Balance. The key to almost everything in life, including the human body. We all know by now that a balanced gut is a healthy gut. And a healthy gut assists with everything from immunity function, inflammation and even our mental health. Just like the gut, our skin has its own microbiome which requires balance too.
Let’s get to know our skin’s microbiome and why it’s key to healthier, happier skin.
What is the skin microbiome and why is it important?
Put simply, the skin microbiome is the term used to describe the trillions of bugs that live on our skin.
Our skin’s microbiome is critical to our skin’s health as it works to reinforce the natural barrier of defence (e.g. providing immunity and defence against bugs), protect against environmental aggressors (e.g. pollution, UV rays) and helps to regulate our skin’s natural PH levels too. When our skin’s microbiome is out of balance we can expect stressed, inflamed, dry skin and the likes of breakouts, redness, eczema, etc.
When even just one strain in our skin microbiome overgrows, this can create an imbalance and can lead to what is called “leaky skin”. This can manifest in many ways including severe breakouts, eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, sensitive skin and can even accelerate signs of maturing in the skin such as a loss of elasticity, fine lines and wrinkles.
Basically, the skin’s microbiome is crucial to healthy, happy skin!
How is the skin microbiome compromised?
Our skin’s microbiome is delicate, and there’s several ways we can unknowingly harm the balance, but we’re going to keep it in the skincare family and focus on...
Over-cleansing: Cleansing too often, or with harsh ingredients, can do more damage than good. Basically, you can strip your skin of the good oils that keep it healthy and balanced, and cause damage to your skin barrier. While we recommend cleansing morning and evening (and even double-cleansing), we recommend doing so gently and with the right ingredients to keep skin soft, nourished and most importantly, in-tact. Cleansing should aim to get rid of daily dirt, make-up and SPF that can clog pores and cause breakouts, it should never leave your skin feeling taut and tight. This is a potential sign that you could be over-cleansing or using ingredients that aren’t suitable for your skin.
Over-exfoliating: Exfoliation is key to promoting softer, smoother and younger-looking skin. But over-exfoliating can damage and disrupt your skin’s barrier, causing micro-tears, flaking, redness or irritation. Be sure to use ingredients suitable to your skin type, exfoliate when the skin is moistened and warm, and don’t over-scrub. Keep exfoliation to one or two times a week, depending on your skin type and needs.
Over-doing your skincare routine: By this we mean, using too many active ingredients (AHAs, BHAs, vitamin C, retinol) in your skincare routine, because using too many potent actives can change the behaviour of your skin, essentially throwing the microbiome out of whack.
How to achieve a balanced skin microbiome
Thankfully, it’s really easy to keep your skin’s microbiome in check. Just focus on the ingredients you use and how you use them...
Use gentle products: Opt for gentle products with natural ingredients, especially products that include nourishing ingredients like oils, aloe vera, shea butter and squalane. When it comes to nourishing while cleansing, for example, we recommend Clarity: Nourishing Dual-Phase Cleanser as it’s formulated with squalane and passionfruit seed oil that both work to improve hydration levels within your skin.
Embrace skin minimalism: We have a blog dedicated to skin minimalism here. But in short, skin minimalism focusses on quality over quantity. This means focussing on a simplified routine aligned with your skin type, your skin’s needs and your skin goals. And in doing so, you peel your routine back to a cleanse, target and restore routine. There’s no overcomplicating things and using too many actives at once (actives include AHAs, BHAs, vitamin C, retinol). So, learn how to layer your skincare the right way, learn what actives to alternate, and practice nourishing and caring for your skin.
Use probiotics: We have a blog dedicated to probiotics here. Basically, one of the best ways to keep your skin’s microbiome in balance is to add probiotic-infused skincare products into your routine. Probiotics deliver nutrients to our skin to protect against bad bacteria, decrease inflammation, assist to prevent premature ageing, and more. Probiotics are particularly good for those of us who experience breakouts because they create an optimal environment for our good bacteria, helping to fight the bacteria that can cause a breakout in the first place. We recommend looking at Luminosity: Brightening Probiotic Mask and The Limelight: Brightening Probiotic Lotion to deliver a dose of probiotics to your skin, assisting to fortify your skin’s barrier and protect against environmental aggressors too.
Restore hydration: Our skin’s barrier can often be damaged as a result of dehydration, so it’s important to replenish that lost hydration with products powered by humectants like hyaluronic acid and glycerin. All of our moisturisers include these ingredients. You’ll also want to double up and strengthen the structural integrity of your skin too, so that it can function in a healthy manner – this can include a mix of ingredients like vitamin B5, probiotics, rosehip oil and co-enzyme Q10. Luna Vitality: Restoring Moisture Cream is formulated with vitamin B5 which assists to bind and hold water within skin and restore its function by sealing any “leaks’ in your skin too. Yester Youth: Regenerating Facial Oil includes co-enzyme Q10 which also helps skin to retain moisture.
Cheers to healthier, happier skin!