The gut microbiome and the skin microbiome have similarities and yet they are quite different. You can kickstart your journey to healthy beautiful skin by making changes today to get both of them to work for you.
Conversations surrounding the gut microbiome have been taking place for several years. I think pretty much everyone now knows that fermented foods like yogurt, drinking kombucha and eating kimchi is good for your gut microbiome. The skin microbiome has come to the forefront recently especially with numerous skin care products claiming to be microbiome friendly.
At the beginning when those products first launched in the market, they were simply taking a strain of a probiotic (bacteria that was proven to be beneficial for the gut) and incorporating it into a skin care product. These products were then labeled “probiotic” and sold. But is that really good for your skin?
Are the things that are good for your gut also good for your skin?
The environment in the intestines is warm and humid. It is moist and nutrient rich. While the environment on the skin is dry and nutrient poor. The different areas on your skin are very different in terms of the microbiome because the ecosystem is different in different parts. The face and the back are rich in sebaceous glands. The types of microorganisms that like to grow there are very different from those that like to grow on the arms and the legs which are drier. Similarly, the types of microorganisms that normally grow in your armpits, groin, between your fingers and toes, which are relatively moist, are different.
So, depending on where you take that microbiome sample from, you’re going to find a very different microbiome. You can already see that what might work for the gut microbiome might not work for the skin microbiome and vice versa. Also, what works for the skin microbiome in one location might be completely different from the probiotic technology that works for the skin in a different location.
What do gut and skin microbiomes have in common?
For most of these different areas, the diversity of the microbiome is key. A diverse microbiome is a beautiful assembly of different microorganisms-the more the better. Things become unbalanced when one bacterial strain starts to overgrow and crowd out the other microorganisms. This leads to dysbiosis which is the loss of balance in the gut and in most areas on the skin.
Our goal is to nourish a beautiful diverse population of microorganisms in order to live our best lives and achieve beautiful skin.
What can we do to restore that balance and increase diversity in our microbiomes?
1. Reduce stress
The more stressed out we are, the less diverse our gut and skin microbiomes become. Start exercising regularly and get enough sleep. Two ways to protect your sleep and get your circadian rhythm back into a healthy state is to avoid blue light at least one hour before bedtime.
Another really important way to protect your sleep and circadian rhythm is not to eat a heavy meal right before bed. Eating stimulates our body to wake up and can actually disrupt our circadian rhythm.
This in turn can increase our stress levels and stress hormone levels throughout our body. This can take a significant toll on the skin and the gut.
2. Eat the rainbow everyday
A variety of brightly colored fruits and vegetables are going to feed and nourish a diverse population of healthy microorganisms in your gut. Our gut and skin are intimately connected. So when you have a healthy gut microbiome, that in turn, impacts your skin microbiome through the immune system and other mechanisms as well.
3. Take care of your skin the right way
Stop over cleansing and over exfoliating and start moisturizing. Include ingredients like retinoids, niacinamide, or glycolic acid into your skin care which are amazing for your skin. Learn how to use them correctly so that they help in restoring and repairing the skin barrier. You need your skin barrier to be nice and healthy for your microbiome to be diverse and flourish. Focus on nourishing and hydrating ingredients that help your skin recover from any damage it has incurred.
Did you find my article “3 Tips to Restore and Maintain Your Skin’s Microbiome” helpful or know somebody who would? I’d really love it if you could share it.