With all of the recent buzz about the skin microbiome and microbiome-friendly skincare, you’ve probably been wondering, exactly what is the skin microbiome and how sensitive is it? Here we’ll do a deep dive into how to restore your skin microbiome and counteract the everyday things that can throw it off.
What is the Skin Microbiome?
Let’s start with defining the skin microbiome. The skin microbiome can be thought of as an ecosystem - and a pretty complex one at that. Also known as the skin microbiota, the skin microbiome is essentially a vast collection of all the microbes (or skin flora) that live on or within your skin. We actually have millions of living microorganisms residing on our skin at any given time, including bacteria, fungi, arthropods, and more.
What Does the Skin Microbiome Do?
The skin microbiome has many roles to play in keeping our bodies healthy. According to Mary-Margaret Kober, a board certified dermatologist in Naples, Florida, “the microbiome in your skin, the largest organ in your body, regulates inflammation and serves as a barrier against pathogens.”
Here is an overview of some of the functions of the skin microbiome and how it plays a role in our overall health:
1. Helps To Regulate Immune Response
The skin microbiome plays an important role in regulating your immune responses. The Illinois Science Council says that “by regulating and promoting your adaptive and innate immune responses, your skin microbiota prevents and contains infection.”
2. Offers Protection From Infection
A healthy skin microbiome protects against infection in the same way that a balanced gut microbiome does -- by crowding out overgrowth of pathogenic organisms.
3. Offers Protection From Environmental Aggressors
The microbiome helps healing wounds, limits exposure to allergens, keeps the skin plump and moist, and more. Some research even suggests that it can help protect us from harmful UV rays, too.
4. Helps With Inflammation
According to mindbodygreen, “the microbiome and skin immune system ‘talk’ to each other regularly, dampening inflammation.”
Why Is A Balanced Skin Microbiome Important?
Just like your gut microbiome can get knocked out and imbalanced, so can your skin microbiome. When your skin microbiome is in balance, your skin looks and feels healthier and glowing. A strong, healthy and balanced skin microbiome means that there are enough beneficial bacteria to keep pathogens and environmental aggressors at bay. In other words, beneficial bacteria are essential to keeping the peace -- and a peaceful microbiome means skin that appears healthy, vibrant and clear.
How Sensitive is the Skin Microbiome?
The truth is that our skin microbiome is a sensitive ecosystem that is constantly evolving. Hot water showers, swimming in a chlorine pool or the ocean, and UV light are all external factors that will cause changes in our microbiome and may disrupt its balance.
"Scrubbing the skin, using really harsh cleansers with soap, and waxing and shaving are all things that can disrupt the microbiome," explains Dermatologist Dr. Mona Gohara.
Imbalance in the skin microbiome causes many chronic skin conditions like acne, eczema and rosacea. "With certain conditions like eczema and psoriasis, there is a correlation to flare ups and a disruption in the microbiome,” says Dr. Gohara.
Because your microbiome is so sensitive, it's important to know how to bring it back to balance. That’s where topical probiotics come in. Topical probiotics restore balance and counteract everyday things that can things that can throw it off.
What Are Probiotics?
In short, probiotics are live microorganisms that offer anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects. Also known as 'good bacteria', probiotics for your skin work similarly to those intended for gut health by restoring essential bacteria and rebalancing the skin microbiome.
How Does Probiotic Skin Care Work?
Probiotic skin care aims to put good bacteria back on the skin's surface to help balance and brighten the complexion. It also helps keep pH levels balanced and nurtures the skin microbiome.
“The skin microbiome is still an emerging area of research compared to the gut” says Director of Product & Innovation Lauren Trahan. “But, probiotics are impacting your microflora in two key ways: by occupying space on your skin and by excreting metabolites. By taking up space, probiotics prevent pathogenic bacteria from taking over the skin.
Additionally, many bacteria excrete enzymes which can protect skin, or anti-bacterial agents which further reduce pathogenic overgrowth.”
The Benefits of Topical Probiotics For Skin
According to Dr. Whitney Bowe, a New York City-based dermatologist, probiotics in skin care help by “acting as a protective shield against bad bacteria, dialing down inflammation, preventing premature aging in skin, among other things."
Let’s explore the three key benefits of probiotic skin care:
- Act as a protective shield to prevent more bad bacteria from entering your microbiome
- Combat the bad bacteria that has made its way in
- Repair skin function to better deal with environmental stressors like pollution
How to Restore the Skin Microbiome
One way to restore balance to your skin microbiome is to try Mother Dirt’s innovative skin, hair and body care line. Our products offer a new standard in biotic-infused skin care. We use naturally-derived ingredients and a science-first approach to help restore and maintain your microbiome.
AO+ Restorative Mist
The patented ingredient in Mother Dirt’s AO+ Restorative Mist, live Ammonia-Oxidizing Bacteria (also known as AOB), interacts with elements naturally found on your skin and in sweat to produce two powerful byproducts - Nitrite and Nitric Oxide - that are essential to a balanced skin microbiome.
By restoring this essential component to your skin, the Mist helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles, combat blemish-causing bacteria and improve skin clarity, tone and smoothness.
Prebiotic Foaming Cleanser
Mother Dirt's Prebiotic Foaming Cleanser is formulated with prebiotics from chicory root and rose water to remove excess oil, dirt and impurities without stripping your skin (this causes an in-balance in your microbiome). Our Cleanser is also oil-free, sulfate-free, paraben-free, and has been dermatologically and clinically tested.
Mother Dirt Postbiotic Serum is specially formulated to nourish your skin and rebalance your skin microbiome. It contains ingredients like squalane and essential fatty acids to nourish and moisturize while our powerful blend of postbiotics help balance your skin microbiome.
Our Serum is non-comedogenic, has been dermatologically approved and helps soothe dry skin without feeling greasy.
Postbiotic Hydrating Hair Wash
Mother Dirt Postbiotic Hydrating Hair Wash deeply cleanses hair while restoring balance to your scalp microbiome. It is specially formulated to clean dirt, debris and impurities from hair without stripping - leaving hair feeling strong, full and soft. This shampoo has been dermatologically and clinically tested and is safe for color-treated hair.
Postbiotic Hydrating Conditioner
Mother Dirt Postbiotic Hydrating Conditioner moisturizes hair without weighing it down. It is sulfate-free, paraben-free and safe for color-treated hair. Plus, it is dermatologically and clinically tested.
Postbiotic Revitalizing Body Wash
Mother Dirt Postbiotic Revitalizing Body Wash gently cleanses dirt and oil from skin without stripping or damaging the skin barrier. It contains ingredients like rose water, almond and coconut extracts to refresh and nourish, while our powerful blend of postbiotics help maintain a balanced microbiome.
Our Body Wash has been dermatologically tested and is formulated without sulfates, parabens, dyes, and synthetic fragrance.
Postbiotic Moisturizing Body Oil
Mother Dirt Postbiotic Moisturizing Body Oil improves skin hydration by 33% in as little as one hour. It contains ingredients like squalane, almond oil and apricot kernel oil to nourish and replenish dry skin, while our powerful blend of postbiotics help maintain your microbiome.
Mother Dirt Postbiotic Deodorant effectively fights and neutralizes body odor. It contains natural starches to absorb sweat and moisture while sunflower and coconut oils give a smooth glide and help keep skin nourished. It is formulated without synthetic fragrance, phthalates, alcohol, and aluminum and leaves skin feeling balanced and refreshed.
Wrapping It Up
Because your microbiome is incredibly sensitive and can be thrown off by everyday things, it's important to know how to bring it back to balance. For optimal skin health, we recommend using Mother Dirt’s Active Probiotic System to help restore and maintain your skin microbiome for healthy, radiant-looking skin.