I Slathered Bacteria on My Face, and This Is What Happened

Probiotics, also known as “good” bacteria, are living microorganisms that are naturally found in our bodies. In fact, about 90% of your body is made up of bacteria. Bizarre, right? Probiotics help you maintain a healthy balance of intestinal microbes and aid in general digestion, which is one of the top areas of ailment for a majority of Americans. (I learned a lot about gut health during my weeklong stint with Bella Hadid’s diet.) In addition to the fact that it staves off stomach aches, new research is exploring the link between intestinal bacteria and general immunity, mental health, and even cancer risk.

Surprisingly enough, probiotics are also really great for your skin. Of course, I was hesitant to believe it, as slathering bacteria on my face sounds unpleasant and generally dangerous. But after chatting with Dr. Roshini Raj (she’s a gastroenterologist as well as the founder of skincare company Tula), I was singing a different tune.

“I noticed the skin changes that come with aging, and I wanted to do something about it,” Raj explained of her decision to start the brand. “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 (being a bit of a control freak!) thought I could do better. I tackled the issue as a scientist and researcher, and I started with 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 internal well-being and skin health go hand in hand. And thus, Tula was born.”

During our conversation, Raj explained the top five reasons probiotics should be part of your skincare routine.

Now that you’re all caught up on probiotics, get the lowdown about all the skin-saving benefits of retinol.