You naturally associate your gut and microbiome with your digestive health, but you might also be aware that there's an equally strong gut-brain connection that allows your stomach to play a leading role in your mental health, as well. Still, the wonders of gut bacteria don't stop there — your microbiome is also reflected on your skin. In fact, an unbalanced gut environment could contribute to inflammation throughout the body, leading to conditions such as acne.
That skin-care link is the inspiration behind Layers, a line dedicated to encouraging great skin by way of your gut. Based on that connection, the brand promotes an "inside and outside" approach to skin maintenance, offering a probiotic supplement in addition to topical products formulated to promote clear, healthy, hydrated skin.
With nearly a decade of experience in the skin-care industry, founder Rachel Behm became interested in the potential of microbiome-focused skin-care after learning about the Human Microbiome Project. The project, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health and ran from 2007 through 2016, aimed to identify the microbes of the human body and find out more about the role they play in health and disease. (Related: How to Improve Your Gut Health — and Why It Matters, According to a Gastroenterologist)
"I think a lot of us intuitively think, 'oh, what you eat matters for your general health,' but this really started to pinpoint how gut health and skin health are so interrelated," says Behm of the project's findings. "I felt like it was an untapped area and that people could start seeing so much more profound skin results if we started taking this approach to our skin care." (Related: Everything You Need to Know About Your Skin Microbiome)
Behm channeled her fascination with gut and skin microbiome into what would become Layers, which launched in May with a Balancing Milk Cleanser (Buy It, $29, mylayers.com), Probiotic Serum (Buy It, $89, mylayers.com), Immunity Moisturizer (Buy It, $49, mylayers.com), and Daily Glow Supplements (Buy It, $49, mylayers.com).
All three of the topical products contain Lactobacillus Ferment, an ingredient derived from Lactobacillus bacteria. One of the challenges with formulating probiotic skin care is that including live bacteria in a formula is not advised since that allows for harmful bacteria to grow in the formula as well. Treating the bacteria without wiping out any chance of receiving its benefits is a "delicate process," according to Behm. Layers' Lactobacillus Ferment is "heat-treated in a proprietary way that maintains the cell structure of this bacteria," she says. "What that means is despite it being heat-treated and no longer alive in the formula, it maintains all of those positive probiotic attributes. You don't have the risk of unwanted bacteria growing in your product, but you have all the benefits of what comes with a probiotic."
Another important factor when considering how to incorporate probiotics in your healthy habits is the particular strain of bacteria derived from the Lactobacillus Ferment. For example, Layers' utilizes Lactobacillus Plantarum, which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, notes Behm. (Related: Are Probiotics Actually the Answer to All Your Vagina Problems?)
As for the "inside" (aka gut) element of Layers' two-dimensional approach, the brand's Daily Glow Supplements contain five probiotic strains, such as Lactobacillus Plantarum, which research links to improved skin hydration and elasticity, and Lactobacillus Rhamnosus, which has been researched for its potential to improve digestive health. The supplements also contain ceramides, which can help reinforce a compromised skin barrier to keep skin moisturized and protected from pathogens.
Like it or not, you've got your own unique mix of microbes living in and on your body rent-free. If your hope is to make peace with them at the benefit of your gut and skin health, you can look to Layers for products made with both in mind.