If you're interested in knowing more about the scientific vocabulary used when talking about skincare, the best place to start is by understanding the skin's beautiful and complex microbiome. What is it, and what can you do to keep it healthy and happy? Here's our expert advice to help you care for the body's largest organ.
All about the human microbiome
"Microbiome" is the word used to describe a community of microorganisms that live and work together in (and on) the human body. The word comes from "micro" (very small) and "biome" (a naturally-occurring community). Scientists believe* that the body contains from 10-100 trillion bacteria and other microbes that make up the human microbiome.
Why a healthy skin microbiome is important
The health of our skin's microbiome is essential, not only to protect our inner organs, but to prevent bad bacteria and viruses from entering the body. Science has shown direct links between the state of the microbiome and human health**, and projects such as the NIH Human Microbiome Project are tasked with studying these interconnected communities of microorganisms in order to better understand the delicate balance of the human body.
How the skin's microbiome can be upset
Think of the body's microbiome like a town. The skin acts like a defensive wall of roughly 1.8m***, letting in essentials such as water and nutrients, expelling unwanted waste and protecting against intruders. But, should the wall become weakened, the entire town becomes vulnerable, in what can be described as a symbiotic ecosystem. Just like a protective wall, the skin can be weakened by external aggressors like the weather, pollution and lifestyle. It can also be naturally sensitive – as if it were built with bricks (in this case our cells that make up the skin's dermis and epidermis) that react more intensely in certain situations.
Symptoms of an unbalanced microbiome
The condition of our skin's microbiome has a direct effect on its quality and appearance. Not only do the symptoms of an unbalanced skin microbiome leave our bodies fragile and exposed, but they are also uncomfortable and unaesthetic. Redness, itching, breakouts, dryness and tight-feeling skin are all signs that our skin's microbiome isn't on top form. But we can help it!
How to care for your skin's microbiome
Caring for your skin's bacterial ecosystem starts on the inside. A healthy diet, lifestyle and plenty of water help ensure optimal blood circulation; designed to provide oxygen and keep cells functioning optimally, and to quickly send in defensive cells in the case of harmful intruders. Sufficient and quality sleep has also been linked**** to the skin's appearance and condition, so make sure you're getting enough zzzs!
We can also help our skin stay in good condition from the outside, especially for naturally-sensitive skin. From choosing the fabrics we wear with care, to avoiding harsh detergents and using the right skincare, we can help reduce skin sensitivity and reinforce the skin's microbiome.
La Roche-Posay recommends
Experts in understanding the delicate balance of the skin's microbiome, La Roche-Posay has formulated skincare specifically to support this intricate ecosystem.
For skin that suffers from breakouts due to an unbalanced microbiome, we recommend the Effaclar Duo (+) skincare treatment which not only helps to reduce spots and blackheads, but also mattifies the skin and reduces the appearance of red and brown marks.
For skincare that's suitable for the whole family, even dry and eczema-prone skin, Lipikar Baume AP+ is a gentle moisturising balm that locks in moisture and soothes irritation.
Show your skin some love by supporting its microbiome with La Roche-Posay!