YOUR SKIN MICROBIOME: WHY YOU WANT BACTERIA ON YOUR SKIN
By: Juana Diez, Shop Good Product Expert
Photo via VEYALI
When it comes to a healthy microbiome, our gut gets all the spotlight. The GI tract is home to trillions of microorganisms that affect our mood, immunity, sleep, and skin health, but our gut isn’t the only place these bacteria reside.
Turns out, there are 1 trillion bugs living ON our skin too. And these bugs aren’t just living on the surface – they transcend all the way into the subcutaneous fat layer! We basically harbor a microbial UNIVERSE in and on our skin! Magical stuff!!
While scientists are now just discovering the importance of these skin microorganisms, they can agree that diversity is an important determining factor when it comes to the health of our skin and bodies. Our skin’s bacteria is our first line of defense! A healthy skin microbiome can protect against environmental pollutants, toxins, and overgrowth of bad bacteria. But a compromised skin microbiome may be more susceptible to inflammation, acne, and premature aging.
The more you know: one of the most common strains of bacteria living on our skin is called Staphylococcus epidermidis. Skin scientists say that a high yield of this bacteria means your skin is in good shape! Those experiencing inflammatory skin conditions like eczema may see less of this type of bacterium within their skin microbiome.
So, how do these bacteria get there?
Your unique microbiome starts developing during birth. A baby born via C-section will have a very different microbiome than a baby born vaginally. Exposure to the mother’s microbes in the birth canal coat the baby’s entire body, even swallowing some to be sent into the gut! For babies born via C-section, microbes are also transferred from skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding. Plus, our genetic makeup, diet, gender, activity levels, and even place where we reside all continue to affect the development of these bugs as we grow. The most interesting part – no two people have the same mix of organisms. Our skin flora is kind of like a new fingerprint!!! We are totally geeking out here!
How do we keep this skin microbiome in tip-top shape?
Don’t OVER-CLEAN — Excess use of antibacterial soaps, sanitizers and face washes can cause an imbalance in the skin bacteria and lead to inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, contact dermatitis, acne, dandruff, and even accelerated aging. / Properly cleansing your face is essential for a clear, radiant complexion, but make sure you are using a cleanser that is right for your skin type and skin concerns! Visit our Product Experts in shop or email us at email@example.com for recommendations!
Be choosy with how and when you EXFOLIATE — Over-exfoliating your skin can really mess with your skin flora and throw everything out of whack. Think, once every other week, depending on your skin type. Our favorite gentle but effective exfoliators: Province Apothecary’s Daily Glow Facial Dry Brush, Klei’s Smooth Scrub, and Ursa Major’s 3-Minute Flash Mask.
Avoid HARSH ingredients — preserving these organisms means eliminating harsh ingredients in your skincare, beauty products, and even haircare. Look for products free of parabens, phthalates, sulfites, fragrances and other powerful synthetic materials. Topical antibiotics or steroids can also disturb this fragile balance!
Avoid INTERNAL medications + antibiotics (whenever possible). Antibiotics don’t know the difference between the ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ – they’ll simply clear out both, creating dysbiosis or unbalance in the gut and possibly long lasting damage on the digestive system. Anything happening in gut flora or compromising your immune system will also influence what is happening on your skin!
Work up a SWEAT on the daily. Sweat actually functions as a prebiotic for the bugs on your skin, especially if you eat a healthy diet! These bacteria are able to convert molecules found in sweat into anti-inflammatory and antibacterial compounds that help fight against breakouts, neutralize redness, and boost your natural GLOW.
Change your PILLOWCASE once a week. Think of all the bacteria these harbor – from your hair, face, residual makeup, even from your pet. Taking the time to swap these out regularly will ensure that the microorganisms on your skin are properly nourished and the balance is just right!
Take a PROBIOTIC. While an oral probiotic does target your gut health, the gut-skin connection is VERY real and you’ll see an improvement in skin conditions because of this! New research has also shown the importance of applying probiotics topically to the skin. Try a greens-based face mask like this one mixed with goat’s milk yogurt for a brightening skin boost loaded with good-for-you bacteria, or even try mixing in the contents of your favorite probiotic supplement in there!
Eat a diet high in GOOD FATS, proteins, colorful fruits and vegetables, and PURIFIED water. Remove any inflammatory foods like gluten, dairy, and processed sugars for a healthy skin microbiome.
Keep STRESS at bay. Stress can affect our body in so many different ways, including our skin health. Whatever stress management method works for you (yoga, meditation, walks in nature) – practice it on the REG! Your skin flora will thank you.
Book a holistic FACIAL with us. Monthly maintenance by a professional is key when it comes to achieving your unique skin goals, making sure your skin is properly balanced, safely exfoliated + nourished — keeping your complexion RADIANT.
Additional questions about maintaining your skin microbiome? Our product experts and Certified Holistic Health Coaches are here ready to support! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at the Shop! 619-501-5362.