Your skin boasts an ecosystem of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Together with your acid mantle, which is made up of oil and sweat secretions, these teeny microorganisms form the skin’s first layer of defence. The skin microbiome reinforces the skin's barrier by keeping aggressors – like pollution and bad germs – out, and keeping all the good stuff – like hydration and moisture – in.
Over the past decades, research has uncovered a strong correlation between maintaining a balanced microbiome and having healthy skin. On the flip side, scientists have discovered that individuals with imbalanced microbiomes are particularly vulnerable to skin conditions such as eczema and inflammation. A healthy and balanced skin microbiome is the basic building block for healthier skin. The more your microbiome thrives, the more radiant your complexion will be!
But being aware of these microorganisms on your skin is not enough. If you’re working towards healthier skin, you also need to understand how they function, and how to properly care for them.
And so, here are some ways to care for your skin microbiome!
Less is more. The ingredients in your skincare products come in direct contact with your skin, and unfortunately, not all of them are not friendly to your microbiome. Applying too many products repeatedly can result in imbalance, leading to conditions such as dryness and sensitive skin.
Use gentle cleansers that do not interrupt your skin pH or strip your skin of its natural oils. These oils fortify and strengthen your skin barrier – the last thing you want to do is get rid of them all! Be careful to not over-exfoliate your skin, and as much as possible, avoid frequent chemical and acid peels.
Avoid petrol-chemically derived ingredients and use skincare that contains microbiome friendly ingredients. Remember to read product labels.
Don’t be afraid to slather on that sunscreen!
No, we’re not asking you to cut out all the sugar in your life. But we are encouraging you to have a healthy and balanced diet. Work towards including omega-rich oils, leafy greens, nuts, and fruits, in your everyday meals.
When tackling skin conditions like eczema, rosacea, acne, or irritated skin, dermatologists actively note what state the individual’s microbiome is in. The connection between an interrupted skin microbiome and various skin conditions is one that has been established and proven by science. Your skin microbiome may be invisible to the naked eye, but it’s definitely there, fortifying and protecting your skin. Do yourself a favour by caring for it in return!
Hill, Florence Barrett. Advanced Skin Analysis. National Library of New Zealand Cataloguing-in-Publication Data Barrett-Hill, Florence, 1948-, https://www.pastiche-training.com/Distance-learning/ASA-course-books/Advanced-Skin-Analysis-Course-license.pdf.
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