You’ve probably heard of the microbiome of your gut. The bacteria that live and breed in your intestines that help you to digest food, increase your immune system and are essential for some of your hormones and how you feel.
Did you know that you have a skin microbiome too? Here I'll explain a little about it, how important it is, and how you can protect it.
The skin is covered in trillions of microorganisms that not only affect how the skin looks and and feels but also serve many other functions that I’ll mention in a moment. There are about 1000 known different bacteria and up to 80 different fungi species. Some of these are also found in the gut and mouth, some are unique to the skin. The types of species will vary depending on the host (the person) and the area of the body.
Our skin is the largest organ of our body. It protects us from our external environment and forms a very essential part of our nervous system by communicating to our brain via our nerves about what is happening outside of our body. It is formed by the same layer of cells in the foetus that form our brain and spinal cord.
Specifically, our skin microbiome plays a number of incredible roles:
1. Just like you gut microbiome, the bacteria on your skin help protect you against infection. Keeping your skin healthy the bad (pathogenic) bacteria and organisms are kept under control.
2. A healthy microbiome protects us from threats in the environment! By helping wounds to heal, keeping of allergens and irritants and even increasing our resistance to UV sun rays.
3. By communicating with your immune system, the skin microbiome helps to protect us and reduce inflammation. This happens not just on the surface of the skin but right down deep in the subcutaneous fat layers of skin as well. Incredible!
How do we keep our skin microbiome healthy?
Primarily you need to think of two main factors. What you put on your skin and also what you put in your body. Keeping a healthy, gut bacteria is essential for the health of your skin bacteria. This is new science and it’s called the gut-skin axis.
In order for our skin to do its best job of protecting us and for it to look great we need to avoid foods that damage our gut health. Keep away from processed, high sugar foods. Gluten and dairy should be minimised. You probably already know that antibiotics are lethal for your gut bacteria but so are many other medications so if you’ve had to take any you should take extra steps to heal your gut. For more information about our gut healing nutrition program click here.
By eating plenty of whole foods in their natural state you can really benefit your gut and skin. Plenty of fruit and vegetables (no, 5 a day is not enough for us to get the fibre and nutrients we need), healthy fats, protein and filtered water. I recommend that you take a digestive supplement that contains pre and probiotics with digestive enzyme and I’m happy to help with that just get in touch.
Secondly watch what you put on your skin. Antibiotic soaps and sanitisers are damaging to your skin microflora. (that’s why we ask you to wash your hands when you come into Vibrant Life we don’t cover you in sanitiser!). Most body washes, moisturisers, deodorants, toothpastes and makeup not only have ingredients that are damaging to the bacteria on your skin but can be the wrong pH.
Whether sunscreen, shampoo, or your daily moisturisers using pH balanced, non toxic personal products is essential for maintaining your good health.
As always reducing stress and exercising are musts for healthy skin. Just like other body systems emotional stress can be damaging to the function and look of your skin. The great news is that working up a sweat increases blood flow to the skin plus when your diet is good your sweat provides prebiotics for the good bacteria to flourish.
Finally, of course, as your skin is an essential part of your brain and nervous system I recommend getting your spine and nervous system checked and adjusted periodically to keep you in the best of health.
click here to view our full range of recommended, healthy skin promoting products.