What comes to mind when you hear the term ‘microbiome’? You might already have some knowledge about the ecosystem of bacteria and fungi, perhaps taught in a science class long ago. Therefore, your thoughts might jump immediately to the gut or the probiotic yoghurt drinks that claim to support it. However, this term is making a re-appearance to our lives in an entirely different context. We are now speaking about the skin microbiome. What is the skin microbiome? Although it sounds terribly scientific, a balanced skin microbiome is actually a major factor in maintaining a healthy, radiant complexion.
We have all you need to know.
What is the skin microbiome?
Let’s begin by having a look at what the skin microbiome is. Also called our skin flora, think of it like a protective shield. Its aim is to protect the skin against the dangers of the outside world. Irritants, pathogens, infection, there should be no getting past a healthy skin microbiome. It is the first point of contact between the skin and everything exterior. So, as you can imagine, it’s important to keep the skin’s microbiome in tip-top condition.
When it’s performing at its best, it not only recognises what should be kept out, but also locks moisture into the skin. It fights infection, eases inflammation, and helps our blemishes to heal, fast. A healthy skin microbiome is a key part of maintaining a hydrated, plump, radiant complexion.
What does a healthy skin microbiome look like?
Similar to the gut, what a skin microbiome is made up of is an ecosystem of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. When we think of a thriving rainforest, we picture different plants, flowers, and greenery living among each other. Diverse, yet balanced. The same applies to a healthy skin microbiome. A healthy skin microbiome is a well-balanced variation of all of these different types of skin flora.
On the outside, it looks like that hydrated and glowing complexion we all seek to have. However, when the skin’s microbiome is thrown off-course, it can show quite the opposite. An imbalance in the skin biome can cause problems from sensitivity and uneven tones to premature ageing. It can also trigger an overproduction of sebum, breakouts, and inflammation.
Just like in the gut, there are many things that can throw a healthy skin microbiome off course. As it’s not always possible to avoid all of these factors, it’s important to know how to balance the skin microbiome.
How to balance your skin microbiome
Our modern lifestyles are making it significantly more difficult to know how to balance the skin microbiome. From the food we’re eating to being over-hygienic with harsh products, the diversity of our skin biome has decreased. The less diverse the biome, the more likely it is to be imbalanced.
According to Healthline, the pH for the skin biome should be just below 5. At this relatively acidic pH, your healthy microbiome is thriving. However, some hygiene products like regular soaps have a pH of about 10 to destroy bad bacteria. But what about the good bacteria for the skin? These overly-harsh, alkaline products target both, disrupting our natural pH balance and in turn, our skin flora. Just like rain forests and climate change, our skin can only handle so much before it’s flora begins to diminish.
So, how can we make sure our skin’s ecosystem is kept diverse and healthy? The answer is by learning how to balance the skin microbiome.
Use gentle but effective products on your skin
Rather than using rough products that will only disrupt the skin’s pH, choose a non-stripping foaming facial cleanser.