Nature has equipped your skin with a self-healing mode. The healing mode gets activated and protects your body whenever external agents, like disease-causing microbes, try to invade your body. Incredible! Isn't it?
However, do you know - like your gut, your skin - the largest organ of your body - houses millions of microbes, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi? Yes! All of these microorganisms make the skin microbiome enable the self-healing mechanism. These are the 'good guys' essential for creating a protective barrier, healing a damaged skin barrier, boosting immunity, and keeping the pH balance intact.
From pollution, sun damage, and wrong skincare to stress and lifestyle, you happen to bombard (mostly unintentionally) your skin with elements and things not meant for it. Therefore, a healthy skin microbiome is a must to shield your skin and fix the damaged skin barrier.
Here we have a rundown of your skin's microbiome, how it serves as a defensive barrier against external elements, and how to restore the skin microbiome.
What do you mean by skin microbiome?
Usually, when you hear words like bacteria, virus, mites, and fungi, it sends a message to your brain that reads - harmful, dangerous, and dingy. However, if there are harmful microbes, there are good ones too.
So, you can describe the skin microbiome as a group of good bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc., that live on your skin. And you share a symbiotic - mutually beneficial - relationship with them. Most importantly, these microbes are the untold secret to healthy and glowing skin.
According to the founder of New York's Russak Dermatology Clinic and a board-certified dermatologist, Julie Russak, MD, the quantity of bacterial DNA in your body is more than that of human DNA.
Like gut flora, every person has a skin flora as unique as their fingerprints. Moreover, it is different at different places in your body.
The microbiome of your skin, along with the moisture or lipid barrier and the acid mantle (a thin protective film on your skin), forms a barricade against various extrinsic elements.
If your skin's microbiome is unbalanced or disrupted, or you have a damaged skin barrier, it can lead to various skin conditions, including psoriasis, atopic dermatitis (eczema), and acne vulgaris. Therefore, it is imperative to take care of your skin flora in the best possible way.
What do studies say about skin microbiomes?
Studies on the skin microbiome are still in their early stages. However, they have opened a new dimension of skin biology and how it impacts our skincare regime. Most importantly, these analyses have awakened the need for creating safer and healthier skincare commodities in line with the skin and its microbial community.
For example. the use of actives like niacinamide in skin microbiome and acne protection products is a good example.
Why do you need a healthy skin microbiome?
As far as a healthy skin microbiome is concerned, it works as an inherent protective tool to shield your body from unwanted and harmful external entities. When it is fit, diverse, and functions at its best, it doubles as a biodynamic film. This film is constantly at work and decides what to allow in and what to block out.
So, when your skin barrier is healthy, it welcomes moisture and keeps potential skin irritants at bay. It is how a healthy skin microbiome works against irritation, infection, and inflammation.
On the other hand, when one member of your skin microbiome community happens to overgrow others, it may lead to an imbalance or dysbiosis, resulting in a damaged skin barrier. Whitney Bowe, M.D., a seasoned dermatologist based out of New York City, anoints this imbalance - leaky skin. And when your skin leaks, it can surface in different ways in the form of skin disorders like psoriasis, acne, eczema, rosacea, and sensitive skin. Furthermore, it can also exacerbate the signs of aging, including wrinkles, fine lines, pigmentation, uneven skin tone, and loose skin.
What factors affect your skin microbiome?
Although your skin's microbial herd is stable and has self-healing potential, several factors affect the microbiome. These include the following:
Skincare and makeup products.
What are the signs of a damaged skin microbiome?
Below are the signs of a damaged skin microbiome:
Dull and dehydrated skin.
Recurring skin infections.
Worsening of existing skin conditions, such as acne, pimples, and rosacea.
Signs of aging getting more prominent.
How do you cause more damage to your microbiome than good?
Many things you do in your daily life cause more damage to your skin flora than good by destroying the good microorganisms that act as your skin barrier. Here are some instances:
Using harsh cosmetics and topical antibiotics.
Over-exfoliating your skin.
Applying lathering soaps claiming to have antibacterial properties.
How can you fix those habits?
Make sure to use products that preserve your skin's natural flora.
Do not over-exfoliate your skin, as it compromises your skin microbiome significantly.
Include probiotics in your diet and skincare to boost good bacteria.
Use skincare that nourishes, hydrates, and replenishes.
Many skincare brands, for example, DermDoc, have developed products that help maintain a healthy and diverse skin microbiome while striking the right balance between the microbes. Always remember! Excess of anything, irrespective of how good it is, is bad. So, having too much of a particular strain of bacteria or virus can also be detrimental to your skin. Therefore, you need a balanced microbiome diversity.
How can you keep your skin microbiome healthy and diverse?
Although how one can maintain a diverse skin microbiome is not known clearly, experts are working on it. Dermatologists and researchers are not clear about what makes healthy skin flora as yet. However, even a basic understanding of skin and skincare would be sufficient, say some experts.
For example - generally, your skin prefers an acidic environment. However, some cleansers, toners, or other skin care items may change that setting to alkaline or base. It may disturb your skin microbiome, leading to skin problems. So, you need to choose skincare after reading the labels carefully.
Skin experts recommend finding skin barrier repair cream or other formulations comprising ingredients that hydrate your skin while keeping your skin's natural moisture untouched. Skin-friendly brands like DermDoc emphasize infusing their products with ingredients that do not irritate your natural skin flora. One such miraculous ingredient is hyaluronic acid. However, it is not the only ingredient. You have many other elixirs to try on. Read on to find out!
Hyaluronic acid cream
How to restore skin microbiome? One of the best answers to this question is - using skincare products that help you maintain a healthy pH balance, the one that your skin microbiome prefers, i.e., acidic - somewhere between 5.5 and 6.5. Moreover, hyaluronic acid cream would help lock natural moisture in and strengthen the skin barrier.
If you are looking for a lightweight and quick-absorbing hyaluronic acid face cream, the DermDoc pH Rebalance Face Cream with 0.5% Hyaluronic Acid makes one of the best bets. It penetrates deep into your skin and restores the natural pH of your skin while making it smooth and hydrated. You can also opt for hyaluronic acid moisturizers.
Many women ask - "How can I restore my skin's microbiome?" The answer lies with Niacinamide. It is a star ingredient suitable for all skin types. Niacinamide helps reduce redness and inflammation owing to its calming and anti-inflammatory properties. It can be used in the form of niacinamide toner as well. It also fosters your skin's barrier and flora, helps with moisture retention, works on blemishes, and provides you with clean and gorgeous skin. Niacinamide for acne is helpful in handling inflammation
To explore the benefits of niacinamide toner, you may try your hands on the DermDoc 10% Niacinamide Face Serum. It is free from Toxic 20 cosmetic chemicals, including parabens, alcohol, sulfates, and mineral oils.
Another star ingredient to add to your skincare list is ceramides. These are lipids and constitute around 50% of the lipids found in your skin. Thus, these form an integral skin barrier. These molecules work as a glue that keeps your skin cells tight and maintains your skin fence. Using products with ceramides helps lock in moisture and prevent the passage of harmful chemicals inside your skin. In addition to this, also add a face serum for dry skin into your routine.
If you wish to see ceramides reveal their magic, you can go for the DermDoc by Purplle with Ceramides, Squalane, and Vitamin E Body Lotion. It offers instant nourishment to your skin, supports your natural skin microbiome, and renders soft and beautiful skin.
A good skincare routine that includes CTM (Cleansing-Toning-Moisturizing) and excellent skincare products is essential for having good skin. Use a hyaluronic acid cream, and a face serum for dry skin to begin with. A balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle, on the other hand, are essential for maintaining your skin microbiome. Having said that, have you ever noticed that if something is wrong with your gut, it nearly always manifests itself on your skin? The key point is that the entire body is interconnected. And you must take proper care of it.
Visit DermDoc for informative and interesting blogs and a range of skin- and pocket-friendly products.