Lesson one: Your skin microbiome – shortly put
Your skin is your largest organ and your first defense against extraneous threats. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that it takes quite a few components to keep it strong and resilient. Actually, we’re talking millions of microorganisms with various vital functions, such as:
- Strengthening your immune system
- Healing properties to treat damage
- Protecting against infections
But what are these microorganisms exactly? Well, they’re a complex collection of different types of microbes, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, and more. Now, this might sound off-putting, but these powerful microorganisms and their environment play a vital role in your skin’s barrier function, meaning both how your skin feels and looks.
What can affect my skin's microbiome?
Your microbiome is affected by extraneous factors, including environmental factors like temperature, pollution, and especially UV radiation can affect the skin’s top layer (epidermis). Other factors that can affect your skin microbiome are your genes, diet, and habits like smoking. Harsh ingredients and using the wrong products can also play a role in disrupting your skin’s natural balance and diversity.
Lesson two: Your skin's barrier function
The term ‘skin barrier’ has become quite a buzzword in the skincare community – and for good reasons. Your skin barrier (also called stratum corneum) is made of tough skin cells called corneocytes that are connected with lipids (picture this: these lipids help ‘build up’ the protective wall that is your skin barrier).
And if you don’t give your barrier enough credit already, get this: It’s one of the most crucial protective systems in the body and, therefore, vital for your overall health.
As dramatic as this may sounds, it’s actually true. Not only does your barrier prevent harmful bacteria and toxic, environmental threats from entering your skin, but it also keeps water from evaporating.
Before investigating what keeps your barrier healthy, it’s essential to know what can damage it. Potential disrupters include:
- Too much sun exposure
- Harsh chemicals, including allergens and irritants
- Mental distress
- Genetic factors, e.g. psoriasis
- Humid or dry environments
Your skin barrier is actually slightly acidic – and this is a very good thing. This acidic ‘film’, AKA the acid mantle, plays an essential role in the biological interactions that unfold in the skin’s healing processes. As the name suggests, your acid mantle is found on your skin’s outermost layer and serves as a barrier against bacteria, viruses, and other harmful factors, keeping the good stuff in and the bad stuff out.
How can I restore a compromised barrier?
First step: How to identify a compromised barrier. Tell-tale signs include the skin feeling tight, dry, and itchy. You can also experience rough or scaly skin as well as discolored areas. Breakouts, inflammation, and skin sensitive to the touch are also known common symptoms. In other words: Indications can vary. Luckily, these restoring remedies are all-around heroes to protect and strengthen a distressed barrier. Look for ingredients like:
- Hyaluronic acid. A magnet for moisture that helps retain the skin’s water balance. Find it in our Daily Hydra Cream, 24-Hour Hydra Gel, Daily Mineral Gel, + Intense Hyaluronic Mask and other products
- Glycerin. A humectant that helps keep water in the skin and improves resilience. Find it in our Intense Hyaluronic Mask, Vitamin E Serum, Daily Foaming Cleanser, Daily Hydra Cream, + Vitamin Lifting Serum and other products.
- Ceramides. Help moisturize and strengthen the skin’s protective barrier. Find them in our Vitamin A Treatment Cream.
- Niacinamide. A multipurpose skincare power ingredient that soothes troubled skin while strengthening the skin’s barrier function. Find it in our Niacinamide Lifting Mist and Niacinamide Repair Body Lotion.
- Actibiome. In our formulas, an intelligent composition of various components, including special species of algae, plant extracts, and aquamarine – reduces redness and blemishes and actively restores the skin's pH balance and natural defenses. Find it in our 24-Hour Hydra Gel, Daily Hydra Cream, and Daily Hydra Cream Sensitive.
Conclusion: Keeping your microbiome healthy equals keeping your skin healthy
Let’s sum up, shall we?
Your skin’s microbiome can be viewed as your skin’s environment. It’s like a little village of helpful components that work all day every day to keep you and your skin healthy by supporting your skin’s barrier function. The takeaway? To keep your skin healthy, you must keep your microbiome balanced and maintain a healthy skin barrier.
What to Know About Your Skin Barrier and How to Protect It – Joy, R. Medically reviewed by Patel, R (2022). Healthline.com
Everything You Need to Know About the Skin Microbiome – Thurrott, S. Medically reviewed by Tareen M (2022). Everydayhealth.com
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