The gut microbiome has been all the rage the past few years and for good reason. Our gut health affects essentially every other system in our bodies, and it’s finally getting the attention it deserves. But there’s another microbiome that needs our attention, especially when it comes to beauty, and that’s the ecosystem that exists on our skin. You might not know it, but there’s trillions of bacteria, fungi and viruses living on your skin. It might sound a little creepy, but as long as you take care of it, your skin microbiome will be full of healthy creatures.
Our skin microbiome plays many roles in our health, from it’s connection to our immune system, to lowering inflammation, protecting us from environmental aggressors and fighting off infection. When our skin microbiome is in check, our glowing skin is a direct mirror to what’s going on inside our bodies too. But unfortunately, the majority of beauty products actually reek havoc on our skin instead of what they claim to do. There’s antibacterial soaps, oil-free moisturizers, products full of preservatives, and a ridiculous amount of harsh of chemicals that kill not only bad bacteria, but the good guys too. Clinical research has even proven that acne-prone skin is overpopulated with damaging pathogens and stressors, and has a less-diverse skin microbiome. Skin conditions like rosacea, are and psoriasis can actually be caused or worsened by an imbalanced skin microbiome. So I think it’s fair to say the skin microbiome deserves our attention.
There’s two things you need to think about when caring for your skin microbiome: what you put on your skin and what you put in your body. Make sure you’re eating diverse foods, including lots of good fats, proteins, carbs, vegetables and tons of water. If you know certain foods trigger internal inflammation, try removing them from your diet and healing your gut before re-introducing them. Add in a probiotic to feed the healthy bacteria in your gut and on your skin. Move away from harsh anti-bacterials that contain sulphates and detergents and switch your products out for more natural alternatives, to protect the good bacteria that live on your skin…our Shelby Natural’s products are a great place to start! If you’re not already, start working out a few times a week, because the sweat you’ll produce actually acts like a prebiotic for your skin microbiome. And just like every other area of your health, keeping your stress levels in check is key for keeping the skin microbiome balanced and thriving.
Julia Gibson is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, functional foods recipe developer, and write currently based in Toronto. She hopes to inspire and empower others by creating nourishing foods, living a sustainable life, promoting holistic healing and sharing thoughtful writing.