful and luminous skin,

Central to the range’s essence is the philosophy of simplicity and efficacy. The brand firmly believes that skincare should be straightforward. Hence, its products are meticulously developed with natural and scientifically validated ingredients that deliver tangible results. From the gentle cleansers to precision-targeted treatments, each item is thoughtfully crafted to work in synergy with your skin’s unique requirements.

Says the BiomeRenew team: “Our unwavering commitment to transparency ensures you always know precisely what you’re applying to your skin – pristine, vegan, and cruelty-free formulations that align with your ethical values. We provide a new era of skincare, where science converges with nature, and your skin’s optimum potential is unleashed.”


Christoph Burgstedt/



From the Six Skincare collection, the Six Probiotic Repairing Booster is packed full of active probiotic ingredients that work at repairing and strengthening the skin day and night.

This powerful formula strengthens the barrier of the skin, boosts protein and lipid structures in the skin, whilst accelerating the rate of epidermis renewal. 

The addition of plankton assists in protecting the skin from UV radiation and blue light, to prevent pollutants and toxins penetrating the skin, reducing oxidative stress, protecting the cells and fighting the signs of premature ageing.

Active ingredients include inulin, lactobacillus ferment, maltodextrin, oligosaccharide, brown seaweed extract, plankton extract, and laminaria hyperborean.

The Six Pre/Probiotic Range includes: Prebiotic Gentle Wash; Prebiotic Soothing Lotion; Probiotic Moisture Mask; Probiotic Essential Moisturiser; and Probiotic Repairing Booster.


In the era of probiotic skincare, where nurturing your skin’s microbiome is paramount, Bree Probiotic Skincare emerges as a beacon of simplicity and sustainability. Amidst the complexity of probiotic beauty routines, Bree offers an approachable and eco-conscious solution for all skin types. With their innovative synbiotic technology, combining probiotics and prebiotics, Bree streamlines the skincare journey. Each product is meticulously developed, undergoing rigorous testing for a minimum of 30 weeks, ensuring it meets the highest standards. Bree’s commitment to core values is evident in their veganfriendly, cruelty-free products that are never tested on animals. Even their packaging is eco-friendly, utilizing FSC-approved materials and glass bottles. Bree Probiotic Skincare truly simplifies your path to healthier, glowing skin.

At the heart of Bree’s skincare philosophy lies the power of probiotics. Their tagline, ‘Probiotic Skincare,’ reflects their dedication to delivering millions of diverse bacillus bacteria strains with every product, enriching your skin’s microbiome. This is made possible through their unique synbiotic technology, which combines probiotics and prebiotics.

Probiotics, the good bacteria, not only enhance skin health but also act as micro-level cleansers, ensuring a consistently clean and radiant complexion. Prebiotics, on the other hand, foster the growth and activity of beneficial skin bacteria. By actively infusing high quantities of probiotics and stimulating existing good bacteria through prebiotics, Bree Probiotic Skincare products contribute to a robust and resilient skin microbiome, ultimately supporting your journey towards healthier, smoother skin.


The Biome Restorative Booster from TheraNaka is formulated with Biome Oléoactif® and Squalane, which helps to balance the skin’s microbiome with prebiotic benefits, strengthen the epidermal barrier function, moisturise for a brightened complexion, and reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles.

This multilevel skin barrier function strengthening booster is microbiome friendly by preserving the microbiota of healthy skin as it acts as both post and pre-biotic care. The sought after active is obtained through a patented Oleo-Eco-Extraction Green Process. Rare lipids are captured from a wild extremophilic microorganism which delivers Oleoactiv as the first ingredient of its kind and is known to reinforce the integrity of the epidermal barrier to restore imbalanced skin conditions.

This vegan friendly booster further helps restore, hydrate and re-balance the skin’s inherent protective functions with a focus on naturally improving the condition of the skin.

It also contains the following as support ingredients: marula oil, wheatgerm oil, tocopherol, rosemary extract, and essential oils of geranium, lavender and peppermint.

The booster features Neossance Squalane which has proven performance to moisturise, brighten the skin, improve barrier repair and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Unlike the commonly used Squalene which is often obtained from shark livers and is mostly unstable in cosmetics, our Squalane is unique in that it is derived from sustainably sourced Brazilian sugar cane. Apart from being natural, it is one of, if not the highest quality squalanes available on the market and known for purity, its high efficacy and being readily available. It furthermore boasts Ecocert, USDA Certified Biobased Product and Microbiome Friendly Certified certification.

The addition of Caprylic Triglycerides derived from coconut oil and glycerin with its high mix of fatty acids, helps the skin to resist moisture loss by acting as a superior emollient and skin-replenishing ingredient. Its light structure with an almost dry skin feel allows it to easily be incorporated in your regimen, either as a serum to boost the skin or mixed with products/creams as a boosted benefit to that product. This range features multiple skin benefits and brings the best of green skincare to your everyday skin care regimen.

This article appears in Professional Beauty October Issue

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Professional Beauty October Issue
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