Lactobacillius at a glance

  • Typically made by fermentation of simple organisms
  • Helps condition and bind moisture to skin
  • Supports skin’s microbiome
  • Often used with skin-beneficial prebiotics

Lactobacillius description

Lactobacillus is a gram-positive, anerobic (doesn’t like oxygen) skin-friendly bacteria. It’s the starting point for literally hundreds of ingredients that offer numerous benefits for skin, including humectant, soothing, and supporting skin’s microbiome. The types of lactobacilli used in skin care are non-living but maintain many of the probiotic benefits of the living forms. One of the ways lactobacillus helps skin’s microbiome is by breaking down to lactic acid. This alpha hydroxy acid works with skin’s natural moisturizing factor (NMF) to maintain hydration. While non-living lysate or ferment forms of lactobacillus are used in skin care, foods such as yogurt, kimchi, and kefir use live forms, known as probiotics. Oral consumption of living probiotics and application of non-living probiotic ferments and lysates to skin have been shown to improve its moisture content, strengthen its barrier, and reduce signs of sensitivity. Lactobacillus and its many forms have various usage levels in cosmetics, typically between 0.1–2%, the latter being the recommended amount when lactobacillus ferment is used to augment the product’s preservative system. These strains have GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status when used in foods; as such, the much lower amounts used in cosmetics are also considered safe.

Lactobacillius references

  • Probiotics and Antimicrobial Proteins, April 2021, ePublication
  • Molecules, February 2021, pages 1–11
  • Microorganisms, July 2020, pages 1–12
  • Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, January 2020, pages 566–577
  • Journal of Applied Microbiology, February 2017, pages 450–461

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not rated