If you know anything about Jenny or BeautyGrass you know we are always on our soapbox about the microbiome-friendly skincare but we rarely have a chance to get into ALL the reasons why this topic is so important, not just for your skin but for your over all health.
So consider this our masterclass on skin and the microbiome.
First, what is the microbiome?!
We are SO glad you asked (yes, we know, most people aren’t asking—yet!).
An analogy for the microbiome might be a garden.
Just like a garden is made up of many different types of plants, the microbiome is made up of many different types of microorganisms.
Each plant in a garden has a unique role to play in creating a thriving and healthy ecosystem, and the same is true for the microorganisms in the microbiome.
But if you don’t have the right ingredients in the soil, you don’t protect (naturally) against bugs, or you start using a lot of harsh chemicals, the plants are NOT happy.
Same goes for your microbiome.
You want a happy, healthy thriving ecosystem, fully of the good stuff (even good bacteria) and not of the bad stuff so you can be in perfect balance.
And what does the microbiome have to do with the skin?
First, our skin is home to trillions of microbes, including bacteria (particularly Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and Corynebacterium), viruses, and fungi. These tiny creatures play a vital role in maintaining the health and appearance of our skin.
The skin's microbiome is as unique as a fingerprint. No two people have the same microbiome, which means that skincare routines need to be tailored to individual needs.
"The skin's microbiome is as unique as a fingerprint."
The skin is the body's largest organ and is capable of absorbing both water-soluble and lipid-soluble substances. Some ingredients, such as certain chemicals, fragrances, and preservatives, can penetrate the skin's barrier and enter the bloodstream. Eeekk—we know.
Not all ingredients are easily absorbed into the body, and the extent of absorption definitely varies based formulation, concentration, and the skin's condition but in general you only want to be putting things on your skin that you’d feel good about ingesting.
And yes, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does technically require testing of cosmetic ingredients for safety but guess what, they only regulate 11 ingredients (some states do restrict a few more). Eleven! In the EU it’s closer to 1300. And there are still many that are technically fine on their own but really quite bad for your skin when combined with common skincare ingredients like Sodium Benzoate.
So what ingredients are in microbiome-friendly skincare products?
Trick question! It’s about what’s NOT in them.
Fear not, you don’t have to go reading every label or get a degree, there are some good rules of thumb.
Ingredients we know that definitely affect your skin’s microbiome negatively:
This is an antibacterial agent commonly found in hand sanitizers, soaps, and other personal care products. It can disrupt the balance of the skin microbiome, leading to the overgrowth of harmful bacteria.
Sulfates are commonly used in cleansers and shampoos to create lather. However, they can be harsh and strip the skin's natural oils, which can negatively affect the skin microbiome.
Alcohol can be found in toners, astringents, and some cleansers. While it has antimicrobial properties, it can be drying and damaging to the skin's natural protective barrier, which can disrupt the skin microbiome.
This one a lot of people are catching onto. Synthetic fragrances can irritate the skin and disrupt the microbiome.
Some preservatives, such as parabens, have been linked to disruption of the skin microbiome. They are commonly used in personal care products to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and prolong the shelf life of products.
Diet, Stress, and Environmental factors
The skin's microbiome can be affected by various factors that's why it's essential to have a good skincare routine that supports the microbiome as obviously so things are outside of our control!
Now, granted, not all ingredients that are antimicrobial or preservative in nature are bad for the skin’s microbiome. However, what we are looking for is a healthy balance of microorganisms on the skin's surface.
In short, look for products that are gentle, non-drying, and free of harsh ingredients.
All of BeautyGrass’ products are microbiome-friendly—humble, not so humble, brag.
Why is the skin’s microbiome important for healthy looking skin?
The skin's microbiome plays several important functions:
Maintaining the skin's barrier function
Protecting against pathogens
Promoting wound healing
These products are formulated with ingredients that are intended to promote the growth of BENEFICIAL bacteria while AVOIDING ingredients that DISRUPT the skin's microbiome. Promise we aren’t yelling but this is the crux of the issue!
Microbiome-friendly skincare products often contain prebiotics, which are nutrients that help to feed beneficial bacteria. OR, probiotics, which are live microorganisms that can help to restore the skin's microbiome. Some may even contain post-biotics, which are the byproducts of beneficial bacteria that can help to nourish and support the skin.
The goal of microbiome skincare is to support the skin's natural ecosystem. Leading to:
Improved skin health
Prevention of a range of skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis
"Microbiome-friendly skincare is particularly good if you have sensitive skin"
Microbiome-friendly skincare is particularly good if you have sensitive skin but honestly it’s good for everyone.
All those little microorganisms on your skin help to regulate the skin's pH, protect against pathogens, and support the skin's immune system—pretty magical, right. So we really want to support that and not strip it away or do a lot of damage.
Some research even suggests that disruptions to the skin's microbiome may also be linked to other health conditions, such as allergies, asthma, and even autoimmune diseases. That we can’t speak to but given what we told you above about the skin being our largest organ it’s not too hard to imagine.
Adding probiotics to your skincare routine adds to “the bank: of health microbes in the skin. RadicalSeeker Mask is a star here as it is loaded with SBO Probiotic Powder. SBO means “Soil Based Organism” which means the probiotic is formulated with soil/earth.
Our ancestors used to pick fruits and vegetables straight from the garden. The soil was brimming with nutrients adding to a healthy gut and skin microbiome. In today’s world we need to add or supplement to get the nutrients in the same way.
Adding a probiotic powder or capsule to your masks or moisturizer can be a quick fix here.
So, are you ready to make the switch to skincare that's good for your microbiome?!