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June 08, 2021 3 min read

Research in to microbiomes of the human body , to include skin and gut tell us that a diverse and physiologically important array of bacteria, viruses, fungi and archaea make their home on the skin. Typically, a person has around 1,000 species of bacteria on their skin. And, as might be expected from such a large area — roughly two square metres for an average adult — the skin offers a variety of distinct ecosystems, which create conditions that favour different subsets of organisms. We harbour roughly the same number of microbes as we have cells. This complex ecosystem is crucial to our health, affecting many processes including immunity, child development and bone density regulation. Research in this area has been extensive, with exciting work on how the microbiome develops, its influence on brain and behaviour and implications in both contributing to and treating various disorders.
A person’s gut microbiome is seeded in early life according to the bacteria they are exposed to and how successfully these microbes colonise the intestines. 

Populations of bacteria in the gut are highly sensitive to the food we eat, so sensitive, in fact, that changes in species variation and gene expression appear within three or four days following a major sift in diet. 


While the skin microbiome is less studied to date, we can assume that the same principle holds maintaining microbiota balance is key to maintaining skin health. 
How can I support my microbiome?
  1. Eat healthy and stay hydrated. 
  2. Identify and remove trigger foods.
  3. Take care of your gut.
  4. Be smart about hand sanitisers and harsh soaps. 
  5. Work up a sweat a few times a week. 
  6. Keep your stress levels in check.
  7. Cut sugar and alcohol.
  8. Add fermented vegetables to your diet.
  9. Do some intermittent fasting. 

Probiotic skincare is gaining traction with more and more companies introducing probiotic products to their line. This is relatively new but interesting. 

Eminence Organic Skin Care Clear Skin Probiotic Mask
Best for: Oily, acne-prone skin
Contains Lactic acid bacteria derived from yogurt
This mask provides a deep treatment for the skin. Its aim is to treat blemishes, redness, and uneven texture. The formula is infused with tea tree oil and clay, which is good for acne-prone skin as it helps to fight oily skin and clogged pores. Other key ingredients include shea butter, cucumber, and marigold, which moisturise and nourish the skin.
This formula also boasts lactic acid derived from yogurt, which works exfoliates and moisturises the skin. Topical probiotics improve the skin's moisture absorption and ward off the signs of ageing. Lactic acid helps reduce the intensity of wrinkles, as well as tightens pores and improves dry and dull skin with its exfoliating capabilities. It also helps improve sun damage to the skin.
Aveeno Eczema Therapy Moisturising Cream

Best for: Best for dry, itchy, and eczema-prone skin

Contains - Prebiotic oat extract

This cream contains oats, which act as a powerful prebiotic, feeding the skin’s bacteria, and encouraging a robust microbiome. The new scientific studies supporting this product are incredibly convincing. (Most companies make probiotic claims based on individual ingredients tested in a lab — they're not actually testing final formulations on human skin as Aveeno did.) In a multicentre, randomised clinical study involving men and women with mild to moderate eczema, subjects using this Aveeno cream (versus an un-fragranced placebo lotion that did not contain oats) experienced improvements in skin pH and barrier function (that is, the skin’s ability to hold water and block irritants).

They also experienced a dramatic hike in hydration (266%), all of which translated to fewer eczema patches and less itching. The cream took just 24 hours to restore a healthy skin microbiome — and that newfound equilibrium sustained even after the cream was discontinued for a full week. If it worked this well for people with eczema, it should save anyone from dry, itchy, inflamed skin.
Another product line that I was introduced to recently is esseskincare.ie which is a probiotic skin care line that originates in South Africa. 
The information on their website says;
  • You wear your microbes like living armour that protects you from invading pathogens by competitive exclusion.
  • Your resident skin microbiome helps to maintain the skin’s acidic pH, and to shape the microbial ecology by producing anti-microbial peptides.
  • Your skin microbes also produce Hyaluronic Acid and other moisturising factors.
#probiotic #skincare #skin 

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