Why Is The Skin Microbiome Important
You may already know that the skin is the largest organ of the human body, so its well-being is pretty important when it comes to health and disease. The skin microbiome plays an important role in the human immune system and many immune functions.
Just like the microorganisms in our gut, skin microorganisms have essential roles in the protection against invading pathogens, the education of our immune system and the breakdown of natural products, according to Nature Reviews Microbiology. The skin is colonized by beneficial microorganisms and serves as a physical barrier to prevent the invasion of pathogens.
This means that the skin microbiome has a variety of functions when it comes to keeping our body healthy. The skin microbiome doesnt just defend against invading bacterial pathogens, but also can help fight off infections, ease inflammation and protect us from outside harm.
What Is Vaginal Ph Balance
Ph balance is a measure of how acidic or alkaline something is. To find a pH balance, we measure how many hydrogen atoms a substance has. The more hydrogen atoms, the less acidic the substance will be, and the lower the pH rating.
Ph balance is measured on a scale from 0-14. Battery acid has a pH balance of 0, which means it is extremely acidic. Drain cleaner and bleach both have pH balances of 13-14, which means they are extremely alkaline. Water measures 7, placing it directly in the middle of the scale.
Current Market Offering In Skin Microbiome
At the moment, the market is generally focused on offering prebiotic and probiotic solutions. Consumers are likely to be familiar with probiotics in relation to gut health and live dairy products, although it should be emphasized that when it comes to cosmetics, products contain extracts made from bacteria rather than live cultures. Some brands take a scientific stance with products designed to address specific concerns and benefits, such as reducing wrinkles, while others place the emphasis on nature, overall skin health, holistic lifestyles and green beauty.
From skin microbiome-friendly cleansers and moisturizers, to skin microbiome-enhancing probiotic mists and serums, there is plenty ofopportunity to innovateand also to redefine or reposition established products.
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What Are The Dos And Donts Of Microbiome
Do: Opt for gentle products with clean, simplified ingredient lists. “Being more mindful of your skins microbiome will improve your skins health at its source,” explains Cutlan. “In fact, you may realize that some of skin issues you are trying to address with your regimen, such as dryness, acne, redness, wrinkles, are actually caused by your product usage.” When the skin barrier is compromised, Bowe recommends focusing on nourishing ingredients including aloe, jojoba oil, shea butter, and squalane oil.
Don’t: Use harsh ingredients or over-treat the skin. “When cleansing, avoid harsh surfactants that strip the skin of its natural oils and denature proteins,” says Cutlan, noting that natural soap bars are known culprits as they have high pHs that will disrupt the skin’s natural low pH and favor the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Be just as wary of irritating ingredients , such as preservatives, essential oils, and other chemicals, in the products you layer on after.
Do: Incorporate pre- pro- and post-biotics that support a healthy microbiome. “These ingredients can help with microbiome maintenance and balance to help the skin recover faster from threatening ingredients,” says Cutlan, who suggests using fermentation-derived ingredients, such as bacterial lysates and filtrates, which contain rich secondary metabolites that nourish the skin and microbiome. Better yet, look for a skin-care brand that’s certified microbiome-friendly, such as Biophile or Dr. Elsa Jungman.
The Peacekeeper: Our Active Probiotics System Starter Kit
The PeaceKeeper features the foundations of our Active Probiotic System to repair the damage caused by traditional skincare and restore the skin microbiome for your most biologically balanced and radiant skin.
This kit is an excellent option for all skin types and includes our Prebiotic Foaming Cleanser, Postbiotic Serum and patented AO+ Restorative Mist.
These three products work together, using prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics to help restore and maintain your skin’s natural ecosystem.
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What Is Your Skin Microbiome
Your skin microbiome is a diverse ecosystem where lots of organisms live. And they serve many different purposes, but one key feature is to help your skin stay healthy and maintain a tight barrier from the outside world.
Similarly to your gut, your skin microbiota was colonized at birth. Before that, your skin was sterile within the womb and then exposed to different bacteria depending on whether you were born vaginally or via C-section.
Believe it or not, your skin flora ecology differs depending on where it is located.
There are 3 different location groups are sebaceous , moist, and dry and flat.
For example, the oily regions of the face and the moist regions of the armpits and bottom of your feet differ in the specific flora makeup. It may partially explain why rashes only show up in certain areas .
No matter where specific skin flora is located, there is a direct line of communication to your immune system. Just as gut flora communicates with your intestinal immune cells, your skins immune system is turned on and off thanks to chemical products made by different bacteria living there.
Since one of the key features of chronic skin issues is skin barrier dysfunction, this is important.
Ongoing skin immune activation can spell trouble for rebuilding healthier skin. The problem is only compounded further when youve got genetic SNPs present in a key protein called Fillagrin that help maintain appropriate skin barrier function.
Avoid Antibacterial Soaps & Choose Biome Friendly Soap
Avoiding antibacterial soaps is as important as using products that support the skins natural microbiome. Triclosan, one of the most-used antibacterial ingredients in soaps, was recently banned, but others are still used.
At our house, we avoid antibacterial soaps and make or use natural soaps instead. I always keep natural liquid castile soap on hand since it is very versatile and works for over a dozen household uses.
There are also soaps and shampoos that are designed to not interfere with the skin biome. The Mother Dirt product contains ammonia-oxidizing bacteria that research suggest may help restore healthy skin bacteria.
Ive written about the benefits of homemade soap on several occasions, and have even created several of my own recipes. You read more about those here.
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Best Practices To Maintain A Healthy Skin Microbiome
The constituents of your Skin Microbiome can sometimes be out of your control. Still, there are specific actions that you can take to either improve, support, or deteriorate this delicate ecosystem.
For example, studies reveal the microbiomes of babies born through vaginal birth contain more gut bacteria than those with Caesarean section due to the child interacting with the mother’s bacteria during birth. This factor has been shown to greatly influence a child’s development as it aids their battle against pathogens. In fact, babies born via Caesarean section were found to have a higher propensity to develop asthma, allergies, and obesity – the development of which could be partly counteracted by retroactively introducing them to vaginal bacteria after birth.
To keep your body healthy, happy, and thriving, we recommend incorporating the essential tips below into your daily routine. These include:
- Nourish Your Body Correctly
Proper nutrition is essential to maintaining a healthy microbiome ecosystem throughout your body. Experts recommend ingesting a diet rich in healthy fat , fiber, vegetables, and proteins as they help your gut bacteria, resulting in a better Skin Microbiome.
- Consume Probiotics
Probiotics can have a profound effect on the body’s Microbiome as research reveals their ability to restore the Gut Microbiome’s composition, resulting in better disease resistance.
- Bathe Correctly
- Choose Beauty Products Wisely
- Avoid Synthetic Fabrics
How To Keep Your Skin Healthy
Itâs hard to know how much you can change your skin microbiome, especially later in life. But there are some steps you can take to support it, and healthy skin in general:
Donât over-sanitize. You can upset the balance of your microbiome if you clean your skin too much, especially if you use lots of antibacterial products. Some experts think too much washing raises the odds babies will get eczema. But we need more research on this.
Moisturize. This gives your skin barrier a boost. It’s especially helpful for certain skin conditions, like eczema or psoriasis. You donât have to spend a lot of money on fancy creams. Petroleum jelly works just fine. Just make sure you stay away from harsh ingredients.
Eat a balanced diet. Some research suggests that the microbes in your gut also affect your skin. The way this works isnât clear. But it’s a good idea to eat lots of plant-based foods. Those have prebiotics that good bacteria really like.
Get out in nature. Thereâs evidence that green spaces can help our microbiome and boost our mental and physical health.
Treat medical conditions. Skin problems are common when you have certain unmanaged health issues. That includes diabetes and inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohnâs disease or ulcerative colitis.
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How Do Probiotics Work
Probiotics are live bacteria, healthy bacteria that provide many health benefits when consumed. Topical probiotics can have excellent skin health benefits when incorporated into your skin care routine.
Probiotics for your skin work similarly to those intended for gut health by restoring essential bacteria and rebalancing the skin microbiome. Growing research suggests that applying probiotic skincare “helps get healthy microbes back into balance.”
Basically, probiotic skincare aims to put good bacteria back on the skin’s surface to help balance and brighten the complexion. It also helps keep pH levels balanced and nurtures the skin microbiome.
“The skin microbiome is still an emerging area of research compared to the gut,” says Lauren Trahan, Director of Product & Innovation.” But probiotics impact your microflora in two key ways: by occupying space on your skin and excreting metabolites.
Nonetheless, probiotics deserve a spot on your skincare routine.
The Role Of Staphylococcus Epidermidis And Corynebacterium Kroppenstedtii In Skin Barrier Health
Staphylococcus Epidermidis is a keystone bacterium for the skin. It has anti-inflammatory properties and most strains play a role in maintaining skin health .
Corynebacterium Kroppenstedtii is also part of the normal skin microbiota, but increased levels have been associated with skin redness.
DSMs novel, in vivo study, reveals that SYN-UP® fights against dry skin conditions and skin redness by boosting levels of Staphylococcus Epidermidis and reducing Corynebacterium Kroppenstedtii levels. See graphs:
By influencing Staphylococcus Epidermidis and Corynebacterium Kroppenstedtii levels in the skin microbiome and rebalancing urokinase and plasmin symbiotically, SYN-UP® fights against dry skin conditions and redness. This means consumers can have confidence in achieving a stronger skin barrier and healthy-looking skin.
1 Journal of Dermatological Science 79 119126 2 Science 363 issue 6424 , 227-228. 3 The cinco de mayo study 2018
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Epibiome Beauty A New Level Of Skin Wellbeing
At DSM, we believe that the interaction between the epidermis and skin microbiome has an important role to play in a holistic beauty regime. As this significance is still underestimated, we have taken a unique opportunity to combine two complimentary approaches:
MICROBIOME RESEARCH, which is deeply embedded in DSMs innovation culture
CORNEOCARE, DSMs approach to achieving the ultimate skin appearance and sensation by building a strong epidermal barrier.
Weve combined this expertise and our knowledge to create new innovative solutions under our EPIBIOME BEAUTY approachEPIdermal microBIOMEbeauty focuses on the interplay between the skin barrier and microbiome, to explore new ways to preserve, reinforce, and restore healthy skin at its root.
What Are The Best Ways To Support And Protect The Skin Microbiome
Could the secret to good skin be less skin care? Skinimalism has entered the chat. Some experts, like Dr. Jungman, are advocating for a radically minimalist approach that allows the microbiome to thriveand subsequently, the skin to, as welljust as nature intended. Dr. Jungman points out that every product used has the potential to disrupt the microbiome, which is why its key to maintain a minimal routine using products with fewer ingredients .
The data we have shows that on average, we use 126 unique ingredients per day on our skin, Dr. Jungman says. And each of those ingredients can potentially interact with your microbiomeoften killing bacteria or damaging the skin barrier. She suggests looking at your routine and asking if you really need that double-cleansing method or that toner , or if you even need to wash your face at all . The less you do, the less you use, the better youre optimizing your skin for the long term.
There are also a few ingredients you should be especially apprehensive about: antibiotics, antibacterials , and alcohol, as these can reduce your skins protective microbes and leave it vulnerable.
But perhaps most importantly of all, dont stress it too much. Dr. Chan says that as long as your skin is generally healthy and not irritated or sensitized, you dont need to toss all your favorite products. Just practice all things in moderation, dont overdo it with acids, and make sure to moisturize, she says.
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Skin Conditions And The Microbiome
Your microbiome can change in ways that arenât helpful. This imbalance is called dysbiosis. Itâs not clear why this happens. But itâs linked to certain health conditions, including:
- Wounds that donât heal
What Is Skin Barrier And How Does It Get Damaged
The skin barrier is the outermost part of the outermost layer of the skin .
This shield is the first protection against harsh elements from the environment. And it also plays an important role in keeping moisture in your skin. Preventing it from dehydration.
To be even more specific, the skin barrier itself consists of several organizations. Its quite complex but to make it simple, you can see it as three departments.
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The Human Cutaneous Microbiome
The human skin is one of the largest organs of the body corresponding to a surface of 2 m2 which extends to approximately 25 m2 considering the plethora of hair follicles and sweat ducts , . This huge surface area is heterogeneous across the body, and it is continuously exposed to the external environment and has many vital functions. Skin acts as a physical, chemical, immunological, radiation and free radical barrier. Its main function is to maintain homeostasis by preventing water and extracellular fluid loss , by keeping a constant body temperature through the perspiration process and by protecting the body from infection and toxic substances , . In addition, the skin harbours immune cells and is inhabited by billions of resident commensal microorganisms which constitute the socalled skin microbiome 1) , , .
What Causes Imbalance In The Skin Microbiome
Various factors can cause an imbalance in the skin microbiome, some of which include chronic inflammation, stress, changes in the skin’s pH levels, and your diet.
Modern hygiene practices are also one of the leading contributing factors. Rather than nourish skin, traditional skincare has worked against it and disrupted its natural biological state by stripping away the good bacteria.
Your beneficial bacteria love a natural pH level of 5, but many soaps contain harsh ingredients with a pH of 10. These high levels of alkalinity can cause both damage the skin barrier and throw off the necessary environment that beneficial bacteria need to thrive.
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Protects Us From Environmental Aggressors
The microbiome also aids in wound healing, limits exposure to allergens, minimizes oxidative damage, and keeps the skin plump and moist. In fact, new research shows that it can protect us from harmful UV rays. The study found that when mice with the bacteria Staphylococcus epidermidi were exposed to UV rays, they developed significantly fewer tumors than the mice without it.
Probiotic Moisturizing Body Oil
For best results, we recommend following the Probiotic Body Wash with Mother Dirt Probiotic Moisturizing Body Oil. This lightweight Body Oil soothes dry skin without feeling greasy or heavy. It contains ingredients like squalane, almond oil and apricot kernel oil to nourish and replenish dry skin, while our powerful blend of probiotic extracts to help maintain your microbiome.
Our Probiotic Moisturizing Body Oil has been dermatologically tested and formulated without sulfates, parabens, dyes, and synthetic fragrance.
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The Microbiome of Dry, Itchy Skin
The ecosystem of dry, itchy skin is fragile the skin barrier can be compromised, and the microbiome is more prone to becoming quickly out of balance.
In a single center, randomized clinical study involving women with dry skin with itch, subjects using AVEENO® Skin Relief Moisturizing Lotion containing Prebiotic Oat experienced significant improvements in itch, barrier function as well as a dramatic increase in skin hydration after only 1 day, while improving the skin microbiome within two weeks. Improvements in itch were sustained even after the lotion was discontinued for a full week.