The skin microbiome is a hot topic in the field of health and beauty. But what is it anyway? Here, you’ll learn more about this ‘ecosystem’ – and why you need to take care of it.
What is Your Skin’s Microbiome?
Just like your digestive system, your skin has an ecosystem known as the microbiome. It’s a community of beneficial microbes ranging from bacteria, fungi, and arthropods.
Like your fingerprints, your microbiome has its own signature. The presence of certain organisms largely depends on your gender, skin temperature ; pH levels, and use of skin products/cosmetics.
Why the Microbiome is Important
The microbiome plays a crucial role in your immunity. Together with the skin, the microbiome serves as the first line of defense against bad bacteria, toxins, and other harmful substances.
The microbiome is more than just a barrier against pathogens though. It also helps ward off infections that have already managed to infiltrate the body. It also helps ease the signs of inflammation, such as redness and swelling.
Why Being ‘Super Clean’ is Bad For Your Microbiome
Although cleaning your skin is good, rendering it ‘sterile’ can badly affect your microbiome.
‘Super cleaning’ your skin will not only kill the bad bacteria – it can impair your skin flora as well.
When this happens, the microbiome will not be as effective in defending the skin from pathogens. It won’t be able to stop them proliferating. In the long run, this can lead to a more serious infection.
How to Support Your Skin’s Microbiome
Given the many benefits of your microbiome, it’s important that you keep your skin’s ecosystem in balance.
First off, you should avoid ‘super cleaning’ your skin. Soap and alkali material will kill your skin flora, so it’s better to use gentle skin products and those containing probiotics.
Probiotics – which translate to ‘good bacteria’ – do what their name implies. They help keep the microbiome balanced, thus keeping it effective (if not better) in fighting harmful microorganisms.
It’s also important to eat a healthy diet. You should opt for fermented food such as yogurt, miso, sauerkraut, tempeh, etc. They’re also rich in probiotics that support the microbiome in the gut and the skin.
Eating fruits and vegetables is beneficial for the microbiome as well. They’re teeming with prebiotics, which serve as food sources for probiotics. These keep the good bacteria well-fed and ready to defend the body.
Skin experts also recommend drinking lots of water. As with the rest of the body, the microbiome needs water to function well.
Add to that, lack of water intake may lead to dry skin. This cracks easily, essentially making you more prone to injuries and infections.
Regular exercise also helps strengthen your skin and gut microbiome. Not only will this do wonders for your general health, but it can improve your skin as well.
Your microbiome or skin flora keeps you safe from infection and inflammation. That said, you need to take care of it by eating ; drinking well, exercising, and using the right skincare products.