DR. GEETIKA SRIVASTAVA
MD (Dermatology and Venereology), AIIMS
Consultant Dermatologist, Hair Transplant Surgeon & Aesthetic Physician
Microbiome products for Skin Care
With the current global pandemic, we are all extremely concerned about maintaining our health and wellness. For skincare, this means increased levels of interest in balancing and maintaining the skin’s microbiome, especially as use of antibacterial products, disinfectants, and soap has skyrocketed of late.
+ What is the Skin’s Microbiome?
The human skin contains thousands of species of organisms, bacteria, fungi, and mites, which all live on its surface. These organisms, known as the Skin’s Microbiome, are unique to every individual.
The skin is colonized with microbes as soon as we are born, and the microbiome keeps on altering as we mature as a function of our age, diet, environment, and lifestyle.
The Skin’s Microbiome offers several important functions that help to maintain human health. Most importantly, the Skin barrier helps to protect the body from various pathogens, germs, and harmful bacteria. Additionally, the skin’s microbiome helps to combat and reduce inflammation and supports wound healing. The concept of Microbiome for skin has the potential of what probiotics have for gut health.
They normally do not cause any skin disease except when the body’s immune system is compromised.
Few common examples of Skin Microbiomes are:
1. Fungus : Malassezia
- Found naturally on the skin surfaces of many animals and human beings.
2. Bacteria : P. Acnes
- Slow-growing, Anaerobic, Gram-positive bacteria linked to the skin condition of Acne
3. Virus : HPV (Human Papilloma Virus)
- Viral infection that commonly causes Skin or Mucous Membrane Growths (Warts)
4. Mites : Demodex Folliculorum
- A Type of mite that can only survive on the Skin of humans.
+ Why are Microbiomes important?
Microbiomes occupy and form colonies on the skin and prevent more dangerous and harmful bacteria from attacking from the outside. Any disturbance to this skin balance can lead to you contracting opportunistic infections. One common reason this imbalance is due to excessive antibiotic usage, sanitizing and/or washing your hands with soap very frequently. The skin microbiome plays an important part in skin protection — by forming a skin barrier — along with help from the immune system. However, various factors including diet, hormonal imbalance, lifestyle, and use of medications and cosmetics are seen to influence the composition of the skin microbiome. This disruption can then lead to several skin disorders, such as dandruff, acne, psoriasis, or atopic dermatitis.
+ Are the Microbiome Skin Care products available in the market effective in preventing infections?
Although Microbiome Skin Care products are garnering a lot of attention as the next big thing, the field is still in its infancy and needs time to grow and overcome challenges. There is No strong clinical evidence to prove the claims being put forward by the companies currently.
+ Is there anything else that can prevent these infections or help maintain the Microbiomes already existing on your skin?
The most effective way to combat opportunistic infections is to Maintain the pH balance of your skin using the below techniques.
1. Use products that do not remove the natural resident flora of the skin as this damages your skin barrier.
2. A regular Cleanser and Moisturizer that suits your Skin type will give your skin what it needs.
3. Use a Good Hydrating Agent along with a natural Cleanser to rinse off all the dirt and impurities.
+ Conclusion and what does the future hold for Microbiomes as a Skin Care product?
With continued research there may be a day when restoring products containing actual microbiomes will be available to optimize the flora of your skin to be in sync and balance.