A healthy skin microbiome protects against infection in much the same way a good gut microbiome does: by crowding out overgrowth of pathogenic organisms. Science is just starting to understand everything the skin microbiome does, but for starters: It’s an essential part of the body’s immune system. It’s intrinsically connected to the gut and the brain. It’s responsible for the functioning of the skin barrier. It keeps you moisturized, exfoliated, protected, and pH-balanced. It is, in short, the single most important element of skin health.
The human skin has 1 billion microbes (bacteria) per square centimeter and that natural bacteria maintains the skin’s immunity and prevents pathogenic growths. When your microbiome is off balance, it can result in a variety of issues.
Eczema (atopic dermatitis)
Redness & itchiness
Dry & cracked skin
Wounds that don’t heal
How to Restore your Skin Microbiome?
The first step to restoring the skin microbiome is to assess the products in your skincare routine. The ideal pH for the skin is just below 5. This is the pH that’s suitable for our skin to prevent the growth of pathogens. When we use products that are overly acidic or alkaline, we disrupt this natural pH balance and increase the likelihood of pathogenic bacteria getting into our skin flora.
How to Keep Your Skin Healthy?
It’s hard to know how much you can change your skin microbiome, especially later in life. It started with how we were born! Vaginal microbes play a big role in our skin balance. But since we can’t change how our mother’s delivered us, there are some steps you can take to support it, and help achieve healthy skin in general:
Don’t 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. Don’t over-exfoliate. This can strip away the good bacteria that helps our skin keep its healthy, dewy glow.
Moisturize. This gives your skin barrier a boost. It’s especially helpful for certain skin conditions, like eczema or psoriasis.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Some research suggests that the microbes in your gut also affect your skin. The way this works isn’t clear. But it’s a good idea to eat lots of plant-based foods. Those have prebiotics (indigestible carbs like fiber) that good bacteria really like.
Exercise. Physical activity is good for your overall health. It can also change your gut microbiome in a good way. That benefits your skin microbes, too.
Get out in nature. There’s 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 Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
Quit smoking. Cigarette smoking is bad for you in lots of ways. Studies show it can cause inflammation and disturb your skin microbiome.
Need help getting your skin Microbiome back in balance?
Schedule a consultation with Kit to formulate a customized skin care routine and discuss possible skin care treatments such as laser skin resurfacing, hydrafacials, peels, and our new CO2Lift mask!