We have talked about probiotics in a nutritional sense for years and the importance of a balanced flora….now it’s a buzz word in skincare world too. Fermented skin care has been all the rage in Korea for some time, and we love everything skin related to leave there at the moment, however these are not completely new findings!

We don’t really think of our skin being covered in bacteria, especially in such an “antibacterial” obsessed nation. Our skin has good bacteria, just like the gut, and its responsible for protecting us against bad bacteria, which can cause chronic skin conditions such as, acne, excema, psoriasis, rosacea and inflamed skin.

We are constantly attacking our “friendly bacteria” with the use of antibiotics, poor diet, anti bacterial products, smoking, parabens, sunlight, and intense skin treatments such as chemical peels.  

I always liken this to when I had a colonic…. Bear with me ;-) , after such in intense cleansing the therapist then added some probiotics into my system, to replace any good bacteria that could have been damaged………so, why when we intensely peel our skin, by either way of acids or microdermabrasion do we not consider putting some of our army of little bacteria friends back on there??

Pro and prebiotics products calm, soothe and have a detoxifying effect, leaving a clear radiant skin. Its also a natural exfoliant…. A great natural alternative to harsh antibacterial products and offers a gentler solution for a “stressed out” skin.

I see more and more clients at the moment with really inflamed skin, which I think is due to over use of retinols, peels etc, which are all so readily available now. They give a fab, practically instant result, that clients then cannot get enough of. Thing is they do not continue to give results until you look 20 years your junior, they will then enter the dangerous area of over exfoliation, leaving inflamed, red, skin that’s highly reactive. These treatments do not only attack bad bacteria but our good bacteria too. Pro-biotics are a lovely natural way to balance, and repair the acid mantle, giving the skin its weapons to fight infection! Our bodies are really clever, it just needs a helping hand in times when we are hitting in from all directions!

Probiotics are living “good bacteria” found in skin. Prebiotics are “food” for our probiotics (non living). Prebiotics feed and encourage growth of our own natural probiotics. Both calm and sooth irritated skins. …….  I personally don’t think we HAVE to use Pro/pre biotics all the time, but they should definitely be considered when you have been taking anti-biotics, been run down, suffer with inflammation and or acne etc.

It’s also not necessary to change the whole of your routine, but slotting it in there at some point should help to do the trick!

Fave  products:

REN Rosa Centifolia No1 Purity Cleansing Balm (please shorten this name Ren!)

I am a total ren fan, and this cleansing balm has been a bathroom shelf staple for years, £24 for 150ml

Oskia Renaissance Mask    £ 49.50 for 50ml

LOVE a mask…… this feels pampering but gives results, contains fruit enzymes and AHA’s along with prebiotics.

I am obsessed with face oils… one I go back to time and time again is Aurelia Cell Repair Night Oil £55 for 50ml

This is a probiotic skincare line, and I love everything about it…. Its creamy cleanser, lovely packaging, its just a joy! This oil contains probiotics in the form of Baobab, if it’s good enough for Gwyneth… ;-)


Clean up your act!

Clients are constantly picking my brain to discover the new wonder cream, or a high-tech new foundation that will cover all manner of problems, to which I reply, “before we chat magic potions, lets go through your cleansing routine”, because the truth is there is no quick fix, thorough skin prepping is the only way that radiant, youthful glow.

Going back to basics…. when you re-access your facial cleaning and dedicate a little bit more time to it, you get results, simple!  If you are rushing or skipping this essential stage, you may as well rub your £200 pot of miracle cream into the leather on your purse!

Lets get one thing straight, wipes do not constitute a proper cleansing routine! While they are okay for camping trips (one night only please), mid day freshen up, or long journeys, they do not actually clean your skin.

If you get that really tight feeling after cleansing that leaves you sprinting for your moisturiser, you will probably find you cleanser is full of sodium lauryl sulphate, which is really drying, destroys your natural pH balance and creates an environment for bacteria to thrive in, making blemish-prone skin worse. Sodium lauryl sulphate is usually only added to cleansers to produce foam/ bubbles, which sub-consciously makes us feels squeaky clean. Note - squeaky clean skin = dehydrated, pimply, unhappy skin – not good. I avoid sulphates at all costs, and when my clients have previously eliminated this stripping ingredient, they have experienced more supple, hydrated, much clearer and even skin.

A quick splash of water in the morning wont cut the mustard either, over night we are busy shedding dead skin cells, sweating, producing a bit of oil – sounds lovely - and this needs to be cleansed off before applying your daily skin care. Admittedly you don’t need to go to town in the morning, a once over cleanse with a milk, balm or a sulphate free gel formula is sufficient. Night time cleansing requires a bit more effort, if you wear make-up, or sun screen you will need to cleanse twice, once over to make-up remove and the second cleanse will remove dirt, excess oil, sebum and impurities. This also preps the skin for serums and moisturiser, making them work more efficiently. Cleansing oils and balms are extremely effective at giving the skin a thorough clean. Oil cleanses oil, so don’t worry if you have oily tendencies, it’s the one cleanser type your oily skin will love and react best to.

Some of my more natural balm cleansers are packed with such a cocktail of skin gorgeousness, I like to leave them on the skin (when I have time) for a good 15-20mins as a mask before removing… heaven.

Amba’s Hit List:

Cleansing Balms

Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm £38.00 for 100ml, - my personal favourite!

Keep you eye open for regular offers at marks and Spencer & Feel

REN Rosa Centifolia™ No.1 Purity Cleansing Balm£24.00 for 100ML

Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm,  £39.50 for 105g

Cleansing Oils

Decleor Micellar Oil £25.00 for 150ml
Elemental Herbology Harmonising Cleanser £29.00 for 100ml - great for balancing combination, oily skins. 
Aesop Parsley Seed Facial cleansing Oil £39.00 for 200ml

And for those who still love a wash…………..

All the gel cleansers from REN are lovely, try the ClearCalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser for calming breakouts and inflammation £19.00 for 150ml

Caudalie Instant Foaming Cleanser £15.00 for 150ml
Murad Renewing Cleansing Cream £28.00 for 200ml – best for dryer skins!