You may be familiar with probiotics– the live cultures found in some skincare products and certain foods, like yogurt and kimchi. But what’s this business about pre- and postbiotics and what exactly makes them good for your hair? Read on for a crash course on these microscopic hair helpers and how you can incorporate them into your hair care routine.
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are living, active microorganisms grown specifically for the purpose of modulating the body’s natural microbiome (in our case, the scalp). Often referred to as “healthy” or “friendly” bacteria, probiotics work wonders for maintaining gut health and immune function. While most pre-, pro-, and postbiotics can be taken orally either as food or in the form of supplements, these good bacteria have also found their way into topical products for the hair and skin.
What are Prebiotics?
Prebiotics are any compound or nutrient that feeds those healthy bacteria known as probiotics. They occur naturally in a lot of fiber-rich, plant-based foods like bananas, asparagus, corn, leeks, onions, and garlic. Without prebiotics, probiotics would have no food source and wouldn’t be able to work their magic.
What are Postbiotics?
The easiest way to think of postbiotics is that they are the probiotics’ leftovers. Essentially, postbiotics are what the live, healthy bacteria (probiotics) produce after they consume prebiotics. Pre-, pro- and postbiotics all offer similar benefits, because all three work together to balance the good bacteria on your skin and improve your chances for growing enviably healthy hair.
Relationship to the Scalp
That’s all great info, but how exactly do these good bacteria and their by-products benefit your scalp? First, a refresher on what’s happening up there. The scalp is home to a delicately balanced microbiome of microorganisms responsible for producing healthy hair. When the microbiome is out of whack, your scalp can underproduce or overproduce sebum or oil, leaving your hair looking either dry and lackluster, or greasy and weighed down. With this in mind, it’s important to maintain that fragile system by keeping your scalp nourished and properly hydrated.
Using harsh shampoos and having an excess of product build-up can cause an increase in the growth of bad bacteria on the scalp. This can dramatically impede hair growth and cause problems like breakage and split ends. No good! Probiotics work to protect the skin barrier and rebalance the scalp’s microbiome, which can help your hair grow long and strong.
There have been decades of research about the efficacy of pre- and probiotics in haircare, and while research on postbiotics is still fairly new, it’s been encouraging. A 2020 clinical trial* of 160 participants suffering from the hair loss condition, alopecia, showed that 47.5% of subjects who used a postbiotic gel experienced 100% hair regrowth. We like those odds!
Salwa Petersen has wholeheartedly leaned into this cutting edge research by incorporating growth-enhancing postbiotics in our Chébiotic™ Hair Mask. This luxurious and deeply hydrating conditioning mask features a powerful blend of fortifying Chébe seeds to strengthen and lengthen, along with postbiotics to gently, but effectively soothe your scalp’s microbiome, creating the perfect environment to grow the healthiest hair.
Have you tried adding postbiotics into your hair care routine yet? Click here to try our Chébiotic™ Hair Mask for yourself.* Rinaldi F, Trink A, Pinto D. Efficacy of Postbiotics in a PRP-Like Cosmetic Product for the Treatment of Alopecia Area Celsi: A Randomized Double-Blinded Parallel-Group Study. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2020;10(3):483-493. doi:10.1007/s13555-020-00369-9