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Your Skin Microbiome: How To Give Yourself Glowing Skin

Your Skin Microbiome: How To Nurture Good Bacteria for Glowing Skin
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There’s a lot of confusion about skin health especially your skin microbiome. We wrote this article to help clear up some of the blemishes.

Your Skin's Microbiome: How To Nurture Good Bacteria for Glowing Skin
Your Skin Microbiome: How To Nurture Good Bacteria for Glowing Skin

We typically think of skin only as it relates to beauty—but it’s essential to our overall health, too. After all, it’s the largest organ in the body and the major interface between us and the world. Our skin is also home to a vast array of microbes. Research has just begun to piece together the important role they play in our health. Also, more exciting research is on the horizon.

Here’s the 101 on the skin microbiome and how to care for yours.

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Your Skin Microbiome: Key Points

  • The skin is the largest organ of the body and it’s covered in tiny bacteria that help keep us healthy.
  • The skin is meant to have a certain amount of bacteria on it at all times, this is called skin flora.
  • There are trillions of bacteria in your skin flora.
  • Your skin microbiome is part of your immune system and keeps you safe from infections.

What Is your skin microbiome?

The skin microbiome, or the skin flora, is the term for the trillions of bugs that live on our skin. There are 1,000 different bacterial species and up to 80 different fungi species. Some of these are also residents of your gut microbiome, including Staph, Strep, and Candida species. There are also a few Lactobacillus species on certain areas of the skin but much less so than in the gut.

The skin microbiome changes depending on the “eco niche,” or location. The critters also vary depending on the amount of light and whether the area is moist, dry, hairy, or oily. And the microbiome differs with age and gender. For instance, a hormonal, sweaty teenage boy sports a very different microbiome than a sedentary, postmenopausal woman.

Summary

The skin microbiome, or the skin flora, is the term for the bugs that live on our skin.

How does your skin microbiome play a role in health?

1: Communicates with our immune system

We once thought that our microbiome only existed on the surface of the skin. At this time we thought that the deeper dermal layers were sterile. We now know that’s not true. In 2013, scientists did a deep dive into the dermis looking for microbes, which were found all the way to the subcutaneous fat layer. While the researchers noted that more studies are needed, it appears that the most intimate communication between the microbiome and our immune system takes place at this layer.

It also appears there’s a lot of interaction between your skin microbiome and your immune system. This relationship is also mediated by external and internal factors with a range of impacts. In short, using bad products on the skin or near it can harm your immune system. Taking care of the skin can heal the immune system.

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2: Protects us against infection

A healthy skin microbiome protects against infection in much the same way a good gut microbiome does. This is by crowding out overgrowth of pathogenic organisms. The skin microbiome prefers a relatively acidic environment (pH is around 5.0), which also inhibits the growth of pathogens.

3: Tempers inflammation

The microbiome and skin immune system “talk” to each other regularly, dampening inflammation. When the microbiome is out of line, the immune system can release various antimicrobial peptides such as cathelicidin to help balance things out. Likewise, our good bacterial residents can inhibit the release of inflammatory compounds from the immune system.

4: Protects us from environmental aggressors

The microbiome also aids in wound healing, limits exposure to allergens, minimizes oxidative damage, and keeps the skin plump and moist. In fact, new research shows that it can protect us from harmful UV rays. The study found that when mice with the bacteria Staphylococcus epidermidi were exposed to UV rays, they developed significantly fewer tumors than the mice without it.

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Summary

Our skin microbiome has many roles to play in keeping our body healthy, namely: communicates with our internal immune system, fights off infection, eases inflammation, and protects us from outside harm.

Your skin microbiome: Imbalances and how they happen?

You’re probably familiar with the idea that loads of antibiotics, other medications, and a poor diet can damage the gut microbiome. This is the “hygiene hypothesis,” and there’s a lot of research to support this important concept.

Ditto for the skin microbiome. Excess use of antimicrobial soaps contributes to skin dysbiosis and antibiotic resistance, thus stoking various skin conditions, research shows. An imbalance in the microbiome, or skin dysbiosis, can result in many health conditions. These include psoriasis, allergies, eczema, contact dermatitis, acne, poor wound healing, skin ulcers, dandruff, yeast and fungal infections, rosacea, and accelerated skin aging.

Imbalances can be from two factors: what you put on our skin, and what you put in your body.

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1: You’re using the wrong products

So if you’re and addict to “clean,” you could be damaging your skin microbiome. Take soap, for example: By its very nature, it’s alkalinizing. That’s how it works to remove dirt and microbes. But recall that our skin microbiome prefers a pH of about 5. At this relatively acidic pH, the healthy skin thrives. It also may be that the opportunistic bacteria, the dysbiotic players, do better at a higher, more alkaline pH. And soap has a pH of up to about 10. Thus, we may actually be damaging our microflora with soap or other alkaline topical products and setting the stage for increased risk for skin issues.

Also interesting: A recent study showed that kids who hand-wash dishes have a lower incidence of allergies compared to those in families that use a dishwasher. That sounds paradoxical given what I’ve just mentioned about soap, but the authors speculate this has to do with the benefits of skin exposure to the microbes on the dirty plates.

For VERY SOFT SKIN we recommend you check out any of our great soaps. We use no harsh chemical at all. Just natural chemical free soap formulas made from nature itself. Head to our Capulets soap shop today and look them over!

Check out our Lavender and Aloe soap bar for a great bathing experience. This soap will help nourish your skin without harming your own natural bacteria. On top of that, it won’t dry you out. With our coconut and olive oil base this bar will leave your skin feeling refreshed.

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2: Your gut microbiome has an imbalance, too

New research shows that anything damaging to your gut microbiome also influences what’s happening to the skin. It’s called the gut skin axis, and scientists are just beginning to understand the connection. To date, much of the research has been done on the gut-acne connection, but the connection is strong: “The lines of communication, as mediated by gut microbes, may be direct and indirect, but ultimately influences the degree of acne by a systemic effect on inflammation, oxidative stress, glycemic control, tissue lipid levels, pathogenic bacteria, as well as levels of neuropeptides and mood-regulating neurotransmitters.”

Summary

Your skin microbiome is a strong, yet delicate thing. To ensure you are not inadvertently compromising it’s function, look at your topicals and evaluate your gut microbiome health.

How can you support your skin microbiome?

If you think you might have done some damage to your microbiome over the years, the good news is you can help support its function. By using the correct skin care products you can bring your skin back to life. Restoring youth and vibrancy to the damaged areas. Here’s how:

Eat healthy and stay hydrated

I recommend good fats, proteins, carbs, vegetables, and clean water. Keep processed foods and extra sugar out of the diet. Research shows that what you put in your mouth indeed influences your skin and skin microbiome in many ways.

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Identify and remove trigger foods

Since we know that your skin microbiome may be influenced by internal inflammation, look to limit foods that are known skin irritants. For example, dairy and gluten are both associated with exacerbating a range of skin issues, including eczema and acne.

Take care of your gut

As we know that skin issues are influenced by the gut microbiome and gut health in general, I recommend taking a daily high quality probiotic. Much research exists on the use of probiotics in supporting a healthy gut and therefore skin microbiome.

Be smart about hand sanitizers and harsh soaps

Let your microbiome thrive. While, yes, it’s critical to practice good hygiene, it’s also important to make sure you are still letting the good bacteria stick around on your skin. While easier said than done right now, you can tend to your skin by using more gentle surfactants (look for coconut derived surfactants, rather than sulfates and detergents), as well as hand sanitizers that are buffered with ingredients like aloe vera to help keep your skin barrier in check. Finally, make sure you moisturize your hands regularly after washing and sanitizing.

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Work up a sweat a few times a week

If you’re eating well, the sweat you produce is likely a fortifying prebiotic for the skin microbiome. Not to mention, working out leads to better skin health overall. When you exercise, you increase the blood flow to your skin, nourishing your skin with vital nutrients and oxygen.

Keep your stress levels in check

Just as elsewhere in the body, stress likely negatively influences what’s happening with your skin. Find a stress management method that works best for you, such as yoga or meditation. Try to practice it as often as possible. There’s not a real upper limit on how much benefit these activities may have.

Here at Capulets we like to take a long bath with anyone of our great soap bars. Using the oils in them to release the days toxins and worries. You may want to try this as well. Just pick up a bar, or a couple, of Capulets Soap and draw a very warm bath. Allow the bar to rest in the water and add oils and fragrance to the tub. Now go ahead and take your dip! Let the stress of the day just melt away.

Try a topical probiotic

Topical probiotics, like found in several skin care lines, are a growing area of research. If you are one to DIY, we recommend trying a probiotic powder mixed with coconut oil or shea butter to their skin. Research also shows that kefir or yogurt on skin also may benefit the microbiome.

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Your Skin Microbiome: Final Thoughts

With each passing year, we come to realize more and more how important our skin microbiome is for our overall health. Not only will it help our skin aesthetically, it helps protect our body. If you want to make sure your microflora is flourishing, just be mindful of harsh products and keep your skin moisturized.

Your Skin Microbiome: Skin Care Takeaways

  • The skin is the largest organ of the body and it’s covered in tiny bacteria that help keep us healthy.
  • The skin is meant to have a certain amount of bacteria on it at all times, this is called skin flora.
  • There are trillions of bacteria in your skin flora.
  • Your skin microbiome is part of your immune system and keeps you safe from infections.

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