You might not want to think about it, but the skin is home to approximately 1,000 microbial species. It’s a community of organisms—made up of bacteria, viruses and fungi—that impact how the skin functions and keeps it healthy. It’s there from birth, it’s as unique as a fingerprint and it’s always communicating with its environment while interacting and communicating with skin cells. These microbes protect the skin from pathogens, control skin immunity and support the barrier. The microbiome communicates with the skin’s immune system, letting it know which inhabitants are friends or foes. When this communication is functioning properly, the skin microbiome traps moisture in and keeps irritants and pathogens out. But when it’s not in balance, it can lead to a host of issues like eczema, psoriasis, rosacea and acne. Things that can cause this imbalance include everything from being overly hygienic, what we eat and the products (hand sanitizer, antibacterial soap) we use. External factors like pollution, UV rays and smoking can cause this imbalance as well.
How to keep the microbiome healthy
Now that awareness of the microbiome is growing, topical products are being developed to help support it. Prebiotics, which are “food” for good bacteria and benefit all skin types, are especially beneficial to anyone dealing with issues like acne, eczema and anything related to barrier dysfunction such as dry and sensitive skin. And now they’re being added to skincare, like La Roche-Posay Toleriane Caring Wash, a gentle cleanser that contains prebiotic thermal water. A moisturizer that helps rebalance the microbiome and support the moisture barrier is key too, like La Roche-Posay Toleriane Dermallergo Cream, or a cream with prebiotics added to it, like La Roche-Posay Toleriane Sensitive Creme.
When skin is especially reactive, use products suitable for sensitive skin like a serum that contains soothing ingredients that help with redness and tingling, like La Roche-Posay Ultra Dermallergo Serum, which features neurosensine. Ingredients like shea butter, niacinamide and glycerin also help reinforce the skin barrier, so a healing healing balm like La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 is a great option for serious SOS. While your face has a microbiome, so does the skin on your body. To keep your body’s microbiome healthy and happy, use a body balm like Lipikar Baume AP+M. This lipid-replenishing balm strengthens your skin’s moisture barrier and provides up to 48-hours of hydration, leaving skin feeling soothed.