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What is the skin microbiome and why is it important?

When you hear the term microbiome, you probably immediately think of the gut. But microbiome actually describes the community of invisible microorganisms - comprising hundreds of different kinds of bacteria, fungi, and viruses2 - that live and work together throughout the human body1, including the skin.

The skin barrier and the skin microbiome work in unison to help protect the body from external sensitivities. If the skin’s microbiome becomes imbalanced, the skin’s barrier function may be compromised, subsequently exposing the body to external aggressors3 and irritants.

Your skin microbiome - As unique as your fingerprint

Your skin’s microbiome composition is as unique to you as your fingerprint. The skin microbiome also varies throughout the body, as some body parts are more richly populated with organisms than others. A variety of other factors can also impact your skin microbiome including your age, your diet, genetics and where you live. For example, the skin microbiome of someone who lives in Spain might be very different from the skin microbiome of someone who lives in a cold and dry climate such as Alaska4.

Why is the skin microbiome important?

So why is the microbiome important to the health of your skin and why do you need to be aware of it? There is increasing evidence that the microorganisms on the skin’s surface – collectively known as the skin microbiome – may play a role in certain skin conditions, including eczema, psoriasis, and acne5.

In fact, research has shown that a disruption in the natural harmony of the skin microbiome can result in moisture loss and increased penetrations of environmental aggressors and allergens. This can in turn result in visible redness and dryness, as may become a precursor to skin conditions including psoriasis, eczema, and acne.

Understanding the complex relationship between normal skin barrier function and the skin microbiome has been critical in the development of new skincare products at La Roche-Posay and the wider cosmeceutical industry. Topical skincare, for example, is shown to help re-establish and stabilise the microbiome's balance and help restore or maintain efficient skin barrier function. This is particularly important for conditions in which barrier dysfunction may occur, such as with dry, sensitive, skin6.

Why are prebiotics important? Fostering a balanced microbiome with prebiotic skincare

Increasingly, dermatologists and skincare formulators have been promoting evidence that prebiotics in skincare can help to foster a balanced microbiome. Prebiotics help to create a rich bacterial environment, which is both abundant and diverse, to help re-establish a balanced skin microbiome “to help create” or “to help re-establish” 7.

Scientists are still researching the skin microbiome and the role of prebiotic ingredients in skincare products.




Reference

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6084363
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3535073/#R27
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6084363
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3535073/#R27
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3535073/#R27
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6084363/#jdv13965-bib-0002
  7. https://www.mdedge.com/dermatology/article/194433/aesthetic-dermatology/probiotic-prebiotic-and-postbiotic-skin-care

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