Most of us are familiar with the fact that our gut is home to trillions of microorganisms known as the microbiota. But did you know that our skin has it’s own microbiota living on it too? If the skin microbiota becomes disturbed, it can lead to damage and exacerbate conditions such as acne or psoriasis. As part of our partnership with global green beauty brand Evolve, founder Laura Rudoe shares the benefits of pre and probiotics in skincare in order to help nourish the skin and maintain healthy microbiota. They’re also offering our readers 20% off their products, until midnight on 31st May 2020, so just use the code INESSA20 at checkout on their website.
Often taken for granted, seen as a display of beauty or a canvas to adorn, our skin isn’t purely aesthetic - it is actually the body’s largest organ and plays a vital part in the function of our bodies. Our skin works as a protective barrier, carefully controlling what is allowed to enter our bodies and what to defend against. It protects against physical injury and hazardous substances whilst also preventing moisture loss. Skin helps to support heat regulation and reduces the harmful effects of UV radiation whilst producing vitamin D. As our outermost layer, skin also acts as a sensory organ, sensing touch and detecting temperature. It is therefore incredibly important that we respect our skin and its protective microbiome.
Some people may find it scary to think about the billions of microorganisms that live in and on our bodies, but bacteria, fungi and other microscopic life that make up our microbiota live in perfect symbiosis with us and benefit us in numerous ways. Our skin’s microbiota outnumbers our own cells by a factor of 10:1. Our bodies nourish our microbiota and in return they keep our skin in balance by preventing harmful bacteria from taking over, and metabolising skin waste products into beneficial products for the skin. By taking care of these organisms using the right products and ingredients we can help good bacteria to thrive and in turn look after our skin.
Using cosmetic products can damage our microbiota: harsh cleansers with an alkaline pH can wash away our acid forming friendly bacteria, and preservatives in cosmetics can prevent our microbiome from being restored. As we age, it also takes longer for our microbiota to be restored.
To help the ‘good bacteria’ in our microbiome flourish on the skin we can nourish them with prebiotics - types of fibre which can be fermented by beneficial bacteria. Applied topically on your skin, prebiotics work to feed these live cultures so that they can continue to maintain the balance of your microbiome and protect your skin. A balanced microbiome is key to good skin. It protects us by strengthening our skin barrier layer.
To introduce prebiotics into your skincare ritual, Evolve Organic Beauty’s Daily Defence Moisture Mist, can be applied under or over makeup and spritzed throughout the day to refresh and rehydrate your skin, and selectively encourage the good bacteria to thrive and multiply.
Probiotics can also be applied topically on the skin to help to activate the skin’s natural ability to repair itself and boost the natural process of restoring collagen, elastin and healthy cells. Although probiotics are fragments of live cultures and are no longer able to multiply, they can stimulate the immune system of the skin which helps to balance the skin. These ‘good bacteria’ can also help to reduce inflammation which can provide a soothing and calming effect for those who suffer from chronically inflamed skin, such as those who experience acne, rosacea or eczema. This may result in reduced flare ups.
Beneficial probiotics can be found in skin care products such as Evolve Organic Beauty’s 360 Eye and Lip Contour, which is blended with a probiotic complex as well as green tea, pomegranate and caffeine to help reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, puffiness and dark circles.
Our microbiome plays a key role in the health of our skin (as well as our gut), so it is vital that we work to nourish, protect and reinforce our skin microbiota to boost its resistance and support the skin’s barrier function.
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If you liked this article, you might like An Interview with Laura Rudoe, Founder of Evolve Beauty.