The skin microbiome: Where good skin begins

THE SKIN MICROBIOME

Let’s settle one thing before we break down the essential factors of your skin’s overall health: This blogpost is for everyone. Whether you’re an experienced skincare-enthusiast or have just dipped your toes in the wide skincare ocean and want to start off right – we got you. 

Improving your skin begins with understanding it. Therefore, we’re bringing you along on a journey into your skin’s layers to meet the components that keep your complexion healthy and vibrant. Now, this might sound a bit science-y, and it is, but you know what it also is? Exciting. And, spoiler alert, it might provide you with a new perspective on your products. So, let’s get skin-smart! 

Lesson one: Your skin microbiome – shortly put

Your skin is your largest organ and your first defense against extraneous threats. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that it takes quite a few components to keep it strong and resilient. Actually, we’re talking millions of microorganisms with various vital functions, such as: 

  • Strengthening your immune system 
  • Healing properties to treat damage 
  • Protecting against infections 

But what are these microorganisms exactly? Well, they’re a complex collection of different types of microbes, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, and more. Now, this might sound off-putting, but these powerful microorganisms and their environment play a vital role in your skin’s barrier function, meaning both how your skin feels and looks.  

What can affect my skin's microbiome?

Your microbiome is affected by extraneous factors, including environmental factors like temperature, pollution, and especially UV radiation can affect the skin’s top layer (epidermis). Other factors that can affect your skin microbiome are your genes, diet, and habits like smoking. Harsh ingredients and using the wrong products can also play a role in disrupting your skin’s natural balance and diversity. 

Vitamin E

Lesson two: Your skin's barrier function

The term ‘skin barrier’ has become quite a buzzword in the skincare community – and for good reasons. Your skin barrier (also called stratum corneum) is made of tough skin cells called corneocytes that are connected with lipids (picture this: these lipids help ‘build up’ the protective wall that is your skin barrier). 

And if you don’t give your barrier enough credit already, get this: It’s one of the most crucial protective systems in the body and, therefore, vital for your overall health. 

As dramatic as this may sounds, it’s actually true. Not only does your barrier prevent harmful bacteria and toxic, environmental threats from entering your skin, but it also keeps water from evaporating. 

Before investigating what keeps your barrier healthy, it’s essential to know what can damage it. Potential disrupters include: 

  • Too much sun exposure 
  • Harsh chemicals, including allergens and irritants 
  • Mental distress 
  • Genetic factors, e.g. psoriasis 
  • Pollution 
  • Humid or dry environments 

Your skin barrier is actually slightly acidic – and this is a very good thing. This acidic ‘film’, AKA the acid mantle, plays an essential role in the biological interactions that unfold in the skin’s healing processes. As the name suggests, your acid mantle is found on your skin’s outermost layer and serves as a barrier against bacteria, viruses, and other harmful factors, keeping the good stuff in and the bad stuff out. 

How can I restore a compromised barrier?

First step: How to identify a compromised barrier. Tell-tale signs include the skin feeling tight, dry, and itchy. You can also experience rough or scaly skin as well as discolored areas. Breakouts, inflammation, and skin sensitive to the touch are also known common symptoms. In other words: Indications can vary. Luckily, these restoring remedies are all-around heroes to protect and strengthen a distressed barrier. Look for ingredients like: 

Vitamin A Treatment Cream

    Conclusion: Keeping your microbiome healthy equals keeping your skin healthy

    Let’s sum up, shall we? 

    Your skin’s microbiome can be viewed as your skin’s environment. It’s like a little village of helpful components that work all day every day to keep you and your skin healthy by supporting your skin’s barrier function. The takeaway? To keep your skin healthy, you must keep your microbiome balanced and maintain a healthy skin barrier.  

    Sources

    What to Know About Your Skin Barrier and How to Protect It – Joy, R. Medically reviewed by Patel, R (2022). Healthline.com 

    Everything You Need to Know About the Skin Microbiome – Thurrott, S. Medically reviewed by Tareen M (2022). Everydayhealth.com 

    • How to restore sun-soaked skin

      How to restore sun-soaked skin

      Sunburns, impurities, irritation, hyperpigmentation, dryness… Whether you’ve caught yourself underestimating the effects of the rising temperatures, or you were simply unlucky, fun in the sun can come with some not-so-fun...

      How to restore sun-soaked skin

      Sunburns, impurities, irritation, hyperpigmentation, dryness… Whether you’ve caught yourself underestimating the effects of the rising temperatures, or you were simply unlucky, fun in the sun can come with some not-so-fun...

      Read more
    • Glow on the go: Skincare essentials for your vacation

      Glow on the go: skincare essentials for your va...

      You know that scene in (pretty much) every travelling movie, where the main protagonist has to force their luggage shut with their body weight? It doesn’t have to be like...

      Glow on the go: skincare essentials for your vacation

      You know that scene in (pretty much) every travelling movie, where the main protagonist has to force their luggage shut with their body weight? It doesn’t have to be like...

      Read more
    • Sunspots: From cause to treatment

      Sunspots: from cause to treatment

      The scents of freshly mowed grass, SPF, and salt water are carried briefly through the wind. Ice cream, swimming, and reading are on the agenda. Summer is here, and besides...

      Sunspots: from cause to treatment

      The scents of freshly mowed grass, SPF, and salt water are carried briefly through the wind. Ice cream, swimming, and reading are on the agenda. Summer is here, and besides...

      Read more