Prospective Placebo-Controlled Assessment of Spore-Based Probiotic Supplementation on Sebum Production, Skin Barrier Function, and Acne

J Clin Med. 2023 Jan 23;12(3):895. doi: 10.3390/jcm12030895.


Probiotic supplementation has been shown to modulate the gut-skin axis. The goal of this study was to investigate whether oral spore-based probiotic ingestion modulates the gut microbiome, plasma short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), and skin biophysical properties. This was a single-blinded, 8-week study (NCT03605108) in which 25 participants, 7 with noncystic acne, were assigned to take placebo capsules for the first 4 weeks, followed by 4 weeks of probiotic supplementation. Blood and stool collection, facial photography, sebum production, transepidermal water loss (TEWL), skin hydration measurements, and acne assessments were performed at baseline, 4, and 8 weeks. Probiotic supplementation resulted in a decreasing trend for the facial sebum excretion rate and increased TEWL overall. Subanalysis of the participants with acne showed improvement in total, noninflammatory, and inflammatory lesion counts, along with improvements in markers of gut permeability. The gut microbiome of the nonacne population had an increase in the relative abundance of Akkermansia, while the subpopulation of those with acne had an increase in the relative abundance of Lachnospiraceae and Ruminococcus gnavus. Probiotic supplementation augmented the circulating acetate/propionate ratio. There is preliminary evidence for the use of spore-based probiotic supplementation to shift the gut microbiome and augment short-chain fatty acids in those with and without acne. Further spore-based supplementation studies in those with noncystic acne are warranted.

Keywords: TEWL; acne; gut microbiome; probiotics; sebum; short-chain fatty acids.