Everything You Need to Know About Microbiome & Skin

a woman using a magnifying glass to examine her skin | Everything You Need to Know About Microbiome & Skin

Microbiome & Skin

Skin is commonly associated with beauty, but it is also critical to our general health. After all, it's the body's largest organ and the primary interface between us and almost everything else. Our skin is also home to a diverse range of bacteria, and science is only now beginning to piece together the critical role they play in our health, with more exciting studies on the way.

What Is the Microbiome of the Skin? 

The largest organ of one’s body is the skin. It's also home to trillions of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses. The skin microbiome is the name for these invisible life forms. They're crucial to your overall well-being. 

What Does Your Microbiome Do on Your Skin? 

It's part of a physical barrier that shields you from the elements. It collaborates with the rest of your skin to: 

  • Defend against different types of infection. Some microbes have antibiotic properties and are good for the skin. They also keep your skin acidic (skin pH), which is beneficial to many germs. 
  • Assist your immune system's performance. Microbes in your skin serve as a warning flare, alerting your immune system to the presence of harmful bacteria or viruses. They also affect the way your cells react to UV light. This is the type that leads to skin cancer. 
  • Heal wounds and reduce swelling. Your immune system can be activated or deactivated by signals from your skin microbiome. This promotes healing and reduces harmful inflammation. 

What Influences the Microbiome of the Skin? 

Your "core microbiota" is a collection of bacteria that live in your skin. Early in infancy, at the age of three, these bacteria become quite stable. They can, however, change. 

Puberty hormones, for example, cause sebum, the natural oil that coats your skin, to be released. Sebum attracts certain germs and can cause pimples or acne. As a result, acne is more common among teenagers and hence more likely to occur in them. 

The makeup of your skin microbiome differs depending on where you are on your body. Some microbes flourish in damp environments, such as the wrinkles of your elbows or your feet. Others prefer patches that are dry or oily. 

Other factors that influence your skin microbiota include: 

  • Genes
  • Diet 
  • Smoking and other lifestyle choices 
  • Environment 
  • Environmental pollution 
  • UV radiation exposure 

Some events that occur early in life have an impact on your skin microbiota. This applies whether you were born naturally or via C-section. Experts are unsure how a C-section delivery may influence your health in the long run. Doctors can, however, transmit vaginal bacteria to infant skin in a variety of methods. 

The Microbiome and Skin Conditions 

Your microbiota can change in unfavourable ways and can be bad for the skin. Dysbiosis is the term for this imbalance. It's unclear why this occurs. However, it has been related to a number of health issues or one can say skin issues, including: 

Researchers are also investigating how the microbiome of the skin influences disorders like vitiligo, albinism, dandruff, toenail infections, and warts. 

How do I rebuild my skin microbiome?

It's difficult to say how much you may alter your skin microbiome, especially as you become older. However, there are certain things you can do to help it, as well as your skin in general: 

  • Avoid over-sanitizing. If you scrub your skin too much, especially if you use a lot of antibacterial treatments for acne-causing bacteria, you can upset the equilibrium of your microbiome. Some specialists believe that excessive washing increases the risk of eczema in children. However, more research is required. 
  • Moisturize. This strengthens your skin's barrier. It's particularly beneficial for skin diseases like eczema and psoriasis. One doesn’t have to spend too much money on creams that are expensive. Petroleum jelly is plenty. Just stay clear from the abrasive elements. 
  • Maintain a healthy diet. According to certain studies, the microorganisms in your gut have an impact on your skin. It's unclear how this works. However, eating a lot of plant-based foods is a smart idea. Prebiotics (indigestible carbs like fibre) are beneficial to healthy bacteria. 
  • Exercise. Physical activity is beneficial to one's overall health. It can also have a positive impact on your gut microbiome. This is also beneficial to your skin bacteria. 
  • Get some fresh air. Green areas have been shown to benefit our microbiome as well as our mental and physical wellness. 
  • Treat medical problems. When you have untreated health conditions, skin problems are prevalent. Diabetes and inflammatory bowel illnesses like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are examples. 
  • Stop smoking. Cigarette smoking is harmful in numerous ways. It has been shown in studies to promote inflammation and disrupt the microbiome of your skin. 

Take Away

With each passing year, we become more aware of the significance of our skin microbiota to our general health. It not only improves the appearance of our skin giving clear skin, but it also protects our bodies. If you want to ensure that your microflora thrives, avoid harsh products and keep your skin hydrated.