Changing our microbiome: probiotics in dermatology

Br J Dermatol. 2020 Jan;182(1):39-46. doi: 10.1111/bjd.18088. Epub 2019 Jul 28.

Abstract

Background: Commensal bacteria are a major factor in human health and disease pathogenesis. Interest has recently expanded beyond the gastrointestinal microbiome to include the skin microbiome and its impact on various skin diseases.

Objectives: Here we present current data reviewing the role of the microbiome in dermatology, considering both the gut and skin microflora. Our objective was to evaluate whether the clinical data support the utility of oral and topical probiotics for certain dermatological diseases.

Methods: The PubMed and ClinicalTrials.gov databases were searched for basic science, translational research and clinical studies that investigated differences in the cutaneous microbiome and the impact of probiotics in patients with atopic dermatitis, acne vulgaris, psoriasis, chronic wounds, seborrhoeic dermatitis and cutaneous neoplasms.

Results: Few clinical trials exist that explore the utility of probiotics for the prevention and treatment of dermatological diseases, with the exception of atopic dermatitis. Most studies investigated oral probiotic interventions, and of those utilizing topical probiotics, few included skin commensals. In general, the available clinical trials yielded positive results with improvement of the skin conditions after probiotic intervention.

Conclusions: Oral and topical probiotics appear to be effective for the treatment of certain inflammatory skin diseases and demonstrate a promising role in wound healing and skin cancer. However, more studies are needed to confirm these results. What's already known about this topic? The microbiome plays a role in human health and disease pathogenesis. Probiotics can manipulate the host microbiome and may confer health benefits for patients. Research to date has already begun to explore the utility of oral and topical probiotics for certain dermatological diseases. What does this study add? This review presents basic science and clinical trial data to support the role of the gut and skin microbiome in dermatology. Current data are reviewed on the use of probiotics in the prevention and treatment of skin diseases, including atopic dermatitis, acne vulgaris, psoriasis, seborrhoeic dermatitis, chronic wounds and cutaneous neoplasms. Future probiotic interventions are proposed.

Publication types

  • Review