What is the skin microbiome and can skin care products effect it?

What is the microbiome?

The microbiome is the galaxy of microbes, (and their genetic material)  that live on, and in us.  It may surprise you to know that our human cells are out numbered  10 to one by microbes (bacteria, fungi, viruses etc ). They heavily cover almost every inch of our body.

This fact that you are a walking microbial ecosystem may well make you feel a bit squeamish, but it plays a really important role in keeping you healthy.

What about our skin?

Our skin microbiotica can help to protect us from invasion by harmful organisms. They are involved in our immune responses and some even perform vital functions that our genes have not evolved to do.

Our understanding of the skin microbiome is growing, with exciting research being done right now by dermatologists, microbiologists and geneticists working together.

 We do know that it can be affected greatly by internal and environmental factors, such as diet, climate, hygiene and even our genes. It can vary hugely between individuals. 

How does the skin microbiome change over time?

Major physical events such as puberty, pregnancy and menopause can change it greatly. In puberty, changes in skin oils can lead to an increase in the number of fat loving bacteria such as P. acnes which is linked to the skin condition of acne. And as women approach menopause, we see a reduction in skin oils and poor hydration.  It is thought that these changes, along with rising skin pH levels effect the balance of our normal skin microbes. It is believed that this may explain an increase in skin conditions such as rosacea as we grow older, and why sensitivities and irritations occur more often in mature skin. 

How can knowledge of the microbiome help us formulate better skincare?

Acknowledging that the skin is a complex and delicate ecosystem is key to creating an effective skin care system. There is certainly potential for biomimetic cosmetic actives like those in our Intense Hydration Serum to help maintain normal skin environments that may change over time.

There is research happening right now on the potential benefits of probiotic ingredients in skin care, but there is still much more to study. So for now, it is formulas with biomimetic ingredients that just make sense!

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