There’s A Flourishing Community Of Bacteria On Your Face Right Now – It’s Called The Microbiome.
Most wellness-minded individuals are familiar with the gut microbiome – the network of good bacteria that lives in your stomach and intestines that helps you digest, regulate systems, and more. Guess what: you also have a thriving family of microbes contributing to your well-being on your face as well! It’s often referred to as “skin flora.”
Usually when people think about bacteria, fungi, viruses and even mites, they tend to get grossed out. The truth is, these inspiring microorganisms provide the crucial service of protecting and nourishing your skin. In fact, these microscopic creatures even make your skin work better! After all, the epidermis is the body’s largest organ. At any given time, it provides a home to 1000 unique bacteria species and up to 80 different fungi species. Part of cultivating a holistic view of skin health involves understanding the critical role these bacteria play in maintaining your overall health.
What Disrupts The Microbiome?
Everyone has their own unique skin flora combination, which can change based on many factors. Some of these factors are more predictable like age and diet, but others like environmental changes and skyrocketing stress levels can cause unanticipated changes in skin flora. When your microbiome is out of whack, skin issues like acne, psoriasis, eczema, and inflammation tend to flare up.
One of the biggest disruptors of the microbiome is our contemporary obsession with cleanliness. We’re all about clean living, but skin that’s too squeaky-clean is a harsh, unwelcoming environment for good bacteria. Eliminating all bacteria – especially the good ones – can prove to be detrimental to your health and your glow.
Scrubbing your skin during cleansing, using too-hot water, and other harsh actions like waxing and yes, even shaving, can also disrupt your skin's microbiome.
How To Encourage Good Bacteria On Your Skin
Encourage good bacteria by protecting and nourishing your skin’s natural barrier. This barrier is composed of fatty substances secreted from the lower layers of the skin to the top, like sebum. A healthy skin barrier protects your microbiome from an overgrowth of bad bacteria, which can be inflammatory and irritating.
By replenishing the body with essential fatty acids and water, and choosing our skincare products with care (avoiding those that dry it out) we can strengthen this barrier function.
Assessing your skincare routine is another great way to protect your skin flora. Which products do you use that cause your skin to feel overly dry and unbalanced? Are you still using your favorite over-the-counter, highly-processed face cleanser because you like the way it smells, but it makes your skin feel dry and tight after use? We promise, you’ll fall for the soothing scents of natural botanicals, coconut, and other whole ingredients soon enough. Give natural skincare a chance to balance your skin’s microbiome.
Maintaining good bacteria on your skin also starts in your gut. By adding in foods that are rich in omega fatty acids, monounsaturated oils and fiber, you give your body a leg up on nourishing your skin from the inside out.
Your Natural Beauty Guide To A Healthy Microbiome
From supplements to your local grocery aisle, there are many easy ways to balance your skin’s microbiome through diet and lifestyle. Here are just a few ways to achieve a healthy microbiome:
- Probiotics: when taken either orally or topically through sprays, creams and lotions, probiotics support your body’s natural microbiome.
- Skin Foods: one of the reasons we create whole-ingredient products is because we know that skin health is holistic and starts from the inside. There are some foods you can eat to support your internal health, including fermented foods to your diet like sauerkraut, kombucha or live culture yogurts. In addition, there are plenty of healthy, whole foods rich in essential fatty acids and oils that will nourish your skin:
- Aloe Vera – the juice from this skincare staple is mainly based on multitasking sugars like D-glucose and D-mannose. Also contains smaller amounts of skin-restoring elements like phytosterols, vitamins, enzymes and essential amino acids.
- Argan Oil – rich in Vitamin E, made of 80% fatty acids including omega 6 and omega 9, two of the most important omegas when it comes to topical skin health. Plus you can eat it and massage it into the skin, good for your body inside and out!
- Avocado – another amazing skin food that you can eat or apply topically, avocado contains a juggernaut combination of monounsaturated fatty acids as well as vitamin E, B vitamins, fiber and potassium.
- Switch to Natural, Clean Beauty: Synthetic, excessively foaming face and body wash products strip your skin of it’s natural oils and bacteria – a recipe for microbiome decimation. We recommend any of the following products to kick-start your skin’s microbiome health: