The major signs your skin microbiome is out of balance
Our skin is a very personal thing, linked to our self-confidence and self-identity. When we feel like our skin is looking good, we feel good too. On the other hand, 'sad skin' days can leave us wanting to spend the day under the duvet.
We blame our diet, our hormones, our genes, that big night we had last Saturday…but there’s mounting evidence that the collective community of organisms living on your skin, also known as your skin microbiome, plays a big part too.
The skin microbiome, also known as skin flora, is the community of microbes that inhabit our skin. The microbiome is made up of a mix of viruses, bacteriam fungi, viruses and mites - all invisible to the naked eye.
The microbiome influences the skin immune system, communicating directly with it. Together they play an important role in protecting our skin and skin barrier function.
A healthy skin microbiome protects against infection by crowding out bad bacteria and regulating the pH levels to a slightly acidic state of around 5.0, which is also useful for inhibiting the growth of pathogenic bacteria.
The microbiome can be compromised by both what you put on your skin and what you eat - an unbalanced gut can present as skin problems.
If you’re wondering whether your microbiome might be out of balance and in need of some love, here are some major signs to look out for.
1. Your skin is dry, dull and dehydrated
There’s a reason the microbiome has been getting so much attention from the skincare industry – if your microbiome is healthy, your skin is too. And good skin health equates to a clear complexion and dewy, radiant glow.
If your skin is thirsty, with dry patches and a tight feel, those microorganisms living on your skin are out of balance and in need of restoring.
2. You’ve got skin inflammation, such as eczema
Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition that makes your skin red, dry and itchy. The cause of eczema used to be a bit of a mystery, but new evidence and studies into the skin microbiome have concluded that an unbalanced microbiome is to blame. Eczema indicates the pathogen s. aureaus has moved in and your microbiome is lacking the right bacteria to help get rid of it.
3. You’re experiencing acne, blackheads & pimples
Acne and blackheads are the result of hair follicles becoming clogged with excess oil (sebum), dead skin cells and bacteria. To be more specific, this is when the microbe Propionibacterium acnes shows up. He might sound like trouble, but it’s not as simple as that. As a commensal microbe, P.acnes inhabit all skin, and can live in harmony in our microbiome, in fact they actually help to maintain good skin barrier function. It’s only when our pores become clogged that they become an issue.
In the past the go-to product for acne treatment has been topical antibiotics and antimicrobials, such as benzoyl peroxide. These products completely strip your skin of both good and bad bacteria, and cause massive disruption to your microbiome. Your acne may clear up, but you’ll experience redness, dryness and many more issues related to an unbalanced microbiome.