Thought tequila was just a tipple? A patented extract from Mexican Agave, the plant uniquely used to make tequila, has been shown to help reduce rosacea in more ways than one.

Agave extract helps reduce the skin bacteria associated with triggering rosacea flare ups, called bacillus oleronius.  It’s also a potent skin prebiotic which means it helps repair the skin’s microbiome, that when damaged lets more bacteria in. Agave extract is also more moisturising than Hyaluronic Acid, and so prevents the extreme dryness associated with rosacea that can lead to more microbiome damage and worse flare ups.

There are hundreds of different bacteria on the skin but people with rosacea have been shown to have a much higher concentration of bacillus oleronius bacteria, which is specifically carried by demodex (skin) mites. This discovery has led dermatologists to assume a suspected link between the mite carrying bacteria and rosacea. Skin prone to rosacea has a distinctive and fairly volatile reaction to an increase of bacillus oleronius bacteria that results in the classic symptoms of redness, inflammation and hyper-sensitivity. So reducing levels of bacillus oleronius bacteria reduces rosacea flare ups.

All human skin is protected by a microbiome, which is a biological bacterial film covering the surface of the skin that’s made up of a fine balance of many different types of bacteria. When the skin microbiome is damaged, such as from anti-bacterial ingredients or preservatives in many skin care products or UV damage, more bacillus oleronius bacteria gets into the skin, triggering more frequent and aggressive rosacea flare ups. Damaged microbiome also results in more dryness, because the protective film that keeps moisture locked into the skin is broken or weakened, allowing moisture to leak out.

The results are more bacillus oleronius bacteria in and more moisture out, hence why rosacea flare ups are often accompanied or followed by uncomfortable levels of dryness and tightness. The problem is then made worse by the skin producing more sebum to try and counteract the dryness. The mites carrying the bacillus oleronius bacteria feed off sebum and so this brings more fuel to the fire. Age is also a heightened risk factor for an increase in bacillus oleronius bacteria because as the skin ages it gets drier. In young children there are very low levels of the skin bacteria carried by mites.

As the skin ages its more prone to damage and so becomes increasingly populated by mites and the skin bacteria they bring with them, hence why rosacea problems are more common in older people. Targeted antibiotics can kill off bacillus oleronius bacteria. The problem being, however, that they also kill many of the other types of beneficial skin bacteria living in the microbiome that help protect the skin. When the antibiotics finish, the microbiome is left even more damaged than before and so the whole cycle starts again.

So, what’s the long-term solution to this cascade effect that triggers rosacea? Like all effective solutions, addressing the root cause rather than just treating the symptoms is the logical answer. Repairing and re-enforcing the microbiome, decreasing the levels of bacillus oleronius bacteria and improving dryness eventually reduces inflammation and redness associated with rosacea. An extract taken from the Mexican agave plant used to make Tequila does all this. A new patented skin probiotic made from agave extract has been shown in studies to re-build damaged microbiome by providing food for beneficial skin bacteria to grow and multiply but that is indigestible for bacillus oleronius bacteria.

The agave extract has also been proven in trials to be faster and better at hydrating the skin than Hyaluronic Acid, meaning that while re-enforcing the microbiome and reducing the bacillus oleronius bacteria, it also helps to restore moisture which prevents the start of the cascade effect that ends with rosacea flare ups.