Meet Your Microbiome – Your Skin’s Invisible Ally
Our body is a complex ecosystem, home to a multitude of microorganisms collectively known as the microbiome. This invisible army plays a crucial role in our overall health, but it’s in the health of our skin (and our digestive system) where its role appears to be the most profound. Because of the relationship between a healthy microbiome and a healthy skin, the microbiome has become a hot topic in skin care and there are fairly simple things we can all do in our daily regimens to help support it.
The Microbiome: A Brief Overview
The term 'microbiome' refers to the trillions of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other microscopic life forms that reside in and on our bodies. Each individual's microbiome is unique and changes over time, influenced by factors such as genetics, diet, lifestyle, and environment. As we know, the skin is our largest organ, as well as physical barrier between our bodies and the world around us. The skin is also a diverse habitat on which millions of microorganisms thrive. In fact, each square inch of the skin hosts a unique mix of bacteria, fungi and viruses – many of whom play a critical role in defending us from pathogenic microorganisms in our environment.
The Microbiome and Your Skin Health
The skin microbiome plays a crucial role in skin health, influencing immunity, inflammation and a number of skin conditions – including inflammatory skin diseases like atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, acne and rosacea. When the microbiome is balanced, like any healthy ecosystem, our beneficial microorganisms help defend us against their harmful counterparts. When, however, the skin microbiome is thrown out of balance, our defenses against attack are weakened and the skin becomes more suspectable to both short term damage, as well as the potential to develop more chronic skin issues over time.
The Key Factors in a Healthy Microbiome
A stable and diverse microbiome is considered a sign of skin health, and various factors can influence this composition:
Our genetic makeup can determine the type and number of microorganisms that inhabit our skin.
What we eat significantly influences the microbiome, particularly the gut microbiome – but also, secondarily, the skin microbiome. A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can promote a healthy microbiome.
3. Lifestyle Choices:
Smoking, alcohol consumption, lack of sleep, and lack of exercise can disrupt the microbiome.
Exposure to air pollution, UV light, and certain chemicals can affect the skin microbiome. In particular, use of harsh soaps and stripping antibacterial products can cause extensive damage to the microbiome, ironically reducing our skin’s ability to defend itself! Also, improper skin cleansing can dramatically impact the health of the microbiome – insufficient cleansing leaves damaging pollution and impurities lodged in the epidermis, while overzealous cleansing with harsh ingredients strips the skin.
A healthy skin microbiome can also positively impact the aging process by increasing resilience, making the skin less prone to infection, inflammation and moisture loss. Just like our body needs proper nutrition to stay healthy, our microbiome requires care too. This includes cleansing the skin to remove impurities and pollution, while not stripping the skin of its natural moisture barrier.
Ultrasonic cleansing technology, such as the bt-sonic and bt-micro fusion, can enhance cleanser performance by up to 600% without disrupting the skin microbiome. These technologies are a valuable ally in maintaining a balanced microbiome.
Supporting a Balanced Microbiome
Maintaining the microbiome involves providing it with pre- and post-biotics, which are essentially food for our bacterial allies. Products like the soon-to-be-launched bt-cocktail Energy Masque help to support the microbiome while boosting the skin's moisture barrier with hyaluronic acid, elastin, and oat proteins. The bt-cocktail Energy Masque is a valuable skin microbiome ally, particularly when used after more assertive cleansing and exfoliation services, because it can help maintain balance. Plus, the new bt-cocktail Energy Masque contains advanced peptides that help to reduce the appearance of skin aging while boosting skin resilience, while Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) in the masque complements skin energy.