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If you pay attention to health new's headlines, you’ve likely already heard a lot about the gut microbiome. If you aren’t in the know, we’re referring to what the National Institute for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) says are trillions of microscopic bacteria that call your gut home and can affect pretty much everything having to do with your health, including your digestion. It turns out that the surface of your skin also has its own microbiome that impacts the overall appearance of your skin. Curious? Here, we break down the current research on the skin microbiome: what it is, what we know—and don’t know—about it, and how it can affect your skin care concerns, skin care routine, and skin care goals.
Although research into the skin’s microbiome is still relatively new, plenty of studies have established that it exists and it plays a role in your skin’s appearance. According to the NCBI, your skin microbiome is a diverse colony of microorganisms. It’s an ecosystem made up of varied bacteria, fungi, and parasites which are all on the surface of your skin, right at this very moment! While it may sound a bit gross, according to the NCBI, the microorganisms making up your microbiome actually help protect you from more harmful organisms.
The NCBI also states that the skin microbiome is affected by factors including your sex, age, and where you live. What’s more, your skin’s microbiome makeup varies based on different parts of the body, according to a study published in the scientific journal Nature Reviews Microbiology. In other words, the microorganisms that reside on your facial skin aren’t necessarily the same as those on the skin on your feet. For example, according to the NCBI, areas of dry skin on the body, such as elbows, harbor a lesser bacterial load than moist areas of oily skin, like your underarms.
While research has yet to reveal everything there is to know about the skin microbiome and whether it has any effect on skin’s health, the NCBI does state that many common skin disorders—including eczema and acne—are believed to have an underlying microbial cause.
As we said, research into the skin microbiome is still developing—there are, after all, trillions of microorganisms to study! However, there are certain things you can do to help keep your skin looking healthy. Here are a few tips:
Research from the NCBI backs up what you already know; eating a healthy diet can have a positive effect on your health, which in turn may have a positive impact on the skin.
Yeah, we know, this is always easier said than done, but stress can wreak havoc on the health of your body and your skin is no exception. According to research from Applied Microbiology: Open Access, stress and a busy lifestyle unbalances the skin’s microbiota and can lead to increased redness and blemishes.
There are plenty of ways to de-stress, but may we suggest taking some time for yourself with a bit of beauty-focused self-care? No, a face or hair mask won’t fix stress levels permanently, but we’d argue that they can go a long way in making you feel better! Take a time out—you deserve it—and reach for the L'Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Detox & Brighten Face Mask and the L'Oréal Paris Intense Repair Hair Sheet Mask.
Editor’s note: Stress left you a little red in the face? In that case, follow the steps laid out in our article, Anti-Redness Makeup Routine: Your Guide to Using Green Concealer.
Now that you’re more educated about your skin, it’s time to take better care of it! Brush up on your knowledge and be sure to avoid these 10 Skin Care Mistakes You Could Be Making.