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How to maintain a healthy skin microbiome

A balanced microbiome is essential for maintaining healthy and beautiful skin. The microbiome is one of the key things your Dermal Therapist or Doctor will keep in mind when tackling a range of skin concerns from acne to rosacea, through to psoriasis and rashes. But what is it, why does it play such a big role in healthy skin, and how can we maintain it?

What is the skin microbiome?

‘Microbiome’ is the collection of micro-organisms within an environment like the body or skin. These organisms vary according to the host and factors like pH and moisture levels. Similar to the bacteria inside our gastrointestinal system, skin microbiome are responsible for providing immunity and protecting against harmful pathogens.

Here are some ways to maintain a balanced microbiome for healthy and beautiful skin.

Diet

Our skin is covered in a sensitive ecosystem of bacteria and yeast. It is thought that different communities of micro-organisms in our bodies communicate with each other, which is part of the reason why our gut health and nutrition is so often reflected in the health and appearance of our skin.

When gut bacteria become unbalanced or if we strip our skin of the healthy micro-organisms via aggressive treatments or chemicals, we can experience acne flare-ups, rashes, allergies, rosacea, psoriasis, and more skin problems.

The moral of the story? A proper diet which is rich in pre- and probiotics can help to promote healthy bacteria. This means eating plenty of fibre and avoiding sugar.

For a pre- and probiotic boost, try asparagus, artichokes, or fermented foods like yoghurt. Supplements can be a great alternative but check with your doctor before taking any medication.

Skincare

Topical probiotics can be great in conjunction with a healthy diet. If you want to adjust your skincare, look for products containing fructool igosaccharides, lactobacillus, or Enterococcus faecalis SL-5.

But don’t rush out and buy a cupboard full of products just yet! Maintaining a healthy skin microbiome is more complicated than simply using the above products. It’s also important to use the right products and to re-assess your current routine. Some products contain harsh chemicals which strip away the skin’s good bacteria. Vigorous scrubbing, aggressive treatments and over-exfoliating have the same effect.

One of the first things your Dermal Therapist or Doctor will do when treating acne, for example, is to look at the skincare products you currently use and tailor a skincare plan that will help restore the skin’s healthy microbiome.

Achieving a balanced microbiome is the foundation from which all other dermal therapies will build. This needs to be corrected before any other treatments will work and is often accomplished through proper skincare.

Hygiene

We pick up germs and dirt from all sorts of places throughout the day which can attack our skin’s micro-organisms and break down the skin barrier.

Here are some tips for keeping your skin as clean as possible:

  • Clean your phone and keyboard with an alcohol wipe every day.
  • Wash your bed linen often, especially your pillowcase.
  • Keep your hands off your face and wash them often.
  • Don’t use antibacterial soaps or scrubs on your face or body; regular soap and water are recommended.

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If you would like to speak to a clinician about your skin concerns, please call us or book your appointment online.

Written by National Skin Cancer Centres