The Best Probiotic Strains for Acne

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The Pure TheraPro Team

The Pure TheraPro Education Team is comprised of researchers from diverse backgrounds including nutrition, functional medicine, fitness, supplement formulation & food science. All articles have been reviewed for content, accuracy, and compliance by a holistic integrative nutritionist certified by an accredited institution.
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Your skin issues are directly linked to your gut health. If your skin isn’t clear and glowing, chances are, your gut is sick and needing help. 

Your skin is the largest organ in the body and serves as a protective barrier between you and the outside world. Essentially, your gut has similar protective properties, being that it contains about 80% of your immune system. The digestive system serves as an interior barrier separating the digestive process from the rest of your circulatory system. Undigested food, contaminants, bacteria, pathogens, stomach acids, debris, toxins-- these are irritants that may cause inflammation if they leaked throughout your system. When your intestinal tract develops inflammation, the gut lining may perforate and allow digestive tract particulates into your system. This is called Leaky Gut Syndrome. And guess what? Leaky Gut Syndrome is linked to skin issues. Your “gut instinct” should tell you these two are related!



Decades of research have proven that probiotics can benefit acne-prone skin by tempering inflammation and helping the body to effectively remove toxins--the same toxins that wind up clogging your pores!

A recent study, in fact, has demonstrated that adults who suffer from acne breakouts have dysbiosis. Their gut bacteria diversity is completely different than those who do not have acne. Those with acne and inflammatory skin issues have less diversity than those with clear skin. This dysbiosis or imbalance in diverse good bacterial strains as well as a higher ratio of bad bacteria to good bacteria impact immune cells in the gut, which means it is also affecting your immune system, since 70% of immune cells are found in the gut. Dysbiosis, then, may result in systemic negative immune responses, one being acne. 

The good news is that probiotics may help inflammatory skin conditions such as rosacea, acne, eczema and psoriasis by reshaping the gut microbiome. Beneficial bacteria help fight against harmful bacteria and are instrumental in rebuilding a strong gut lining to protect the body from future invaders, furthering the effects of leaky gut and systemic inflammation. 

Specific bacteria strains have been studied for their skin benefits. Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria strains, for example, help to reduce the release of specific proinflammatory cytokines which can wreak havoc on the skin. Acne is a sign that oxidative stress is high. Probiotics may also help to reduce oxidative stress by removing excess free radicals that can be detrimental to your complexion. 

Acne sufferers are also more prone to digestive irregularity, such as constipation. Probiotics help regulate bowel movements and increase gut transit time, which means that toxins are leaving the body more effectively. 

Because of the relationship between gut health and brain health via the gut-brain axis, probiotics may also equip us with the ability to better manage stress--and we know that stress plays a role in making or breaking our complexion.  When you are stressed, your body releases cortisol, the main stress hormone, which can bind to skin receptor sites, resulting in increased sebum production and inflammation. In addition, stress can destroy good bacteria in the gut, creating further dysbiosis which translates to skin eruptions. Probiotics can put a stop to stress’s negative effects on both your gut and your skin.

The bacteria strain, Bifidobacteriium lactis HN019, also known as HOWARU, can benefit those with acne by helping to reduce inflammation, improve gut transit time and optimize the health of the gut microbiome.  

In a four week placebo controlled study, participants given this probiotic strain had improved gut microbiome composition compared to the placebo group. Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 also helped to proliferate increases in other good bacteria while reducing the levels of pathogenic bacteria. 

Inflammatory and oxidative stress markers were also reduced with Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 daily use as noted in a 90 day study. Gut transit time was significantly increased, particularly in those with constipation (less than 3 bowel movements per week). 

Lactobacillus Acidophilus is another strain found to help reduce acne particularly when the gut microbiome has been compromised by long-term antibiotic use. This strain also improves gut transit time, which helps prevent dysbiosis, thereby clearing acne-prone skin. 

In a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled study of adults with acne, another beneficial bacteria strain, Lactobacillus Plantarum, was found to reduce acne by 32% compared to placebo after twelve weeks of daily use. The researchers in the study found that this probiotic strain was instrumental in reversing damage caused by leaky gut syndrome, which enabled toxins to pass through the mucosal wall. Lactobacillus plantarum helped to reconstitute the gut lining and prevent the inflammatory toxins from impacting the skin. In addition, this strain influenced insulin type growth factor 1 and the FOX01 gene expression, which, in turn, reduced the appearance of acne. 


Our Power Probiotic Daily and Power Probiotic 100B contains four well-studied strains that increase gut transit time, support immune function and are backed with research showing improvements in such inflammatory skin issues as acne. These strains include Bifidobacterium lactis HN019, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus plantarum. 

Probiotics may be useful for those suffering from occasional and chronic acne breakouts, based on the research. Optimal gut health may lead to a clearer, brighter complexion as well as many other systemic benefits.