Tartu researchers to use probiotics against common skin diseases

While the use of probiotics is already an everyday practice in the food industry, their use in skincare products is still a novel direction, which is also studied by medical researchers of the University of Tartu. They are developing a probiotic skin product to help relieve the symptoms of atopic dermatitis and acne by supporting the microbiota of the affected skin.

Changes in the skin microbiome are known to occur in the case of atopic dermatitis and acne. Probiotic products help to ensure a normal microbial community in the skin. The use of a local probiotic skin product could therefore reduce the complications of these two skin diseases and make the symptoms weaker or disappear at all.

“Metabolic products of probiotic bacteria, such as lactic acid, make the skin’s pH more acidic and less favourable to pathogenic microbes causing inflammation,” explained Imbi Smidt, Research Fellow of Medical Microbiology at the University of Tartu, describing the effect of probiotics.

Safety study and prototype

The project of developing the probiotic skin product is planned to be carried out in two stages: first, a safety study is conducted on healthy volunteers, then suitable prototypes are selected, and, in cooperation with the University of Tartu Department of Dermatology and Venerology, tested on patients with atopic dermatitis and acne.

In the study, researchers use three lactobacilli strains with probiotic properties that have antagonistic activity against skin inflammation in acne and atopic dermatitis, and three previously developed skincare products as carriers of probiotics.

The safety study will monitor the ease of use of probiotic prototypes, potential local adverse reactions and effects on the skin microbiota of healthy volunteers. In the following clinical studies, microbiological samples will be taken before and after treatment to determine the skin microbiota, as this is the only way to assess the effect of the probiotic prototype on skin microbiota, the clinical symptoms of the disease and the permanent relief or disappearance of the symptoms.

The research will result in a novel research-based prototype of a probiotic skincare product for patients with atopic dermatitis and acne.

Further information:
Imbi Smidt
Research Fellow of Medical Microbiology of the University of Tartu
+372 737 4178