Microbiome is the skin word d’jour. Many products are claiming to support, to promote and even to heal your microbiome. But what even is your microbiome? That’s why we’re here. To break down all the lingo and tell you what you really need to know.
What is the skin microbiome?
Much like a gut microbiome, the skin microbiome consists of the bugs (yes, bugs, but the good kind!) that live on our skin.
The skin microbiota refers to the millions of different organisms – bacteria, viruses and fungi – that reside on human skin. The skin microbiome is the genetic material of all these microbes.
So far over 1,000 species of bacteria and up to 80 different fungi have been identified while researching the skin microbiota.
Why must we protect our skin microbiome?
In short, because it builds up our skin barrier and runs defense against the outside world.
Those little buggers on our skin train our immune system to recognize the good and the bad bacteria. They also block pathogens, control inflammation and build up our skin barrier. They even help block UV radiation (!!!) and keep an overall balance of the skin ecosystem (much like the gut microbiome does in our guts!).
When our skin microbiome is depleted, it can leave our skin open to excess bacteria, premature aging, depletion in collagen and sun damage.
How do we protect the skin microbiome?
Be. Gentle. Yes, be gentle with it. Your skin knows what’s best (thanks to thousands of years of hereditary intelligence) and is trying desperately to regulate itself. That is difficult for it to do with everything we slather on it in the name of beauty. Be sure your diet is naturally rich in probiotics to help feed your microbiome and finally… stress. The brain, gut and skin (and their microbiomes!) all react very negatively to stress. So do what you can to curb those stress sweats.