I’d love to tell you that there’s a miracle cure for all our skin problems. But sadly, there isn’t.
And because our bodies are such complex molecular machines, there really are no one-size-fits-all solutions for achieving younger, happier, and healthier-looking skin.
However, studies have shown our skin’s natural microbiome plays a significant role in the state of our skin.
So when our microbiome is healthy, our skin will be healthy.
But when it’s off-balance or disrupted in any way, problems like dryness and sensitivity become significantly more common.
So in today’s blog post, I thought it’d be a good idea to take a look at the skin’s natural microbiome, as well as what we can do to boost and maintain it naturally.
What Is Our Skin’s Microbiome?
Our microbiome is the community of tiny, micro-organisms that are living on our skin.
It’s mostly made up of bacteria, but it’s also not uncommon for there to be a healthy population of mites, fungi, and viruses all living on our skin at the same time. Ew, right!?!
The microbiome’s job is to protect our skin barrier and ensure that it’s functioning properly at all times.
It’s best to imagine our skin’s microbiome as an actual small community of people, where each and every person has their own designated duties to ensure that the community functions properly.
The Importance Of A Healthy Skin Microbiome
Having an off-balance or disrupted microbiome can cause a range of skin diseases, as well as causing common conditions like psoriasis, eczema, acne, dermatitis, and other skin irritations to flare up.
So essentially, a healthy microbiome means healthy skin that feels and looks its best!
But how can we ensure that our skin’s microbiome is healthy and functioning at full potential?
Below, we’ll dive into some important tips to help us boost and maintain a well-balanced microbiome.
Don’t Wash Unnecessarily
Of course, everyone loves feeling clean. But that doesn’t mean we need to rub our skin raw trying to keep ourselves clean.
In fact, scrubbing too often, or using agents that are high in antibacterial properties, can sometimes remove more than just the dirt and oil from our skin. Instead, it can kill off all of our skin’s natural flora, leaving it prone to irritation.
So with that said, it’s best to avoid classic soaps or any soap products that contain triclosan and/or alcohol.
I recommend skipping soap in the morning and simply rinse your face with warm water. In the evenings, we want to wash the day’s pollutants, makeup, creams, and oils off with a gentle soap specific to your skin type.
Keep Our Skin’s pH In Check
Healthy skin has an average acidity level of around pH5.
Anything lower than this becomes too acidic, and anything higher is too alkaline. And unfortunately, either too high or too low can cause damage to the skin barrier and can have drastic effects on our skin’s microbiome.
Of course, the microbiome will balance itself out over time, as its pH returns to normal, but it’s best to avoid using products that can interfere with its pH level.
Although we may think we’re doing our skin a favor, most face masks and scrubs are loaded with fragrances and other ingredients that can decimate your skin’s microbiome.
With that said, it’s best to use only gentle, natural soaps and skincare products that won’t affect the micro-organisms living on our skin.
For those of you with oily or acne-prone skin, I recommend using my French Clay and Charcoal Facial Soap, which will give you a healthy way to clean your skin naturally. For those of us with sensitive skin, I recommend my Sensitive Skin Soap; it won’t strip the natural oils from your skin. Whatever your choice of facial wash, be sure to follow with a facial oil, such as our Restorative Facial Oil Night Repair or a moisturizer.
Avoid Overly Hot Showers And Baths
Just like us, the natural organisms living on our skin are only comfortable at certain temperatures. For bacteria, this is usually around 25-degrees Celsius, and they really don’t really do well in either extremely hot or cold conditions.
In fact, studies have shown that hot showers can often contribute to dry, itchy skin. This is likely the cause of your winter itch.
Some researchers believe that this is because hot shower water can kill off much of our good skin bacteria, leaving our microbiome weak and unbalanced, and prone to dryness.
Avoid Brushing Or Scrubbing Too Often
Dry brushing and heavy scrubbings can be great to help us remove old, dead skin cells.
But at the same time, it can leave our skin barrier fragile and prone to sensitivity. This is because scrubbing or brushing will also remove much of the good bacteria, at the same time it removes the old skin cells.
As I mentioned above, many commercial facial masks, scrubs, and body polishes can be chock-full of harsh, chemical ingredients. Therefore, despite being designed to improve our skin, these products can actually disrupt our microbiome, leaving our skin prone to irritation and sensitivity.
Don’t eliminate these treatments from your regimen completely, just avoid using them too often.
Be sure to moisturize with a non-alcohol based product afterward to help prevent dryness, no matter your skin type.
Check our shop to browse the gentle masks and scrubs we offer.
Feed Your Skin Naturally
It’s been proven that our gut microbiome can have an impact on our skin.
So when our stomach is upset and off-balance, there’s a good chance that our skin will also be triggered. This is exactly why it’s important to eat healthy foods that contribute to whole-body health and contribute to healthy digestion.
Yogurt, for example, is an excellent way to supplement our gut’s natural bacteria, and ensure that we’re healthy both on the inside and out. I always go for plain Greek yogurt and add fruit, or nuts and honey. I also use it a lot in my cooking. Also, don’t forget to hydrate!
Don’t Overuse Skin Products
Because the skin’s microbiome is such a complex environment, there are many factors capable of throwing it off-balance. Therefore, it’s vital to consider the number of products we use every day, and how they can impact our skin’s health.
It’s best to limit the number of products we’re using on our skin, or in the very least, try to be more conscious and limit the number of chemical ingredients found in the products we do choose to use.
Plus, using fewer products is also a more environmentally friendly choice!
Most skin products contain perfumes and colorants made from unstudied, unregulated, and “patented ingredients”. So always be wary when using products that contain ingredients you don’t understand or have never heard of before.
Avoid Products With Preservatives
Preservatives are added into skincare products to do one thing and one thing only: to kill bacteria, which prolongs shelf life. And while this is great for avoiding mold in our product’s container, it’s also going to kill all of the good bacteria present on our skin when we apply it.
That’s why it’s important to avoid using products that contain preservatives. I’m always leery of products that have extra long shelf lives, or no expiry date. These are guaranteed to contain preservatives.
Maintaining A Well-Balanced Microbiome
In the end, it’s important to remember that our skin’s microbiome is constantly changing and evolving every day. And although it’s made up of tiny micro-organisms, it’s an immensely complicated process, that we still don’t fully understand.
But regardless, it’s important to know that our body’s natural microbiome can be affected by a large number of factors.
And what’s the next step in maintaining a well-balanced skin microbiome?
Choose healthy foods, especially those that contain pre or probiotics and lactic acid. Prebiotics are found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Probiotics can be found in fermented foods, including sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, fermented cheeses, and kombucha. Wine and beer too!
Fermented foods are also high in lactic acid, which is great for nourishing your skin and feeding its natural microbiome.
For your everyday skincare needs, always look for products containing all-natural ingredients, meaning those that are plant-based, or plant-derived.
Plants are equipped with regenerative and inflammatory pathways, containing potent antioxidants, phyto-acids, oleic compounds, and reactive byproducts, all of which have been shown to have a positive effect on human tissue.
And finally, make sure to avoid ingredients such as fragrance, perfumes, sulfates, petroleum or mineral oil, parabens, diethanolamine, monoethanolamine, and triethanolamine.
If you’re looking for a natural way to help prevent and reverse the signs of aging, make sure to check out my skincare combo pack, which includes everything you’ll need to obtain healthier, younger-looking skin.