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Skin Care

Why Bacteria and Your Skin Isn’t Always a Bad Thing

by Burt’s Bees | 4 min read

What’s a skin microbiome anyway?

Want to hear something equally creepy and incredible? A tiny little ecosystem of microscopic organisms lives on your skin and keeps things running smoothly. When they get out of whack, it can show up as acne, eczema, and even premature aging.

So what is a skin microbiome?

Your skin is your body’s largest organ with its very own ecosystem! It’s home to hundreds of diverse microorganisms like bacteria, fungi, eukaryotic mites, and viruses. All of these make up your unique skin microbiome.

These microorganisms are vitally important to the health of your skin so if you can keep them happy, your skin will thank you. Just like a natural ecosystem, when something in your skin’s microbiome gets thrown off, there’s a domino effect. Things look and feel out of balance and can show up as different types of skin conditions like eczema, rosacea, acne and sometimes premature aging.

Think of your skin microbiome and skin barrier as the ultimate power couple: they work together and support each other, keeping skin healthy and protected.

Think of your skin microbiome and skin barrier as the ultimate power couple...

How to restore your skin microbiome

Modern life has done a number on our skin microbiomes with pollution, being sedentary indoors, and a more processed diet not doing us any favors. The good news, though, is that our skin microbiome is resilient, so with a few changes, we can help it get back to normal.

Here are a few things you can do to help improve your skin microbiome.

Wash your face with care

Every time you wash your face you disrupt the microorganisms that live on your skin. Go easy on them with a gentle cleanser and please don’t go to town on your face with a rough washcloth.

Eat nourishing foods

We know about the connection between food and breakouts, but prioritizing fresh fruits, veggies instead of processed foods is good for your skin microbiome, too. Fiber fermentation in the gut has been shown to shape the bacteria on your skin. So, reach for fermented foods like yogurt for an afternoon snack and toss some sauerkraut on your next salad.

Be smart with your skin care

You want to balance your skin microbiome by using products that support it, not strip it. The more products you layer on your skin, the higher the chances for some of those ingredients to disrupt your skin microbiome.

Stick with a simple skin care routine, like a cleanser, a moisturizer and an SPF (a 2-in-1 is even better). After simplifying your routine for a bit, you can test adding in an exfoliant. The goal is to do everything in moderation. You may find you don’t need spot treatments and exfoliants as much with a balanced skin microbiome.

Get out in nature

At this point, we’re not sure what nature can’t do. Research found that being in nature influences the diversity of the microflora and organism that live on your skin. The microbes in nature transfer right to your skin (and you inhale to transfer to your nasal microbiome, too).  

Not to mention the stress-reducing benefits that help your mind and skin. Another W for nature. 

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