Pre-, pro-, and post-biotics

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The microbiota: the skin’s living protective layer

Formerly called cutaneous flora, the skin’s microbiota is of increasing interest to cosmetics professionals. Behind this term, we group together all the microorganisms that interact with each other and with the skin, like bacteria, but also yeasts and viruses. Skin microbiome science focuses on the study of the genome of these microorganisms.

Microbiota, prebiotics, probiotics, post biotics: what are they and what is their purpose?

Before we begin our investigation into the meaning of these seemingly barbaric terms, let's start with a little biology lesson and look at the composition of our skin.

As most science enthusiasts know, the skin is our body's first barrier! It is composed of several lipid layers on which an ecosystem of billions of microorganisms, mainly bacteria, viruses and fungi that make up our microbiota, lives in harmony. Rest assured, this is all perfectly normal! This is what we call the skin microbiota (as opposed to the gut microbiota, which we won’t discuss here).


Even if the words "bacteria", "virus" or "fungi" can be frightening, this ecosystem is nevertheless essential to our well-being and our health. Indeed, it forms a shield against internal and external aggressions coming from many factors, such as stress, pollution, age, temperature, skin type (concentration of sebum at a given area in the human body) or in connection with our diet. It is composed of two types of bacteria, the good, which form our skin microbiota and the bad, which can harm our body. Of course, our skin has its own means of defence against all these attacks, but sometimes the "bad" bacteria prevail, unbalancing our skin and causing problems like tightness, acne, excess sebum, irritation, eczema, etc.


This is where pre-, pro-, and post-biotics come into play and by topical application, will allow our microbiota to regain its balance, by promoting the development of good bacteria.

The skin microbiota plays an important role on several levels:

  • Direct inhibition of pathogens: by occupying space and inhibiting the formation of biofilm.
  • Education of adaptive immunity: it regulates the local production of cytokines and influences the regulation of lymphocytes in the epidermis.
  • Enhancement of acquired immunity through the production of antimicrobial peptides.


What is the difference between pre-, pro-, and post-biotic?

Prebiotics are the "food for the bacteria" of the skin and can stimulate their growth. In the long term, they will allow bacteria to strengthen the skin's defences and preserve the epidermal barrier.

Probiotics are (in cosmetics) good, inactivated bacteria that will help maintain the balance of the skin's ecosystem. Indeed, for many technical reasons (toxicity, conservation, stability, etc.) the living form of probiotics cannot be incorporated into our cosmetics.

Post-biotics are the beneficial residues produced by probiotics (peptides, fatty acids, bio-surfactants). They are the messengers and effectors of the good bacteria in the skin.


Aware of the importance of our microbiota, Thépenier Pharma & Cosmetics has developed its own range with a naturalness rate of over 90%, including pre-, pro-, and post-biotics, to offer its customers products that respect the good balance of the skin as well as the environment.

Do not hesitate to test our formulas, which are the result of more than 40 years of experience in the high-end cosmetic formulation by TP&C! A transformational texture that is both fresh and nourishing, enriched with our cocktail of carefully selected pre-, pro-, and post-biotics!