Did you know that millions of different bacteria, viruses, fungi and mites contribute to your skin’s appearance?
We carry these microorganisms (referred to as skin flora) around with us on our largest organ – our skin. While the thought of housing all these microorganisms might make your skin crawl and have you reaching for the face scrub. Hold up! Our skin flora is actually vital to the health and appearance of your skin.
How do skin microorganisms help us?
Our skin is the body’s first line of defence against the invasion and growth of pathogenic (bad) bacteria. But it isn’t our skin cells that are fighting the good fight, it’s our skin microbiome. Similar to those in our gut, skin microorganisms help produce hormones, vitamins and chemicals that affect everything from our immune system to our moods and metabolism.
When conditions on our skin are optimal for our microorganisms, they are well equipped to protect us. Your skin’s inherent environment is ideal for these healthy microorganisms, it’s cool and dry and the pH is acidic. Unfortunately, everyday life presents an onslaught of problems for our skin. Modern-day skin microbiomes are considered to be half as diverse as they once were.
How is your skin microbiome being damaged?
What has caused the dramatic reduction in our skin flora?
There are many factors that contribute such as your age, job, lifestyle, hygiene, sun exposure and even the clothes you wear. A lack of skin flora diversity not only presents potential problems for our health, but it can become obvious to the naked eye. Diminished and/or unhealthy microorganisms have been linked to skin issues such as dryness, sebum overproduction, redness, rashes and breakouts.
4 tips for achieving flourishing skin flora
Modern hygiene practices such as daily showers or baths and the use of harsh soaps and detergents are detrimental to our skin health. It’s a good idea to limit the length of your showers and be mindful of how hot the water temperature is. Take a look at the cleansing products you own. Minimise the use of harsh soaps and detergents and don’t apply them to your face. Find a gentle cleanser that doesn’t strip your skin and supports good bacteria such as our Lemon Myrtle Cleanser.
We’ve all heard this a million times, but it’s true! The quality of our food and how hydrated we stay, has the power to positively impact our skin. What we don’t often consider as being good for our health is having interactions with plants and soil. Modern living has greatly reduced how often our skin is connecting with the microorganisms present in soil and this is mostly detrimental to our skin health. So, walk barefoot a little more! There's evidence it will benefit your health and immunity.
Many of us have become conscious of what we wear from an ethical standpoint, we don’t want to contribute to factory workers being underpaid and subjected to poor working conditions. We also don’t want to contribute to the excesses of fast fashion and its damaging effects on the environment. The good news is, that ethical clothing (linen, pure cotton, etc) is typically far better for our skin. Choose clothing that uses natural fibres such as cotton over synthetics as much as possible.
Soaps in general can upset the acidic balance of your skin because they are alkaline. A good way to avoid this is to try one of the microbiome soaps that are now available. When it comes to your moisturising routine be aware that many products are not microbiome-friendly, use gentle exfoliants and water attracting moisturisers (like HAs).