What is your skin Microbiome?
The skin microbiome is all the micro-organisms that live on your skin. These organisms include bacteria, fungi and mites. It is essential not to consider micro-organisms as good or bad. What changes skin health appears to be an imbalance or dysbiosis of the micro-organisms present. So P. Acnes (the bacteria associated with acne) is present on everyone’s skin. Inflammation in the skin allows changes which see P. Acnes bacteria increase in acne lesions. The process of this is not fully understood. However, what is known is most micro-organisms living on your skin are beneficial to skin health and that when an imbalance in the organisms occur, skin disease can develop.
So what we do know Skin Micro-organisms:
- The micro-organisms protect against bacteria which would cause harm to our skin
- Support of our skin immune system
- Help maintain skin health & beauty
Eczema, rosacea, acne, allergies and the skin’s ageing process are all linked to imbalances in the skin microbiome and impaired barrier function.
What determines your skin Microbiome?
Everyone’s Microbiome is as individual as their DNA. The skin microbiome is constantly changing depending on your
- Age & gender
- where you live & environment the environment,
- lifestyle, diet, exercise, pets
- what products you put on your skin and cleansing
- inflammation which can be caused by stress, sun exposure, excess sugar, alcohol or cigarette smoke.
Which microbiota lives in your skin?
Over 250 different types of micro-organisms live on your skin.
Bacteria are the most common with over 1000 different bacteria species present on your skin. Three types, Staphylococcus, Corynebacterium and Propionibacterium, account for more than 60% of the bacterial present.
Our micro-organisms living with diversity & harmony is essential.
As stated previously, most microbes on your skin are not good or bad, but part of a diverse community living in harmony with our cells. Our skin cells provide nutrients for the micro-organism, and in return, they help protect our skin barrier.
Diversity is essential, helping protect against an imbalance of a species protects against skin disease. To find examples of this, if we look at bacteria, fungus and mites that can live on everyone’s skin without causing harm. Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), the fungus Malassezia globose (M. globose) or the Demodex mites are all part of the healthy microflora on our skin.
An imbalance of these microbes underlies common skin diseases.
Staphylococcus aureus – eczema,
Propionibacterium acnes– acne
Malassezia globose – dandruff
Demodex mites – rosacea
- Some S. aureus strains produce toxins and cell-binding proteins that inactivate antibodies. (that protect the skin)So, although they S. aureus live without causing problems when they are part of a diverse microbiome when a dysbiosis develops, S. aureus causes atopic dermatitis in some individuals.
- Propionibacterium acnes live in the oil-rich region of everyone’s skin. Internal factors allow P. acnes to overgrow. It is the dysbiosis that explains why acne develops in some people by not everyone.
- The fungus responsible for dandruff, Malassezia globose, is found on everyone’s scalp. Yet is it only in some environments and in some people that dysbiosis develops and dandruff develops.
- Demodex mites likewise are present in everyone’s hair shaft. However, in some individuals, external triggers cause overgrowth with up to 6 times the average amount and subsequent inflammation in rosacea.
The cause of each of these skin diseases is complex and not understood clearly. However, one thing is that a diverse microbiome living in harmony prevents and helps settle these and other skin woes. The future of skincare is about avoiding factors that interfere with this balance and adding products to take care of your skin Microbiome.
How to care for your skin’s Microbiome
Protect your skin barrier from damage – the DO’S & DONT’S. Though little is known as to how to protect microflora balance, there is early evidence for the use of some products on the skin and taken orally do contribute to skin health. Central to this are measures that maintain a healthy skin barrier!
DO’s – For Healthy Skin Microbiome
- Use skincare that promotes healthy skin barrier examples include Niacinamide & Ceramides. Barrier repair moisturisers that contain a 1:1:1 ratio of fatty acids, ceramides, and cholesterol is the optimum choice for repairing an impaired skin barrier.
- Products that protect and support microflora have anti-inflammatory, calming soothing – NIACINAMIDE. SELENIUM containing THERMAL SPRING WATER – thermal spring water contains minerals which help microbiota that live on your skin. SELENIUM scavenges free radicals and has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Eat a healthy diet as a healthy gut microbiome affects the health of your skin Microbiome. A healthy gut microbiome is vital in preventing and treating many skin conditions and in reflecting radiant skin health. Eat fermented foods that contain prebiotics, eat probiotics with insoluble fibre and complex carbohydrates.
- Protect from UV and blue light damage. We are all aware of the damaging effects of UV radiation. Not only can it cause DNA damage, but it also sets up inflammation in the skin that can trigger rosacea flare. More recently, the role of blue light from sunlight, digital devices (tablets, phones) and indoor lighting in setting up inflammation has been elucidated. Wear sunscreen and use sun protection as well as measures to protect against blue light stress.
DONT’S – For Healthy Skin Microbiome
The most common skin problems we see is from damage to skin barrier caused by over-cleansing, over-exfoliating, scrubbing or using incorrect skin products. Interrupting the skin barrier causes an imbalance in microflora and can result in outbreaks of acne, eczema and rosacea. Likewise, poor diet choices affect your Microbiome.
- Don’t use mechanical face scrubs, don’t over-cleanse, do not cleanse with soap
- Don’t eat excess sugar, simple carbohydrates, processed foods. Avoid excess alcohol.
The latest trend is formulating skincare with prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics to control dysbiosis. Is this effective and is this promising future for skincare or just a fad. It is too early to know. But yes, using measures that have shown to protect and promote a diverse microbiome living in harmony with your skin is essential for skin health.
For advise on skin care that helps protect your skin barrier and microbiome why not book online for a free skin analysis or call us on 33505447.
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