I’ve suffered from eczema since I was a child. Stress is a trigger and so is the cold weather and dry, centrally heated indoor environments. The start of winter 2020 with all its drama was creating a perfect storm for my eczema to flare up once again.
My usual way of dealing with my eczema is to gently exfoliate the flaky skin and then really go for it with lots of rich serums and moisturisers. It makes for a reasonable base for makeup but never really gets rid of the redness and the flaky texture just reappears.
Probiotic skincare has been on my radar for a while. I became interested in the microbiome when I had my daughter, since there’s evidence that it’s formed at birth and it affects how prone you are to allergies. I didn’t want her to develop the same skin and allergy issues as me.
After watching an IGTV talk between the fab Caroline Barnes and Lauren Gibson from Esse Probiotic Skincare I decided to try it out.
But first, a little bit of the science. Our modern day environment is increasingly unfriendly to microbes. Antibiotics, cleaning products, pesticides and other chemicals kill harmful bacteria but in doing so also get rid of helpful ones. These “friendly” microbes on your skin are called the microbiome. They help to protect your body from disease and infection by outcompeting any unfriendly microbes you come into contact with.
As the range of microbes around us, particularly in cities, becomes less diverse, this is having an effect on our health, including our skin. It’s thought that this is why allergies and skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea and acne are so prevalent in modern societies but almost unknown in hunter gatherer communities.
Studies have shown that children who grow up on farms have a more diverse microbiome than those who grow up in cities. Being in touch with the natural world, it seems, is good for our skin.
The idea behind Esse skincare is to “rewild” your skin with friendly microbes. Perfect for those of us who aren’t hunter gatherers! The products have a unique formula that contains live probiotic microbes as well as prebiotic nutrients that feed them and that’s why I was so keen to try them.
Esse products aren’t cheap so I bought the Sensitive Skin Trial Pack to see how I got on. For £32 the pack contained trial sizes of the Sensitive Cleanser, Protect Oil, Hydro Moisturiser and Nourish Moisturiser.
Trying out the products, the cleanser has a balm-like texture that wasn’t at all drying and made my skin feel clean but not tight. The oil is rich but not greasy and felt really nourishing on my skin. Both moisturisers felt lovely and left my skin feeling smooth and hydrated.
When the trial pack arrived it was November and my eczema was starting to flare up around my nose and upper lip from where it usually spreads across the lower part of my face. I was also at the start of a bout of blepharitis, which makes my eyes itchy and sore.
All of this cleared up within a couple of days of me switching to Esse. Granted, neither condition was anywhere near its worst but I’d been trying to clear up the dry flaky skin for few weeks with my usual skincare to no avail. I’d heard that switching to probiotic skincare can cause reactions such as break outs as your skin adjusts to the active ingredients. None of this happened to me but I’m aware that everyone’s skin behaves differently.
After finishing the trial pack I can honestly say that since using Esse my skin is better than it’s been for a really long time. No itchy inflammation, barely any redness and no blepharitis. My one gripe is that I’m not mad keen on the smell, but that dissipates once you’ve applied it and it’s something I’m more than willing to live with. I may just have found my skincare holy grail.
Have you tried Esse or any other probiotic skincare? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
DISCLAIMER This is an unbiased review of products I’ve purchased. At the time of writing I have no PR relationship with the brand.