What is a skin microbiome?
Remember Yakult? Those little red bottles of creaminess that you either loved or hated as a kid. We were told to drink this special tasting liquid because it was ‘good for us’. But how, exactly?
Yakult is packed with probiotic bacteria that are supposed to help you and your gut feel better. Probiotics are just one kind of bacteria that exists as part of an entire ecosystem which thrives in your gut. This diverse ecosystem, including fungi, viruses and microorganisms make up what’s called a microbiome. A living thing that puts up shop in our bodies to help protect against pathogens, boost immunity, and improve overall health.
Well, your skin has a microbiome too. Just like your gut, your skin has its very own ecosystem of microorganisms and their happiness can have a direct correlation with the happiness of your skin. After all, your skin is a living organism, and it’s the largest one you’ve got.
Your skin microbiome starts to form from the moment you’re born, and can be affected by internal factors—like the foods you consume—or external ones, like the products you apply. When it’s happy, your skin microbiome acts as a smart shield to protect your skin from the world. A healthy skin microbiome can also help retain moisture, reduce inflammation and protect against infection.
Researchers are still exploring exactly how the skin microbiome works. But early understandings point to a diverse and balanced range of ‘friendly’ bacteria being key to help ward off ‘unfriendly’ ones.
Why skin microbiome is important (especially if you have sensitive skin)
If you know you have sensitive skin, you’re likely already interested in various ways of caring for your sensitivities. Things like avoiding strong actives and steering clear of traditional soaps. Since the microbiome is still an emerging area of skin science, it might not be on top of your skin ‘To Do’ list. Here’s why it should be.
Every one of us has a unique skin microbiome. Various factors like environmental aggressors such as pollution, your level of UV exposure or your age can have an impact on your skin’s microbiome.
Researchers have also seen a correlation between an unbalanced microbiome and skin sensitivities like atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, rosacea, acne and inflammation.
Things that can damage your skin microbiome
We all try our best to live healthily and mindfully. But we’re also not saints. Many things in a typical modern life can damage an otherwise healthy skin microbiome. Things like being overly hygienic, or using harsh surfactants and soaps. Having less exposure to a diverse
range of microbes, AKA working in an office (even if it is at home), the skincare serums that we use and of course what we eat—all potential red flags for a skin microbiome looking for a healthy relationship.
These various elements can send your skin’s microbiome spinning and on the more mild end of things, result in dryness or redness, and in more extreme cases cause breakouts and chronic skin conditions.
Kind of daunting, but also kind of empowering. Now that we know, we can be proactive in our approach. While there’s some things you’d be hard pressed to avoid, there are many other small changes you can make to your daily routine to promote a diverse, robust and well functioning microbiome.
How you can nurture healthy skin microbiome
So you think your skin microbiome might be calling out for help. Here’s some practical ways you can answer its call and restore it back to fully functioning health.
Cleanse your skin with a super gentle, non-abrasive cleanser like our Cleanse Bar
Protect your skin’s barrier by avoiding too many harsh chemical actives and preservatives
Streamline your skin routine; we’ve said it before but less really is more
Include pre, pro and postbiotics into your skincare (our entire range is made with all three)
Not sure where to start? Our Biome Advantage System is a good place.
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