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The skin microbiome: a new look at skin care and its impact on skin health

The skin is the largest human organ. It is in direct contact with the external environment, protecting the body from negative factors. At the same time, the surface of the skin is not sterile - trillions of microorganisms live on it. Various bacteria, mites, yeast and fungi live on the skin. They perform protective functions, prevent pathogenic microflora from entering the body, and also form a hydrolipidic barrier that prevents transepidermal moisture loss.

What is the skin microbiome?

The set of microorganisms that are on the surface of the epidermis is called the microbiome. The word "biome" comes from the Greek "bios", which means "life".

Microflora is extremely important for maintaining skin health. If the number of "good" microorganisms exceeds the number of "bad", the skin is reliably protected from allergens, external irritants, and oxidative stress.

Recently, the study of the microbiome has become a priority area of ​​cosmetology. Experts who conduct research in this field say that for every skin cell there are 10 cells of microorganisms. In this respect, we are more germs than humans.

In giant colonies of microorganisms, a balance called homeostasis is maintained. In other words, if the entire ecosystem lives in harmony, the dermis has a healthy, radiant, elastic appearance. But disturbances in the composition of the microbiome negatively affect the appearance and health of the skin.

The qualitative and quantitative composition of the microbiome differs not only in different areas of the skin, but also in representatives of different professions and age groups. Microflora begins to form from the moment of birth. Around adulthood, the composition of the microbiome becomes more or less stable, but it can change throughout life. Everything depends on lifestyle, diet, and stress factors.

Girl how to take care of her skin.
Skin сare

The importance of the microbiome for skin health

Microflora of the dermis performs a number of useful functions:

  • Synthesizes substances that provide natural hydration of the epidermis, prevent dryness, dehydration and peeling.

  • Produces ingredients that help regulate skin's optimal pH level.

  • Supports the protective barrier of the epidermis, restraining the growth of colonies of pathogenic microorganisms.

Microorganisms directly interact with skin cells. These mechanisms are evolutionarily regulated. Most of the bacteria are on the surface of the skin, but the skin of a healthy person can also contain mites, fungi and yeast.

All representatives of the microbiome can be divided into three groups:

  • Commensals are "friendly" microorganisms that do no harm.

  • Symbionts are beneficial microorganisms.

  • Pathogens are microorganisms that cause harm.

The microbiome of the dermis performs a number of important functions:

  • Protects the epidermis from the negative effects of temperature changes, dust, ultraviolet and electromagnetic radiation.

  • Promotes faster healing of wounds.

  • Regulates the water and acid balance of the skin.

The condition of the microflora of the scalp plays a significant role in maintaining the beauty and health of the hair. The microbiome actively interacts with other layers of the epidermis, has a significant impact on the condition of the skin and biological processes occurring in it:

  • speed of renewal of the epidermis;

  • maintenance of the hydrolipid mantle;

  • moisture retention;

  • regulation of inflammatory processes;

  • tissue respiration;

  • synthesis and destruction of structural elements.

If the microbiome is balanced, the skin has a healthy and radiant appearance, and signs of aging such as wrinkles, uneven texture and pigmentation disorders are less pronounced. Healthy skin is able to recover quickly and independently after mechanical damage.

Girl Applying a Face Mask
Skin care

Factors affecting the skin microbiome

Experts single out the following factors that negatively affect the state of the microflora of the epidermis:

  • Unbalanced nutrition, excessive consumption of sugar in the daily diet.

  • Stressful situations.

  • Aggressive environmental factors: polluted air, temperature changes, exposure to wind and ultraviolet rays.

  • Harmful habits, alcohol consumption, smoking.

  • Improper care at home, which includes excessive cleaning, frequent exfoliation procedures, excessive use of antiseptic gels and soaps.

Improper use of cosmetics can also disrupt the balance of the microbiome. Such diseases as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases and diseases of the nervous system can significantly change the composition of the microflora. This can manifest itself in the form of allergies, dermatitis.

The condition of the microbiome of the scalp significantly affects the health and appearance of the hair. The following factors can damage the microflora:

  • sun;

  • heat;

  • ultraviolet radiation;

  • sea ​​salt;

  • frequent hair washing;

  • chlorinated water.

Violations in the composition of the microbiome lead to such unpleasant manifestations as:

  • shelling;

  • itch;

  • magnifying glass;

  • seborrheic dermatitis;

  • psoriasis.

If the microflora is not brought into order, it can provoke inflammation of the hair follicles, worsen the condition of the hair, and lead to hair loss.

Skin care with a beautician
Skin care with a beautician

Trends in microbiome care

One of the main trends of recent years is the protection of the microbiome. Cosmetics manufacturers create products that are designed to restore the balance of the dermis ecosystem and improve its functions.

An imbalance or weakening of the ecosystem of the dermis, which consists of colonies of microorganisms, can lead to premature aging, dryness, sensitivity, and contribute to the development of various skin diseases, such as acne, psoriasis and eczema.

To support a living ecosystem, manufacturers add probiotics, prebiotics, and postbiotics to cosmetics.

Probiotics are live cultures of microorganisms. The most popular varieties are lacto- and bifidobacteria. They have a positive effect on the microflora, strengthen the protective functions of the epidermis, and strengthen skin immunity. Probiotics:

  • promote accelerated healing of injuries;

  • improve the texture of the epidermis;

  • give the skin a beautiful appearance.

In addition, probiotics effectively suppress the growth of pathogenic microorganisms, reduce inflammation.

Since live microorganisms cannot survive in the composition of cosmetic products, lysates are included in the composition of the formulas. These are fragments of useful bacteria that are well absorbed by the skin and help to restore the eco-balance of the dermis.

Prebiotics are substances that are a nutrient medium for the reproduction of beneficial bacteria and maintaining their biobalance. Prebiotics include natural plant extracts, vitamins, polysaccharides, and beta-glucan.

Postbiotics are products of the vital activity of bacteria and yeast, which contribute to the restoration of the composition and functions of healthy skin microflora. They also support skin immunity.


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