The microbiome and the skin

Not all bugs are bad, some even keep you healthy and looking younger…

The “microbiome.”

Have you heard or seeing this term lately ?

— I bet you have…

It has become a very trendy word nowadays, although the subject was first brought up over 70 years ago by dermatologists Stokes and Pillsbury. They established the hypothesis of the connection between the gastrointestinal mechanism and skin conditions.

The human microbiome comprehends the army of micro-organisms living on and in the human body.  It plays a very important role and a vital part in our immune system, nutrition, metabolism and on the barrier function of the skin. It is directly affected by genetics and lifestyle choices which is why people respond differently to infections and illnesses.

The skin reflects what is happening inside our body. Imbalances are shown often as inflammatory conditions such as eczema or rashes.

It can also exacerbate or trigger an onset occurrence of rosacea and acne.

The root of many skin issues relies on the “microbiome.”

In our society the word “cleanliness” has been taken to the extreme, where we are obsessed and surrounded by chemicals that not only destroy dangerous pathogenic bacteria but also good bacteria, many of those chemicals can be absorbed by the skin and affect the environment of our gut, giving place to systemic inflammation.

Another common culprit of gut disturbances is the over use of antibiotics . Every time we take antibiotics we are changing the environment in our gut, and if good bacteria is not replaced once the antibiotics are finished, this can create a space for fungi to over grow  initiating other health issues such as yeast infections for example.

A good round of probiotics is a good idea to reestablish a healthy flora once you have finished with the antibiotic treatment, always under the approval and recommendation of your health professional.

Balancing the micro-flora brings many benefits to our health and skin like:

  • Reduction of oxidative stress
  • Better absorption of nutrients
  • Healthy glycemic levels
  • Improvement of lipids that protect the skin
  • Even influence our mood and state of mind.

So how to give your microbiome a healthy boost?

Increase Fiber rich foods in your diet

Eat more fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains and seeds.

They all contain high amounts of fiber which serves as fuel for good bacteria helping to maintain a healthy micro-flora.

Avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners and processed foods

These reduce gut diversity and increase inflammation.

Eat fermented foods containing live cultures of good bacteria

the microbiome and the skin

Great choices are Yogurt, kefir and kombucha

Avoid taking antibiotics unless very necessary

As mentioned previously, antibiotics kill good and bad bacteria leaving the gut vulnerable to disturbances which in turn can affect the immune system and the skin.

Have more contact with Mother Nature

Do some gardening and outdoor activities. This will help you have a broader diversity of gut flora which can strengthen your defenses.

Relax

The microbiome and the skin

Having peace of mind and taking control of your emotions contribute to a more stable and healthy microbiome leading to better health and  fortifying the skin’s protective barrier and improving inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea etc.

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Thank you for being here.

Until next time.

Dora Salazar

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REFERENCES

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3535073/

 

 

 

 

You may be surprised to know that although water helps the overall hydration of your body, it may not be enough to solve dry skin.

Water is the most essential substance for your body.

As adults our body contains up to 60% water and we depend on it to hydrate and nourish all the organs and tissues for proper functioning, but dry skin needs more than just water to find balance.

You see, dry skin benefits from water intake but it lacks essential lipids for proper barrier function like ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids along with deficiencies in urea, amino acids and lactic acid; Natural moisturizing factors (NMFs) necessary to maintain normal moisture levels in the skin and those are not replaced by water.

Nevertheless, it is very important to identify if your skin is dry because of lack of lipids or water or both. There is a big difference between poor moisturization and dehydration.

Dehydrated skin lacks water while dry skin lacks oil.

It is common for people to get confused and say that they have dry skin when in fact they have dehydrated skin. Dehydration of the skin shows as wrinkly, dull, with accentuated fine lines that normally improve with hydration.

On the other hand, dry skin usually presents very small pore size and has an overall feeling of tightness. Often, it presents more visible lines, less elasticity and could also experience flaking and feel itchy or sensitive.

If you feel that your skin is dehydrated, select a face product with water-boosting ingredients, they will hold water into the skin for a longer period of time keeping it comfortable and making your skin look plumper and more refreshed.

Tips for dry skin

Some of the best are:

  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Glycerin
  • Sodium PCA
  • Ceramides
  • Panthenol
  • Lactic Acid

Now, let’s get a little deeper into what happens to dry skin and how to do to get it back to healthy.

Anything that affects the protective layer of the skin, the stratum corneum; which creates a resilient barrier to keep environmental aggressors from harming the skin and to preserve water into the skin, will consequently make the skin feel drier and more vulnerable to irritation and sensitivities.

Sebum is a waxy substance produced by the sebaceous glands that keeps the skin supple and lubricated. Thus, if you suffer from dry skin, it is crucial to look at how to restore the lipid content to achieve skin balance.

If your skin is not producing enough lipids, there are some wonderful ingredients that you can incorporate in your skincare regimen to improve skin dryness, but before I get into further details, let me tell you about the ingredients that you should avoid, which can exacerbate or cause skin dryness.

Stay away from these ingredients:

Be very careful when selecting a cleanser. Specially those containing sodium lauryl sulfate or soaps that are too alkaline. They strip the natural fatty acids from the skin creating micro- fissures which then allow chemicals to penetrate more easily and irritate the skin.

Fragrances are big sensitizers. Including natural fragrances and some essential oils. Don’t be misled by the word “natural” it is often overused and keep in mind that not everything that is natural is healthy or good.

Avoid harmful preservatives like parabens and drying alcohols. I say drying alcohols because there are some alcohols that are used as humectants and are beneficial, attracting or sealing water into the skin.

Here is a chart that you can refer to:

Dora Salazar Good & Bad alcohols chart

 

Like I mentioned previously, there are ingredients that contribute to heal the skin barrier resembling its natural components:  ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids. Those will work wonders at treating dry skin because they have similar physical characteristics, helping improve the overall functionality of the skin.

 

These are some of the oils that I prefer to help restore balance of the skin barrier and improve dryness. Many of them also provide antioxidant protection and rejuvenating qualities:

  • Jojoba oil: Rich in vitamins E, B-complex, zinc, copper, selenium, chromium, and iodine. It is light-textured, odorless and absorbs really well increasing levels of moisturization while fighting inflammation.

 

  • Sea buckthorn: This oil is very rich in palmitic acid. It contains a wealth of nutrients including: vitamins A, E, C & B, essential fatty acids and phytosterols. * I recommend blending it into a carrier since it has a deep yellowish color.

 

  • Evening Primrose oil: Contains high amounts of linoleic acid. Soothes and moisturizes the skin, enhances skin radiance and improves skin roughness and inflammation. It contributes in cell repair facilitating the healing process and works great at minimizing the look of scars.

 

  • Sweet almond oil: High in fatty acids and vitamin E, it works as an effective antioxidant and enhances cell repair keeping skin cells healthy and supporting the skin to retain moisture leaving it soft and smooth.

 

  • Marula oil: this amazing oil is rich in essential fatty acids Omega 9 -oleic and Omega 6 – linoleic. It deeply supports moisturization of the skin reducing trans epidermal water loss, enhances healing and combats inflammation and redness.

How to incorporate the oils into your skincare routine:

Most of these oils that I mentioned can be applied directly to the skin. Sea buck-thorn however; has a strong color, so I recommend that you blend it into a carrier oil like jojoba or sweet almond oil to prevent staining of your linens or clothing.

I like to spray a fine mist on the skin first to deposit water; rose water works nicely on dry skin, and then apply the oil immediately after to seal in hydration and provide nourishing lipids.

Another way is by adding a few drops of the oil to your favorite moisturizer to give it a boost of lipids and applying it as usual.

Replenishing what the skin lacks will improve skin balance and restore its healthy state.

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Have you used facial oils to treat dry skin?

What is your favorite oil?

 

Thank you for being here.

Until next time,

Dora Salazar

Medical Aesthetician

Founder of Zkin Fix Skincare