If there’s anything the past few years of living through a pandemic has taught us, it’s the power of bacteria and viruses. Because of this, there has been much more negativity regarding bacteria, rather than shining a light on all the good that it does for us. Although we may not like to think about it, our skin is home to trillions of microorganisms. These teeny, tiny microbes live on the skin almost undetected but can act as our biggest protector and shield. When we think about our skin, it’s typically in the context as it relates to beauty. However, skin health is essential to our overall health, too! After all, it is our body’s largest organ. Let’s explore the skin microbiome, how it impacts our health, and how to appropriately nurture it.
So, What is the Skin Microbiome?
The skin microbiome is the term that refers to the trillions (yes, trillions!) of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that live on our skin. It acts as the front line of defense when it comes to protecting our skin and body from things like infections. It can also help us better absorb essential nutrients and support our skin barrier's health.
The more diverse the bacteria, fungi, and viruses that live on our skin are, the healthier our microbiome becomes. This colony of microorganisms lives off of water, sebum (oil), and salts that our skin releases to keep itself cool and lubricated. It’s important to know that the skin microbiome is different in each area of your body. The microbiome on your face is much different from the one you might find, for instance, on your underarms and needs to be treated differently.
When the skin microbiome becomes unbalanced, skin conditions, such as acne, rashes, eczema, dandruff, and dermatitis may turn up on our skin. Things like UV exposure, pollution, hormones, diet, and even the products that we apply to our skin can throw it out of whack. Even more concerning, being overly hygienic, by scrubbing our hands with soap and/or using sanitizer throughout the day to reduce viral infection, we've also stripped our skin of its natural oils and the healthy bacteria that can protect our skin barrier.
How Can You Support Your Skin’s Microbiome?
Our skin microbiome is almost as unique as our fingerprint, meaning there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. It may require some trial and error to find your perfect skin microbiome-balancing routine, but we’ve compiled a list of tips to help get your skin looking and feeling its best.
Opt for Gentle Products
Look for skincare products that have clean ingredient listings. Harsh or overly synthetic ingredients, like sulfates, triclosan, or drying alcohols, have the potential to disrupt the skin microbiome. One of the largest culprits is using bar soap, which strips and over-treats the skin. For a gentle, nourishing cleanse, we recommend using our Lavender Cleanser. This ultra-gentle oil-based cleanser is made with pure, all-natural ingredients chosen specifically to care for the look and feel of delicate skin types, while effectively cleansing and removing makeup.We take great pride in avoiding “dirty” ingredients. You can read more about our ingredient guarantee here.
Less is More
We’ve all seen the intense 10-step skincare routines, but in order to have a balanced skin microbiome, you’ll want to focus on quality over quantity. Long, drawn-out rituals expose the skin to hundreds of chemicals, which can put a lot of stress on the skin and microbiome, causing imbalances, sensitivities, and other skin issues. Additionally, if you’re using exfoliators, peels, or masks, you should build in “recovery” days to ensure that your skin has enough time to rest and repair itself. For a streamlined skincare experience, look for multitaskers that can combine multiple steps into one product. Our Custom Facial Cocktail combines 3-4 skincare steps into one easy-to-use product, including a toner, a serum, treatment, and light hydration. As we mentioned, skin microbiomes are super unique, and concocting your personalized facial cocktail allows you to customize it to fit your skin’s needs.
Don’t Overdo It
Much of what we’ve covered thus far has been focused on the facial skin microbiome, but there are a few things you can do to help balance your body’s microbiome as well. Avoid over-scrubbing or over-washing your body, try reducing your water temperature, and patting your skin dry, versus rubbing it post-shower.When you do want to exfoliate, seek out an exfoliator with small, non-damaging particles. Our body scrub collection contains volcanic-derived exfoliating microspheres that are used as a gentle and effective manual exfoliant that will not create tears or harm to the skin. You can choose from uplifting Lemongrass Body Scrub, Soothing Lavender, or Invigorating Mint. Post-shower or bath, you should ensure you’re taking time to hydrate your body as well. Reach for one of our body lotions, or our latest custom product, our Custom Body Cocktail, to help nourish and protect the skin.
Some Additional Tips
-Eat more good, healthy fats, proteins, and colorful vegetables. Keep processed foods to a minimum.-Stay hydrated! Aim for drinking between half an ounce and an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day. -Opt for more natural, breathable fabrics as opposed to synthetics. -Hydrate your hands after washing to replenish moisture.