By now, you probably know the gut’s microbiome plays a large role in health, mood, and overall well-being. These beneficial bacteria and collection of microbes don’t just live in the gut though; they also live on the skin and play an essential role in our skin’s health and well-being. Did you know the microbiota on the skin is the body’s first line of defense against harmful bacteria and other foreign invaders?
The skin flora helps keep the whole body healthy by warding off harmful organisms, and it also plays a major role in the health and functionality of the skin itself. People with rashes and eczema have been shown to have less diverse skin microbiome than normal. Even acne is caused by having an excess of one type of bacteria, P. acnes, that wreaks havoc on the skin and causes breakouts. In fact, many skin conditions including dermatitis, inflammation, acne, irritation, redness, and even bad body odor are caused by an imbalance of the skin’s microbiome.
If you want healthy, vibrant looking skin, taking care of your microbiome is key: both in terms of what you eat and what you put (or don’t put) on your skin. This is why we’re starting to see an emphasis on the microbiome with skincare companies. Everything science now knows about the skin’s microbiome makes a very compelling argument for organic, natural skincare products that don’t contain chemical additives. Paul Schulick, Founder of the probiotic skincare line For The Biome, says “What science has revealed—and consumers are just beginning to understand—is that healthy skin is synonymous with a healthy microbiome. The ‘interkingdom signaling’ that takes place between the skin and its microbiome is crucial for skin that retains hydration and can adapt to stress. We are seeing that harsh ingredients, such as the chemical preservatives and fillers found in cosmetics, are extremely disruptive to this relationship. It’s like white noise that blocks the skin’s communication systems and depletes the skin’s microbiome.”
As a master herbalist, Paul understands how much traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic formulas affect mind and body. He also understands how, when used on the skin, they can invigorate our health and beauty routine in a whole new way. But here’s the thing: it’s not just about probiotics: prebiotics and postbiotics are just as important. Paul says “The most effective way to nourish the skin’s microbiome is with prebiotic and postbiotic nutrients. Prebiotics are like fertilizer for your microbiome while postbiotics are the invaluable nutrients created during fermentation.”
It’s fascinating to think about the skin and how complex it really is. It protects us against microbes and it enables us to sweat and release both heat and toxins from the body. It’s no wonder it requires a complex and intimate connection with a variety of microbes that enable it to do its job properly. Speaking of sweat, that brings us to body odor and its connection to the microbiome. It’s not your skin or sweat that smells bad, it’s a reaction from certain bacteria strains that live on the skin: they literally eat your sweat and other bodily fluids and create smelly byproducts from it, leaving you smelling bad. When you think about this in terms of the skin microbiome, it means those stinky body parts likely have an imbalance in the flora on the skin. By bringing this back into balance, you can minimize or halt this odor-causing process, without using antiperspirants that block the body from sweating by clogging the pores with aluminum, therefore preventing the skin from doing a major part of its job.
I’ve used probiotic skincare since way before it was cool, and I can say from personal experience it makes a huge difference. And when I tried probiotic deodorant, I haven’t looked back. If you’re interested in holistic health in general and want a way to detox your skincare routine, look into products that encourage a healthy microbiome. You won’t regret it, and if you’re like me, you’ll be hooked for life.
Jaya Jaya Myra is a wellness lifestyle expert and go-to media expert on mind-body wellness, stress management, mindfulness, food for mood, and natural, healthy living. She’s a best-selling author, TEDx and motivational speaker, and creator of The WELL Method for purpose-filled healthy living. Visit www.JayaJayaMyra.com