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Microbiome: Skincare’s latest buzz word explained

LaylaBird/iStock(NEW YORK) — Whether or not you’re a skincare enthusiast, chances are you’ll find yourself hearing the word “microbiome.”As of late, it’s been one of the skincare industry’s buzziest words and there are a variety of reasons why.What exactly is a microbiome?It’s a diverse population of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, mites, that live in a particular environment aka “biome” inside the body.”The number of genes in all the microbes in one person’s microbiome is 200 times the number of genes in the human genome,” Dr. Sapna Palep of Spring Street Dermatology, explained to ABC News’ Good Morning America.The importance of a microbiome as it relates to the skin links directly to its role within barrier function, inflammation and your overall immune system.”There is a complex interplay of the microorganisms of the microbiome with each other and with our bodies that is necessary for healthy skin,” Dr. Bradley Bloom of the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York tells GMA. “Research demonstrates that the skin’s immune system works with microorganisms of a healthy microbiome to fight against unwanted pathogens from overgrowing.”Experts agree that science and new details are still emerging, it also has been found that microbiomes help maintain your skin’s pH, can produce skin nutrients and essential skin lipids.”Basically, your skin microbiome makes an important contribution to the things that make your skin feel and look healthier,” said Palep.Why has the skin’s microbiome become such a hot topic?“With the rise of skin conditions, including acne and psoriasis, more environmental pollution, aging populations and many of the other factors, personal care products have become more focused on microbiome health to help ease signs of aging, acne and general skin health that will be a prominent trend for years to come,” explains Palep.Bloom also mentioned how our understanding of the gut microbiome has paved the way to dive deeper into research surrounding microbiome of the skin: “New scientific techniques have allowed us to better identify components of the microbiome and better distinguish between transient vs. resident microorganisms.”The importance of keeping a healthy microbiome“We have a symbiotic relationship with the skin microbiome,” said Bloom. “There are certain microorganisms that have important roles in decreasing inflammation and recent research suggests some strains of bacteria can even protect against UV damage in the skin.”Comparatively, there also are microorganisms that cause conditions such as rosacea, eczema and other infections when there is an overall imbalance within the microbiome.However, when there is a balance present within the skin’s microbiome, the skin is protected from the look of environmental damage and premature aging.How to treat your microbiome from the outside inEnvironmental factors such as pH, temperature and hydration can all affect our skin microbiome.Bloom advises avoiding harsh soaps as they often strip the skin of good bacteria. Also, use moisturizers that help maintain the barrier function within the skin.Palep also adds that maintaining a healthy gut microbiome can carry over into improving your skin microbiome as well.

“Try using products with probiotics, prebiotics, and postbiotics,” she said.Best products and new innovationsWith many of the new findings surrounding the relevance of the skin’s microbiome, product developers have taken note and created offerings around the latest breakthroughs.Just this month, Peter Thomas Roth launched a new collection with a prime focus on having a healthy microbiome at its core.The new line includes an Age Defense Cream as well as an eye cream. One of the star ingredients in both is the pre/pro-biodefence complex which is formulated to enhance the look of microbiome health.It also has a 3% butterfly ginger root extract to help detoxify the look of skin exposed to external factors such as blue light.Other microbiome-protecting products Bloom suggests include Cerave Hydrating Facial Cleanser because it’s gentle enough that it won’t strip away the natural moisture, so it minimizes disrupting the skin microbiome.

“Hyaluronic acid and ceramides in this cleanser help to hydrate which improves the skin barrier function,” he said.Palep suggests La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Face Cleanser because it uses prebiotic thermal water that doesn’t change the skin’s natural pH.In addition, he advises products from Aveeno Eczema Therapy as it has prebiotic oat extract that feeds the skin’s bacteria and encourages a robust microbiome.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.