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Probiotics for Dandruff and Seborrheic Dermatitis: Do they work?
Probiotics are nothing new. And chances are, you've heard of the many benefits of probiotics. They are said to support a healthier digestive system, reduce gut problems, prevent diarrhea, boost your heart's health, and even combat food allergies and atopic dermatitis (eczema)! It's no wonder they're one of the most popular dietary supplements in the market.
Nonetheless, the research-backed benefits of probiotics mainly surround digestive health.
But what does a healthy gut have anything to do with your scalp and skin condition?
Great question. We'll explore what science has to say about the use of probiotics for dandruff as well as seborrheic dermatitis. But as a start, let's take a look at what probiotics are.
What Are Probiotics?
When you think about bacteria and microorganisms, it's natural for your thoughts to sway towards disease, infection, and harm.
However, as crazy as it sounds, some beneficial bacteria may actually help improve digestion, maintain a healthy balance of gut flora, and support your immune system. They may even help tackle gut-related conditions such as diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). [1, 2]
These good bacteria can be found in probiotics. Probiotics refer to live bacteria and microorganisms that can bring various health benefits when consumed or applied topically. 
While probiotic supplements have been rigorously studied for their efficacy in treating various health conditions, another possible benefit researchers are looking into is improved scalp and skin health.
How Is Dandruff Different From Seborrheic Dermatitis
Dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis are extremely prevalent skin conditions. Cumulatively, they affect around 50% of the world's population. They share similar features, and common symptoms include an itchy scalp and flaky skin. 
However, seborrheic dermatitis can manifest differently from dandruff. If you've experienced seborrheic dermatitis before, you may be familiar with some of its symptoms, such as stubborn and severe dandruff, patches of greasy skin, skin inflammation, and skin itchiness. These symptoms usually affect areas of your body rich in sebaceous glands, which are skin glands that secrete a natural oil called sebum. 
Dandruff, Seborrheic Dermatitis, & Your Scalp Microbiome
The mechanism behind dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis development is not yet well-understood. However, researchers suggest that alterations to the Malassezia population and skin barrier function may contribute to the development of these skin conditions. [5, 6]
The Malassezia yeast is a usually harmless fungus that resides on our skin and scalp. However, an overgrowth of Malassezia can trigger an immune system response that leads to inflammation and seborrheic dermatitis flareups. Research studies also suggest that the Malassezia species is associated with dandruff. 
Another research study also demonstrated that both the Malassezia species and Staphylococcus aureus bacterial species play a role in the development of seborrheic dermatitis. Hence, an overgrowth or colonization of either microorganism may lead to this skin ailment. 
Do Probiotics Help With Seborrheic Dermatitis Or Dandruff?
Yes, they may help. Research suggests that topical and oral probiotics can alleviate some of the symptoms related to these skin conditions.
For instance, one study investigated the use of the probiotic Lactobacillus paracasei for dandruff. This probiotic bacteria is widely used in probiotic supplements. In this study, participants were divided into two groups. One group was given oral probiotic supplements daily, while the other group received a non-medicated sachet of powder (placebo). At the end of the study, researchers found that oral probiotics reduced the presence of dandruff, skin redness, and scalp itchiness in participants. 
Another research review suggested that both topical and oral supplementation of probiotics can lead to improvements in seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff condition. This review noted that the L. paracasei probiotic strain altered the immune system response favorably, which supported the use of both topical and oral probiotics in tackling seborrheic dermatitis. 
Despite these promising findings, the link between probiotic usage and improvement in seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff remains controversial. Oral probiotics can indeed alter the composition of your gut microbiome.  But how this affects your skin's health and condition is not yet well-understood. In the case of topical probiotics, they may help restore a healthy balance of your skin and scalp microflora.
What's The Catch?
Not all probiotic interventions may work for every single patient. Furthermore, the optimal dosing and type of probiotic strain that are effective for these skin conditions have yet to be confirmed. You may also experience some side effects, such as fatigue, bloating, increased thirst, headache, and constipation from consuming probiotics. 
It seems that the use of either topical or oral probiotic supplements may help, though the most efficacious strategy may be the utilization of both. 
Treating seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff is a tricky process.
Like any other treatment for skin conditions, probiotics may work for some but not for others.
We've got another solution for you, which is the Calming Seborrheic Serum. This serum is designed with a blend of holistic ingredients that work together to clear away the Malassezia fungus as well as soothe, nourish, and hydrate your irritated skin. The serum works for both seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff, gently reducing redness, flakes, and flareups while restoring your healthy skin barrier.