Seems like EVERYONE from brands to skin care influencers are talking microbiomes right now, but what IS a microbiome? Do you even have one? What does it do?
Well, given that it’s likely the total number of microbial cells in and on your body outnumber your own human cells, and the increasingly recognised crucial role communities of microbes play in our day to day skin health, isn’t it time to get in the know? Find out more here….
1. What is it and what does it do?
Like the gut microbiome, the skin microbiome – sometimes also called ‘skin flora’ (no, not a new version of a spread for your toast!), is a biological ecosystem – or ‘community’, of organisms that live harmoniously together on the skin, and includes bacteria, viruses and fungi.
They can promote skin health by preventing infections, communicating with the immune system, participating in skin metabolism (e.g. processes where things like lipids, factors and ceramides are naturally made in the skin), and providing a physical barrier to invading pathogens and
The microbiome is part of your skin’s wonderfully complex and effective protective skin barrier, and is the 1st line of defence against invasion by pathogens and harmful bacteria.
Having a healthy skin barrier overall helps skin to be more resilient to external aggressors, helps retain
moisture and helps stimulate skin’s natural defences, including supporting its natural processes for maintenance and healing.
A healthy microbiome is also about overall balance as well as what variety of microbes are present. The presence of different microbes helps to promote or inhibit the growth of others, which helps to maintain a healthy balance.
There is a growing body of research finding an imbalanced microbiome is implicated in or a feature of common skin conditions like acne, eczema, psoriasis to name a few. But the cause of skin conditions is a very complex subject and the dermatology research scene is still doing great work to learn more about the role of the microbiome as a cause and also as a possible solution.
2. What can disrupt the balance of the skin microbiome?
Your microbiome naturally changes with you as you move through your life (yep those hormones again!), and as you change your lifestyle – e.g. if you move from the city to a countryside or vice versa, or to another continent!
However, some things we do to our skin in our daily routines can also disrupt our microbiome.
Some examples include:
– Cosmetic processes and product that
– exfoliate the stratum corneum (top layer of the skin), like chemical peels or exfoliating acids
– strip oil (sebum)
– alter the pH e.g. alkaline soap in some cleansers. The skin has a naturally slightly acid surface around pH 5.5, which favours a particular beneficial bacteria balance. Anything that makes it too acidic or shift too far to a higher (alkaline) pH could alter the types of bacteria that grow.
– Topical and systemic acne treatments
– Exposure to environmental factors: pollution chemicals, wind dryness, sun etc.
3. Probiotics: Live and inert, post- and pre-? What’s it all about??
– Prebiotics are the nutrients for feeding and promoting certain living bacteria (live probiotics), e.g. plant sugars like maltodextrin, xylitol, sorbitol etc.
– Inert probiotics are essentially formed from ‘dead’ bacteria, but which can still help trigger signals in the skin that help promote a balanced microbiome.
– Post-biotics are beneficial by-products of bacteria e.g. Lysate
What’s the low-down on Purifide’s NEW Microbiome Equalizer?
When you’re juggling managing the causes of spots to keep on top of clear skin, the common skincare approaches all involve removing oil and regular exfoliation as a basis. You may also have been using a spot or acne treatment, and you want to support your skin’s healthy balance.
So, to help rebalance and care for the spot-prone skin’s barrier – including the important microbiome, we developed Purifide Microbiome Equalizer– a light, non greasy gel-cream texture moisturiser for use day and night as part of a clear skin routine.
This daily moisturising formulation maintains the skin’s physiological pH and maintains the diversity and richness of the microbiome. The skin barrier is strengthened, and skin feels comfortable and smooth. After one month of use, skin is less oily, more balanced. And crucially the spot causing bacteria c.acnes is kept under control with no increase, and spot-prone skin is calmer with less signs
Lactobacillus ferment extract: A lab-created, non-live probiotic ingredient made by fermentation of the Lactobacillus microorganism.
Red Clover extract (trifolium pratense): known for its antioxidant properties, this has soothing properties ideal for sensitive, irritated skin.
Glycerin, squalene, vitamin E, panthenol: a quartet of classic skin-loving moisturising and conditioning components to help hydrate, smooth and strengthen the skin barrier.
As always, Purifide formulations do not block pores, are non-irritating, are dermatologically and clinically tested on spot-prone skin.