What is the Skin Microbiome and Why is it Important?

Summary:

The "Microbiome" is a community of microorganisms that live and work together in (and on) the human body1. The skin microbiome is the invisible ecosystem of microorganisms living on your skin, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses2. The skin barrier and the skin microbiome work in unison to help protect the body from external sensitivities. An imbalanced skin microbiome may lead to barrier function disruption, subsequently exposing the body to external aggressors3.

YOUR SKIN MICROBIOME

AS UNIQUE AS YOUR FINGERPRINT

Your skin’s microbiome composition is unique to you. The skin microbiome also varies according to the part of the body: some body parts are more richly populated with organisms than others. A variety of other factors can also impact your skin microbiome including your age, your diet, genetics and where you live. For example, the skin microbiome of someone who lives in Florida might be very different from the skin microbiome of someone who lives in a cold and dry climate such as Alaska4.

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WHY IS THE SKIN MICROBIOME IMPORTANT?

There is increasing evidence that the microorganisms on the skin’s surface – collectively known as the skin microbiome – may play a role in certain skin conditions, including eczema, psoriasis, and acne5.

Research has shown that a disruption in the natural harmony of the skin microbiome can result in moisture loss and increased penetrations of environmental aggressors and allergens. This can in turn result in visible redness and dryness, as may become a precursor to skin conditions including psoriasis, eczema, and acne.

Understanding the complex relationship between normal skin barrier function and the skin microbiome is critical for the rational development of new skin care products. Topical skincare may help to re-establish and stabilize the microbiome's balance and help restore or maintain efficient skin barrier function. This is particularly important for conditions in which barrier dysfunction may occur, such as with dry, sensitive, skin6.

WHY ARE PREBIOTICS IMPORTANT?

FOSTERING A BALANCED MICROBIOME WITH PREBIOTIC SKINCARE

Increasingly, dermatologists and skincare formulators have been promoting evidence that prebiotics in skincare can help to foster a balanced microbiome. Prebiotics help to create a rich bacterial environment, which is both abundant and diverse, to help reestablish  a balanced skin microbiome  “to help create” or “to help reestablish” 7.

Scientists are still researching the skin microbiome and the role of prebiotic ingredients in skincare products.

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