As some call it our body’s “second brain”, the skin microbiome, makes up half of our total body cells and consists of 1.5 trillion bacteria cells, spread across over 1000 different types of microbes.
But what exactly is it, why is it important and what can you do to protect it?
What is the skin microbiome?
Simply put, it is an ecosystem of bacteria cells on the skin’s surface that plays a pivotal role in skin health and appearance.
While making up half of one’s total body cells, together, the bacteria cells within the skin microbiome only comprises about 200g of your total body weight. The composition of the skin microbiome is, however, not as simple as it seems. Combining various types of bacteria cells which vary from one person to another depending on factors like age, lifestyle, climate, etc., makes the skin microbiome a characterized ecosystem, like DNA.
The most recent skincare research has found that the stratum corneum, i.e. the hard, upper layer of skin which acts as protection to the microbiome, is not the only force at play. The stratum corneum – or moisture barrier as it is often referred to – is also bolstered by a complex layer of good and bad bacteria cells that floats on skin’s surface, all making up a healthy environment for your skin microbiome and ultimately increasing skin health.
What does the skin microbiome do?
It regulates bacteria cells which makes up between 80-90% of our DNA, which must remain diverse to maximize skin health and maintain a healthy body.
Research has discovered that just one centimeter of skin can contain a host of bacteria cells, fungus, mites and viruses. The abundance of healthy bacteria cells within the skin microbiome overpowers the harmful bacteria cells, maintaining a good balance that allows skin to perform the necessary self-healing functions.
Does the skin microbiome really matter?
It always has, and always will. But, changing lifestyles and habits are usually the cause for deteriorating skin microbiome balance, skin health, and in fact, overall health.
Daily hot showers or baths, chlorinated water, a sugar heavy diet, high usage of soaps containing stripping surfactants (think sulfates) and even our pets all have a role to play in tipping this balance in favor of the not-so-good bacteria cells.
Couple this with routines that heavily incorporate retinols or fruit acids, which further strip skin, and skin loses its power to self-heal, resulting in inflammation, acne and other skin issues.
Prebiotics, probiotics, postbiotics and how they affect the skin microbiome
Together, they maintain the balance within the skin microbiome
Prebiotics are food sources for good bacteria cells to ensure that the balance is firmly in their favor.
Probiotics are bacteria cells. They are the live organisms themselves and are usually a strain naturally found in the skin microbiome
Postbiotics are essentially the waste product of probiotics. Your doctor may recommend taking probiotics after a course of antibiotics to rebalance your gut microbiome. This may have a positive effect on skin conditions such as acne, alongside other factors, due to the link between the gut and overall health.
Does Orveda use prebiotics or postbiotics?
Orveda augments their skincare with Alpha-Glucan Oligosaccharide, a natural prebiotic formula harvested through a patented technological process, perfect for all skin types, even sensitive skin!
This prebiotic stabilizes, rebuilds and supports the skin microbiome by encouraging the growth of beneficial bacteria cells and by maintaining necessary conditions for the growth of the organisms themselves in a sensitive-skin-friendly manner.
A new frontier in the skin microbiomeis postbiotics, which is essentially the waste product of probiotics (bacteria cells). Orveda scientists are now finding that harnessing this new technology can provide more efficient alternatives to traditional actives, such as the gallic acid derivative found in our Visibly Brightening & Skin Perfecting Masque that is 6x more effective at skin brightening than vitamin C.
How else can you nurture your skin microbiome?
Working with skin, not against it, is the key to supporting a strong, diverse microbiome, which in turn promotes skin’s power to self-heal and repair.
This is the guiding principle of Orveda and the foundation of each product within our range.
By using Orveda skincare products which are boosted by prebiotics and work well with all physiologies, even sensitive skin, while having minimal contact with harsh, stripping ingredients or environments, alongside being generally a little kinder to ourselves will go a long way in giving back to your skin microbiome and your overall health – even those with the most sensitive-skin.
For questions, advice and tips, you can contact our Orveda Concierge directly for our 5-star skin service.