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Although probiotics have become a mainstream healthcare supplement for a wide range of conditions, there are doubts that the live bacteria and yeasts are actually good for your skin.

Probiotics have become popular with the celebrity set, and top dermatologists and skincare experts are recommending them to cure skin issues that they assume to be connected to the gut. Gut heath corresponds to a person’s metabolism and immune system, and a healthy gut microbiome can decrease the risk of cancer, stroke, and obesity. However, there is little evidence that improving gut health can also help your skin. One 2016 study found taking probiotic B. longum for six months only improved the gut health of 30 percent of participants.

Since everyone’s gut microbiome is made of different bacteria and organism, not all guts will respond the same way to probiotics. Justin Sonnenburg, PhD, associate professor of microbiology and immunology at Stanford and principal investigator at The Sonnenburg lab, says science has yet to grasp the relationship between the gut microbiome and the skin. Instead what he recommends is “a mixture of probiotic and diet, or even just diet alone, that will be a much more powerful lever for impacting skin. But I’ve been wrong before,” he told The New York Times.

If you’re trying to improve your skin from the inside out, prioritize vegetables, omega-3 fats, and decrease saturated fat and refined sugar consumption. These kinds of foods are a strong point-of-entry for probiotic supplements.

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