The skin microbiome: how to maintain a healthy bacterial balance

Your gut isn’t the only place where the brutal yet all-natural battle between good bacteria and bad bacteria occurs.

Your skin has its own complex, trillion-microorganism-strong microbiome. Its legions of bacteria, fungi, yeasts, and parasites provide vital protection against the toxins and irritants you encounter every single day.

Your gut microbiome can be supported with a balanced diet, regular consumption of probiotics and prebiotics, and a well-timed gut cleanse.

You can take the same proactive approach when maintaining a healthy bacterial balance on your skin too, thanks to the following tips.

Know the signs of an unhealthy biome

As with any ecosystem, diversity is the key to a healthy skin microbiome.

Any imbalances in your microbiome will show themselves dermatologically as well as impact your wider health and wellbeing.

If your microbial balance is out of whack, your skin will not get the protection that it needs. Your skin microbiome, along with your acid mantle, provides a hardy barrier that safeguards the skin from a wide range of external factors.

From pollution and irritants to toxins and even the sun’s harmful UV rays, your microbiome helps to protect against them all.

Without this level of protection, your skin may become flaky, chapped and dehydrated. Other signs of an unhealthy skin microbiome include uneven texture, acne or breakouts, dark spots, premature ageing, moles, and dark circles. Existing skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea could worsen too.

Look after yourself both inside and out

Healthy skin starts from within, and eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly will work wonders for your skin microbiome.

Saying “no” to processed and sugar-laden foods, and “yes” to good fats, proteins, healthy carbs, and a rainbow of fruits and vegetables will help to support the good bacteria on your skin.

You should also identify and avoid trigger foods that irritate the skin and exacerbate skin conditions when eating for microbiome health. Dairy and gluten are common trigger foods for those with acne and eczema.

What you drink is important too. Stay as hydrated as possible throughout the day as chronic dehydration can affect your skin microbiome.

When it comes to exercising, it’s not the working out but the sweating that’s particularly beneficial to your biome. Sweating regularly actually feeds your skin’s good bacteria.

Go natural with your wardrobe

Ensuring your skin can breathe, especially during the warmer months, is another must for improving the bacterial balance of your microbiome.

Natural fibres like cotton are the best choice, especially when compared to man-made fabrics. These breathable fabrics help to regulate body temperature.

They also enable you to produce sebum and sweat as nature intended to create a healthy environment for skin flora.

Strip the germs but restore the goodness

In an age when hand sanitiser is king, microbiomes are unfortunately suffering. The antibacterial soaps and the preservatives found in many topical products can be particularly harsh on the biome.

While we applaud their complete annihilation of bad bacteria, they also take the good bacteria with them.

Here mindbodygreen explains how to strip the germs but restore the goodness when sanitising your hands regularly:

“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 sanitisers 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.”

Take a gentle approach to skincare

As well as taking precautions to restore and nurture the good bacteria on your hands, the same gentle approach should be taken in your wider skincare routine.

Biome friendly products that soften, nourish, smooth and hydrate are the best way to enjoy both a great skincare regime and a healthy, balanced microbiome.

Explore our organic skincare solutions and create a regime that supports healthy, beautiful skin.