There’s been a lot of talk about the microbiome in the last few years. Different studies explain the importance of gut bacteria and emphasize their importance. The results show that not only are these bacteria beneficial for our gut, but good for our overall health.
Many researchers and scientists stress how taking proper care of the microbiome can improve our general well-being. But did you know there’s also a skin microbiome? This article will discuss what the skin microbiome is and how to protect it.
What Is a Skin Microbiome?
A skin microbiome is a community of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that live on the surface of your skin. Although this may sound unpleasant to many, the skin microbiome is highly beneficial to our skin’s health. The abundance of good skin microorganisms helps defend against harmful bacteria, dryness, skin diseases, infections, etc.
The skin is the largest organ, and its primary purpose is to serve as a barrier between the outside world and your body. You can help it work more efficiently by ensuring the skin microbiome is protected.
Many people believe that they are protecting their skin by applying different creams and moisturizers or using special soaps. Unfortunately, many products advertised as being skin protective actually do the opposite. They damage our skin barrier, making us more prone to different infections and conditions.
Recent studies have shown that a skin microbiome imbalance can cause skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema, acne, and psoriasis. On the contrary, a well-balanced microbiome can even help fight skin cancer. Some studies focused on the connection between the skin microbiome and our immune function have established its significance.
Sure, you might think that bacteria, fungi, and viruses aren’t meant to be on your skin, but the opposite is the case. The “good” microorganisms play an essential role in preserving your skin and entire immune system.
How to Protect Our Skin Microbiome?
Your eating habits and choice of cosmetics have a significant impact on your skin microbiome balance. Let’s review what you can do to protect it.
Eat Foods With Prebiotics
Prebiotics are a type of fiber that feeds the “beneficial” bacteria in your gut. By doing this, prebiotics contribute to a healthy digestive system.
Here’s a list of 10 foods rich in prebiotics:
- Chicory root
- Dandelion greens
- Jerusalem artichoke (also known as sunroot or earth apple)
Eat Probiotic-Rich Foods
Many people confuse probiotics with prebiotics. Although both are beneficial for our health, they aren’t the same. Probiotics are strains of bacteria present in foods or supplements that increase the population of the “good” bacteria in our digestive system.
Here’s a list of ten probiotic-rich foods you should consume as often as possible:
- Traditional buttermilk
- Some types of cheese (such as gouda, mozzarella, or cheddar)
Health experts advise people to get at least one serving of these foods each day. If you don’t like them, you can take probiotic supplements. They will help you maintain microflora in your gut and skin. It’s recommended to take between 1-10 billion CFUs (colony forming units) every day.
Be Careful What You Put on Your Skin
Antibacterial soaps and topicals with aggressive preservatives can damage your skin barrier and allow the inhibition of harmful bacteria. To prevent this, you should avoid using them. Instead, try finding skincare products with prebiotics or probiotics.
Additionally, don’t forget to use sunscreen (even during winter) and exfoliate only one to three times a week. Anything more than that can be counter-productive.
Finally, use humectants to keep your skin hydrated.
Let the Good Bacteria Grow
A well-balanced skin microbiome is your body’s first line of defense against numerous conditions and diseases. Anything that jeopardizes your skin will destroy the good bacteria, thus affecting your overall well-being. That’s why you should pay attention to the foods you’re consuming and the skincare products you’re using.