The word Microbe is derived from the ancient Greek Mikros Bios or ‘Small Life’, and describes the wonderfully diverse ecosystem that invisibly lives throughout our body. This thriving city of minute life form can be found in their trillions and includes bacteria, fungi, viruses and mites; a complex community influencing the health and wellbeing of our skin.
The primary role of our skin is for protection and is our first introduction to the outside world; this is where a colony of diverse microorganisms live and is our first line of defence. As we learn more, we can begin to appreciate the importance of the ‘small life’ which lives symbiotically among us. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3535073/
If we improve the quality and quantity of probiotics in our body we can expect the natural barrier function of the skin to be improved, helping to resist toxins and pathogens, whilst retaining moisture and nutrients within the skin.
Unfortunately, modern day living has caused our microbiome to be out of kilter and our skin’s microbial friends have reduced in dramatic numbers. Some of the key factors which have caused this lack of diversity is an overuse of antibiotics, synthetic chemicals in skincare and household products, daily bathing and living in overly sterile environments with a lack of contact with the natural world. An imbalanced microbiome is one of reasons why more people than ever before are showing signs of inflammatory skin conditions such as acne and eczema.
However, there are lifestyle choices you can make to help fortify your microbiome and here are a few things I have included in my weekly routine….
Probiotic and Prebiotic Skincare
I have started using Esse Probiotic Skincare and love it! Esse ‘re-wilds’ the skin, boosting your skin’s natural barrier function to combat premature ageing and inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema or acne. It does this by creating an environment which can resist attack from pathogens which otherwise would colonise and cause havoc on the skin’s surface.
The Esse range is fantastic for sensitive, acne, eczema, pregnant or ageing skin types and is organic, vegan, cruelty free and carbon neutral.
Take an oral pre + probiotic
I have started taking Symprove every morning, (10 minutes before I eat or drink a thing) and it has boosted my moods, reduced my hormonal breakouts, helped stabilise my afternoon energy slumps and most interestingly of all reduced period pains! The reason I love Symprove is that it is a water-based live, active probiotic so its arrives in your stomach alive and is easily absorbed in the gut where it thrives and multiples. That isn’t to say that there aren’t other amazing probiotics out there. Also try The Nue Co. Pre and Probiotic or The Beauty Chef. .
Get outside into nature
I naively planted every seed from my tomato plant packet thinking that only a few would grow. 60 tomato plants and 600 tomatoes later, I was grappling with my fruit fields but it was great to be outside with a purpose and gave me great joy. Being in natural world helps us to feed our microbiome; hiking, swimming in the sea or even a spot of gardening getting your hands in the soil.
Fermented foods in your diet
I love kimchi and keffir but I really can’t stand Kombucha. Find fermented foods that work well for your tastebuds and include them into your daily meals. These foods contain live microbes which help to boost digestion and improve your gut health. They can reduce heart disease, aid digestion, boost immunity and improve skin health. Many clients I see who are struggling with their skin will have digestion issues, so focussing on gut health in an important factor when taking a holistic approach to your skin care.
Stop over cleansing
I began reading James Hamblins book CLEAN which challenges the notion of cleanliness. He decides to stop showering….
Over the course of months, and then years, as I gradually used less and less, I started to need less and less — or, at least, I believe I did. My skin slowly became less oily, and I got fewer patches of eczema. I didn’t smell like pine trees or lavender, but I also didn’t smell like the oniony body odor that I used to get when my armpits, used to being plastered with deodorant, suddenly went a day without it. As my girlfriend put it, I smelled “like a person.” Initial skepticism turned to enthusiasm.
Although I didn’t jump on board this notion entirely It did give me food for thought. We like to throw everything on the bathroom shelf at any skin condition, but pulling back on over treating the skin and letting our microbiome do its thing can sometimes be just what the skin needs to get the balance back ; working with the microbiome rather than against it.
There is so much more to learn when it comes to the skin’s microbiome but as research continues the important relationship between us and this invisible world will raise important questions on how to improve our skin health.
This blog does not provide medical advice It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.