Younger skin is only a pill away

If you’d like to look as young as you feel — maybe even younger — there’s something you can do that’s  much cheaper, easier and less dangerous than Botox.

You can pop a pill. Not a prescription pill, of course, with a laundry list of life-threatening side effects. But a safe and effective probiotic pill — filled with beneficial bacteria — that keeps your skin clearer, smoother and more vibrant.

You already know that probiotic supplements help support a healthy gut microbiome vital to keeping not only your gut happy but your entire body disease free.

Now scientists are finding that your skin is the “window” to your gut — or its bacterial content anyway. And if you have a bevy of bad bacteria in your gut, it’s going to be written all over your face in the form of wrinkles, acne, rosacea, dryness and sagging skin.

Fortunately for you, that research has shown that taking oral probiotics can help clear up acne and rosacea, as well as reduce wrinkle depth and improve skin elasticity.

For example, a 2015 study conducted by researchers at Seoul National University in Korea found that people between ages 41 and 59 with dry skin and wrinkles had higher water content on their skin, significant reduction in the depth of their wrinkles and improved skin gloss after twelve weeks of taking the probiotic Lactobacillus plantarum. In addition, their skin elasticity improved by about 13 percent after four weeks and about 22 percent after twelve weeks.

Of course, you don’t have to get your probiotic fix in pill-form. You can also get it the good ol’ fashioned way — through your food. Yogurt is an obvious choice if you’re looking to pump up your probiotic consumption — but get the unsweetened kind (sugar has been shown to age you!), preferably made from organic or grass-fed dairy. Or you can try less conventional probiotic powerhouses like kimichi, kombucha, sauerkraut, kvass, miso soup and raw cheese.

You should also know that the skin itself is home to a very delicate microbiome of bacteria — which is why applying probiotics to your skin topically could be beneficial too. There is less research on the skin benefits of topical probiotics, but one study found that applying the probiotic Streptococcus thermophiles in a topical cream led to more lipid molecules in the skin, which made skin more moist and firm.

If that’s enough proof for you, you can try a DIY yogurt mask at home… or throw down a bit more cash for one of the many probiotic face creams taking over a beauty aisle near you.

Easy Health Options tip: When choosing sauerkraut or pickles that pack a probiotic punch — choose them from the refrigerated section of your grocery store. The unrefrigerated brands, found on the isles, have been pasteurized which involves heating. And this kills the beneficial bacteria.

Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine,, and