Probiotics On Your Face?
You now know how important eating your daily probiotics can be, but, have you ever thought about topically applying them to your skin?! We're currently obsessed with skincare brand TULA, because they're doing just that. Here, we talked with their founder, Dr. Raj, about why probiotics are so magic for the skin, and not just when taken internally...
What inspired you to create skincare with probiotics?
I am a gastroenterologist and internist at NYU and a medical contributor to several TV shows including the Today show, and Dr. Oz. I’ve dedicated my career to helping my patients with their health, and wanted to be able to reach more women through a product. As I entered my 40s (I'm 44 now) I noticed the skin changes that come along with aging and I wanted to do something about them. As someone who wears heavy makeup for TV several times a week, I knew that protecting my skin needed to be a priority, and I suspected many other women felt the same way.
I looked at the multitude of products out there and felt like many brands were using the same ingredients – there had been limited innovation in this category. As a scientist and researcher, and I decided to look at ingredients that I knew were good for our bodies internally to see how they affect our skin when applied topically. In my GI practice I saw firsthand how probiotics were impacting gut health and as it turned out, there had been a lot of recent research focusing on the use of probiotics topically. And thus, TULA was born.
What can our skin tell us about our health?
Your skin is the largest organ in the body and an incredibly important organ to pay attention to because it can clue us in on what’s happening on the inside. Many people know firsthand how stress hormones can cause breakouts, but there are other important indicators to look for as well. If a patient comes in with dull, flakey skin, this is often the first sign of a nutrition-poor diet. Hyperpigmentation is not only caused by sun exposure, but also could be a sign of diabetes. Rashes should be closely monitored, as they can be a sign of celiac disease, a digestive disorder that occurs in reaction to gluten.
What are the biggest environmental threats to a healthy complexion and how can we protect ourselves against them?
We all know about the effects of UV rays, but we often don’t think about our skin’s daily exposure to pollutants such as cigarette smoke, fuel exhaust, and other environmental toxins. When these pollutants settle on your skin, a surge of free radicals is produced which can cause redness, discoloration and even premature wrinkles. Even just 2 hours of exposure to today’s pollution levels can cause your skin’s antioxidant levels to drop by 25%! That’s why I’m especially excited about the launch of our Urban Defense Hydrating Mist this summer on TULA.com. It uses probiotics, liquid shea butter and marine brown algae to help boost our skin’s natural defense barrier, making it more resilient to the grim of the city. It also has coconut and rose water which act as great refreshers on a hot summer day or after a workout!
We know how probiotics work inside our bodies...how do they work on our skin? What are the benefits of skincare products containing probiotics?
Topical probiotics help to strengthen the skin’s natural defense mechanisms, making it more resistant to damage from environmental stressors by forming a protective shield on the skin’s surface. You may have heard of the “epidermis” layer of the skin. What most people don’t talk about is that there’s actually another layer on top of your skin called the microbiological layer. It’s made up of “good” bacteria that help fight off “bad” bacteria and other free radicals in the air. Probiotics help strengthen that outer most layer. In fact, The American Academy of Dermatology called probiotics a new beauty breakthrough for their skin healing, calming, and anti-microbial benefits.
A lot of your products have ingredients we recognize...because we put them in our meals! How do these ingredients benefit the skin?
That’s why we call TULA a smoothie for your skin! We’ve included these ingredients in our products because they are packed with antioxidants, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, and other skin-loving nutrients. All of these ingredients work together to nourish and balance the skin. For example turmeric can help reduce skin pigmentation (brown spots) and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
What are some of your wellness tips beyond skincare for achieving a healthy glow?
Exercise, hydration and having a sufficient amount of sleep are the three biggest elements in my beauty routine. If you are looking to achieve clear, glowing, and blemish free skin, make sure citrus fruits such as lemons, limes or grapefruits are part of your daily diet and beauty routine. Citrus fruits are a rich natural source of Vitamin C, which helps destroy free radicals in your body while providing a radiant glow to your skin and rejuvenating skin from the inside. Eating foods rich in probiotics like kimchi, yogurt, and pickles help you to maintain a healthy balance of intestinal microbes that aid digestion. Besides gut well-being, probiotics have other health-promoting benefits when ingested orally: they help boost the immune system, assist with the production of vitamins, including vitamins K, B12, B5 and biotin, and help prevent anti-inflammatory molecules from entering the bloodstream.
We understand that "TULA" means "balance" in Sanskrit. What does a life in balance look like to you? How do you find balance?
Being a mom, especially a working mom, has taught me to be incredibly organized and to manage my time more efficiently — two skills that I absolutely need since my practice, startup, and family require my attention 24/7! I also ask for help often and have learned of the importance to develop the courage and strength to say “no” when life throws too much on my plate. That said, in addition to keeping a consistent sleep schedule and eating a diet rich in antioxidants, being active is one of the best ways for me to keep my life in balance. I make sure to include even 15 minutes of yoga or meditation every day, because it helps to quiet the mind and refresh my body.