You may be wondering why so many brands, including us, are talking about the microbiome and the important role it plays for your skin’s health and immunity. There is a lot of information to this subject, and we have broken down some of the main topics of discussion in the hope it’ll help bring some clarity.
WHAT IS THE MICROBIOME?
The microbiome refers to the full colony of bacteria, fungi and viruses that inhabit a specific area. This is why there is, for example, the gut microbiome and the skin microbiome. These colonies of microbes are sometimes called ‘bacterial flora’ or ‘microbiota’. Each of us has unique microbiota which have developed since we first came into contact with microbes via our mother, at birth. Little by little each of us builds up our own microbiome. Like a fingerprint or DNA, everyone’s microbiome is completely unique to them.
WHAT DOES THE SKIN MICROBIOME DO?
Your skin is the largest organ in your body and the interface with the environment. A healthy and balanced skin microbiome is part of the physical layer that protects us from the outside world. The skin microbiome works to:
- Support the skin’s immune system, helping fight off infection and toxins
- Control inflammation and encourage skin healing and regeneration
- Optimise the production of lipids to reinforce the skin’s physical barrier
A DELICATE BALANCE
Even now, the words “bacteria” and “microbes” have negative connotations, but scientists have seen that they play vital and extremely positive roles in the functioning of our skin and its microbiome.
The skin microbiome is a delicate mix of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria. This balance is complex and, unfortunately, it can be easily altered by environmental and lifestyle factors specific to you: the soaps and shampoo you wash with, the skincare products you use, the medication you are taking, the stress you are under…. All these factors can alter your skin microbiome and in turn, it’s functions.
When there is an imbalance, the bad bacteria overwhelm the good bacteria, destabilising the skin microbiome and in turn weakening the skin’s immune system. This can lead to irritation and inflammatory conditions such as rosacea, acne and eczema.
But when the microbiome is balanced, the skin’s immune functions are supported and boosted and skin is healthier and stronger. It is therefore important that any skincare products you use ensure balance and stability for your microbiome.
MICROBIOME FRIENDLY SKINCARE
We have all become acquainted with the idea that a healthy gut microbiome relies on the supply of good bacteria via a varied diet of fruit, vegetables and fermented foods such as yoghurt and kefir. The same idea applies to your skin – it needs to be nourished and fed properly. But we also need to be aware of too much marketing ‘spin’!
There is a lot of misleading language in the beauty industry surrounding probiotics. Real probiotics in skincare are simply not possible because probiotics contain live bacteria. It is illegal to have live bacteria in a skincare formula. And even if you could, you would need to store your products in a fridge or there would need to be an enormous amount of preservatives which would negate any benefits of the good bacteria.
Prebiotics on the other hand, can exist in skincare formulas and can be very beneficial. Think of prebiotics as fertiliser for the good bacteria – they are types of fibre and sugars that nourish and promote the growth of friendly bacteria and inhibit the colonisation of harmful bacteria. Prebiotics keep your microbiome strong and healthy.
More and more brands are now starting to talk about postbiotics. These are the metabolic by-products of fermentation. Although the use of the word is fairly new in skincare, postbiotics are nothing new – lactic acid is a good example.
ELIXSERI SCIENCE SUPPORTS YOUR SKIN MICROBIOME.
Our exclusive Bio-Regenerative Technology (BRGT™) is at the heart of our serums and has been specifically formulated to support the skin microbiome and boost the skin’s immunity and cellular metabolism. The result is skin that is resilient and better able to protect, repair and regenerate. This will help slow down the signs of ageing appearing.
Read more about our exclusive BRGT™ technology here.
PREBITOTIC FRUIT FERMENTS FEED YOUR GOOD BACTERIA
Our exclusive ferments use patented technology and are scientifically proven to optimise your skin microbiome.
Papaya have been used over the centuries to treat inflammatory pain and to heal wounds. Now, papaya is one of the most researched fruits in medicine and clinical studies demonstrate that fermented papaya significantly reduces chronic skin inflammation (redness) by acting on the skin’s microbiome.
Noni is indigenous to the southern hemisphere and for over 2,000 years has been used by Ayurvedic, Chinese and Polynesian healers as the primary ingredient in their medicinal potions. In the noni fruit, around 200 bioactive compounds have been scientifically identified, including phyto-chemicals and potent antioxidants such as anthraquinones and glycosides.
For centuries mangosteen has been used in Southeast Asia to stop infection, reduce inflammation, cure disease and to maintain general good health. Modern science has discovered that this fruit contains an enormous amount of antioxidants and is proven to support the skin’s immune system and microbiome.
HOW TO SUPPORT YOUR MICROBIOME
- Use skincare products which include fermented ingredients
- Avoid harsh products or treatments which could destabilise the delicate balance of bacteria
- Simplify your routine – less is more
- Use products with short INCI lists and no chemical preservatives
- Don’t over exfoliate as it removes the bacteria
- Exercise more, eat better, don’t smoke, sleep well!