Your skin’s microbiome. Unless you’ve been living on a deserted island or in a cave (either way, you do you), it’s a buzzy term that you’ve probably noticed being thrown around a lot lately. And it seems like a lot of the things we’re told to do in the pursuit of clear, glowing, and ageless skin have the very real possibility of disrupting it. But contrary to popular belief, the importance of a healthy microbiome is not a new or novel concept. Scientists, dermatologists, and estheticians have been talking about it for ages!
Before we dive in, because we’re all friends here, let’s address the elephant in the room: what is a microbiome? Plain and simple, it’s the community of living organisms on your skin. Also referred to as an ecosystem, it’s comprised mostly of bacteria, but your microbiome is also home to fungi, viruses, and even mites (we won’t judge if you cringe). The primary purpose of our skin is to protect us from the world (after all, it is our largest organ), and thanks to our microbiome, it does a pretty amazing job keeping the bad out and keeping the good in. And, spoiler alert: it does this completely naturally. Like without any help from us at all (in case you haven’t caught on yet, skin is wildly intelligent!). In a nutshell, a healthy microbiome = healthy skin. It’s really that simple. I’m so glad we’re on the same page now.
Know what’s also really simple? Throwing your microbiome out of whack. By using harsh soaps, chemicals, and exfoliants (amongst other things) we disrupt our skin’s ecosystem, killing off all the organisms (good and bad). This is done by choosing the wrong products (including those that aren’t pH balanced for your skin -- read more about pH here) and simply doing too much (or for all of you overachievers, doing too much, too often). Like most things, balance is the name of the game when it comes to a healthy microbiome. While you can spot a healthy microbiome because it’s clear, hydrated, and bright, the tell-tale signs of an unbalanced microbiome can include acne, irritation, inflammation, eczema, psoriasis, and more. But don’t beat yourself up about it. We’ve been conditioned to think that bacteria is bad and that the way to healthy skin is to eliminate it all. But the more we disrupt our microbiome, the farther away we get from healthy skin (bye-bye barrier function).
So what’s a girl who wants healthy skin to do? First, stop cleaning and scrubbing so hard. Yes, it’s that easy. Stop while you are ahead and step away from the sink! Next, choose products that are gentle, free of soap and sulfates, and pH balanced. Start with a gentle cleanser like our Marigold Morning. It gently cleanses and purifies while protecting all the good organisms living on your face. And when you need to exfoliate, pick wisely. Our Moment of Clarity features naturally derived fruit acids for a gentle exfoliation. Raw + Wild is also another great choice as it’s formulated with raw honey to soften and balance, and pomegranate extracts to gently slough off dead skin. Just keep in mind that with exfoliation, less is more. Last, embrace the bacteria. It’s there for a reason.