An interesting question that I’ve been asked recently is whether or not you can mix probiotics and mineral makeup. The truth is, I have mixed feelings about both of these topics on their own, let alone mixing them together. Below I’m going over the benefits and drawbacks of both probiotic skincare and mineral makeup separately, as well as what science says about mixing the two together.
What is Probiotic Skincare?
Probiotic skincare is based on the same concept as oral probiotic supplements: supplying the body with “good” bacteria should restore the natural flora found within the digestive tract and other various systems of the body. With probiotic skin care, scientists have identified a few strains of bacteria that are able to improve the appearance of the skin by essentially strengthening it, a term in dermatology known as “improved barrier function” (Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 2011).
Unfortunately, this technology is rather new, so the number of independent, peer-reviewed studies not affiliated with any company are still limited. But the technology is promising for those with certain skin conditions associated with lessened barrier function, like eczema, for example.
Therefore, I personally would recommend probiotic skin care to those with very dry skin, and/or eczema/atopic dermatitis who have tried many treatment options on the market without success previously.
Why would I say for eczema? Several reasons. First, a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology suggests probiotic strains used in probiotic skincare improves barrier functions and symptoms of atopic dermatitis. The next reason is based on the fact that eczema is well-documented to be an autoimmune condition (Journal of Immunology, 2007). This essentially means that the skin is attacking itself for some unknown reason, which manifests as the severe dryness and red patches associated with eczema. I believe it is possible that the immune system can be bolstered not only with vitamin and mineral supplementation, but perhaps also by reintroducing controlled strains of “good,” healthy bacteria back into the skin. If this is true, then probiotic skin care may be a godsend for those with eczema, as well as other autoimmune conditions.
Mineral makeup has several qualities that I love, such as providing a natural look, delivering healthy skin ingredients, and providing some sun protection. However, what I don’t love about mineral makeup is the claims that other bloggers and even certain brands make about the benefits of mineral makeup.
For instance, let’s say a mineral makeup has SPF 20 on the label. This isn’t going to provide you with sun protection like an SPF 20 sunscreen. Why? Because any powder product requires about 14 times the amount of normal powder application to receive the SPF listed on the package. Therefore, a powder with an SPF of 20 is really providing an SPF of about 1.2 with normal use.
Another claim that gets under my skin about mineral makeup (as well as other natural beauty products) goes something like, “since mineral make-ups have natural ingredients, they are safe to use.” I cannot stress enough that a product should not be considered safe or better just because it contains natural ingredients. In fact, one of the most common ingredients used in mineral makeups is known to have negative effects on our health. The ingredient I’m talking about is mica, the main type of mineral used in mineral makeup products, which can be dangerous when inhaled. The particles can get into the lungs and cause scarring. In addition to this, mica can cause pneumoconiosis, which causes increasing lung and breathing problems as it progresses (CDC, Occupational and Environmental Medicine). As aforementioned, danger with this ingredient comes primarily with inhalation and the safety guidelines are mostly concerned with those working in an industrial setting. So, while mineral makeups are generally safe to use since they are applied topically, the point I’m trying to get across is that “natural” does not necessarily mean “safe”.
On a more positive note, one claim that is true about mineral makeup up is that it can be a miracle for those with oily skin, providing a means of absorbing excess oil. However, I personally am over mineral makeup for anyone but those with oily skin. For those with dry skin, mineral powder can exacerbate flakiness, so liquid-based foundation is best for adding much-needed moisture to your skin. For those with normal skin (like my own), mineral foundation tends to leave a grayish cast after a few hours, which can make me look even more tired after work.
Mixing Probiotics and Mineral Makeup
So far I’ve discussed who probiotic skincare is best for (those with eczema or very dry skin) and who mineral makeup is best for (those with oily skin). There are some benefits of both these skincare products, but they are meant for two completely different skin types: dry skin and oily skin. Therefore, I do not recommend mixing probiotics and mineral makeup. While the combination would not be unsafe, I believe that it would be counter-intuitive. Based on the science, I would recommend trying probiotic skincare if you have eczema. On the other hand, even though mineral makeups may seem like the best type of foundation for your skin, I caution against getting sucked into the traditional mineral foundation unless you have oily skin.
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