Microbes, skin care and evangelist sisters
My exploration into the world’s first probiotic serum by Esse.
So I came across this brand a few years ago, and I love their stuff.
Organic, made in South Africa, started by a (quite handsome!) scientist with a passion for plant chemistry.
I was emceeing the launch of Esse's Plus range where its founder, Trevor Steyn gave a fascinating presentation explaining everything in great length, via tele-conference no less.
I’ve used a bunch of their products - moisturisers, cleansers and masks - everything has a natural fragrance and worked well on my skin, I really loved their stuff, but kind of lost touch with the brand because I’ve had a lot of other products to use up!
Just recently, I got reacquainted - via their Plus range.
What I like, and think makes Esse a little bit different - aside from the fact that they use organic, ethically sourced natural products - is the special attention they pay in their formulations toward supporting balanced skin-microbe ecosystems.
A hallmark of the Plus range, for example, is its inclusion of prebiotics - with is basically 'food' to selectively feed beneficial microbes, within their skincare formulations, that will out-compete pro-ageing microbe species in the skin.
*For a general product review of their toner, intensity Serum, defence moisturiser and eye contour cream, click here.
This blog though, is about their probiotic serum - the world's first apparently!
Because to quote my sister who raided my beauty cabinet:
‘It’s super cool”
Natalie - twin sister who likes to raid my make-up cabinet without permission.
What’s so 'super cool' about it?
Actually, before that, let me just clear this bit up - probiotics refer to actual microbes, whilst prebiotics refer to what microbes feed on.
Ok, so what's cool? According to my sister (who has done much studying to impress me so that I will no doubt, share the bottle with her!) says most probiotic skin care products (including the majority of Esse’s products) don't actually contain live probiotics, but rather probiotic extracts.
Because incorporating live probiotics (microbes with health benefits) apparently isn’t the easiest thing to do - most products contain water and preservatives to prevent spoilage, which also happens to kill off microbes.
The Probiotic Serum+ however, contains one billion live probiotics per millilitre - with three different species of Lactobacillus in the mix - that remain capable of growth for two years from production.
Esse claims that you get 50 million of these live probiotic bad-boys per drop, activated by moisture on the skin.
Lactobacillus, the Lancelot of microbes?
According to Esse, high microbial diversity correlates with good health, and studies have shown that Americans have already lost up 25% of their microbial diversity. Further studies have shown that supplementing the skin with probiotics can be highly beneficial. Microbes defend and protect the skin against pathogens, maintaining an effective barrier.
One of these microbial strains is Lactobacillus, which studies have shown are effective in preventing disease-causing microorganisms like E.coli and Staphylococcus aureus from infecting many parts of the body by outcompeting them.
In other words, because Lactobacilli are better at utilising the resources on your skin, this leaves fewer resources for 'bad' microbes to survive.
In fact, research has shown that topical application of Lactobacillus species and extracts to the skin is effective in preventing infection, and other studies have show that it’s effective in the prevention and treatment of dermatitis and other related skin disorders like acne and eczema.
Just, as a side note... because this is really cool - did you know that less than 50% of the body is human? Crazy, but true.
We have a living, thriving super-colony of microbes living on, and inside us!
And it's only in recent decades we've begun to truly understand just how important microbes are, not just for skincare but everything! There are literally, trillions of them contributing to the fundamentals of our individual makeup...like how our microbiota - which differs from individual to individual and is influenced by our diet - can make us fat or thin, determine whether we get diabetes, even influence our happiness by determining our serotonin levels!
Some of the stuff coming out of the Human Microbiome Project relates to the complex microbial interactions prevalent on the skin - hence, savvy skin care brands like Esse incorporating these principles in their approach to skin care.
Anyway, my sister, Natalie gets atopic dermatitis sometimes, which is exacerbated by lack of sleep, dust and cat fur. Of course, she insists on having a cat, and his fur gets everywhere. Seriously, no amount of hoovering gets rid of his fur. His name is Yoda. This is he:
He’s adorable, I know. Which is why we’ve all agreed that Natalie must sacrifice herself for the cause. Anyway, she’s been using the serum and informs me her skin has felt really healthy and less dry around the nose. “It’s the lactobacillus !” She keeps saying whenever she pops into my room for a pump. I’m thinking of just getting another bottle.
Anyway, if you want to read about the product yourself, check out Esse’s website.
What’s you’re favourite skin care brand? Do you think organic really makes a difference? Let us know in the comment box below!