New Skin Science Frontier in Skin Microbiome
What is this new term I keep hearing of "Skin Microbiome" or "Skin Flora"?
So wait...bacteria is good?
Yes! We like to call them the "good, bad and ugly" for easy reference. They belong together and if we learn to respect that the bad bacteria can be eaten up by the good bacteria, then we will be mindful to stop using toxic anti- bacterial products and hand-sanitizers that supposedly kill 99.999999% of all bacteria. Sound familiar? That's because our society has developed an obsessive compulsion to sterilizing our living environment which has, in turn, literally reduced our immune systems as a collective society. Now we realize that our immune systems are actually made up of bacteria too! They are not all bad or ugly. They've been fighting for us all along, despite us.
So do I or don't I wash my hands?
Hey, hey, hey. Don't go from one extreme to another, cowboys and cowgirls! This is where we all learn from our mistakes of the past and don't fall for the pendulum swinging from one extreme to another. We are smarter than that now. We are going to not take this new science for granted because we know that a more diverse flora of bacteria is actually helpful to resist the common dangerous ones that even the toughest of antibiotics no longer have any effect on them. So we are going to go back to the basics of washing with good old-fashioned bar soap without preservatives, and we will just slow down a bit, take a breath and exhale while we enjoy the lather. We minimize the "Skin Burden Threshold®" of chemicals and additives.
What do scientists predict this new discovery to do for skin conditions?
It's kind of like this... We are happy dancing yet trying to hold down our expectations as we do more research simultaneously. The findings so far are incredible, and yet we feel the responsibility to guard the data from hijackers that will come along to exploit the science for profit's sake. They need more time, data and research.
Is it true that our ancestors had a more diverse bacteria biome?
YES! Both internally and on their skin. They lived, hunted and played outdoors so they were exposed to a more diverse spectrum of inhabitants. That boosted their immune systems.
So a more diverse biome will help me boost my immune system?
As the science of probiotics, prebiotics has shown in our gut systems, yes, our glorious skin biome, also reflects the same amazing potential. So we can actually consider the right bacteria/fungi/viruses to help rebalance the naughty ones from harming us. It's that simple. The complicated part is identifying the ratios of each and locations on skin and body and statistically seeing where the cut-off point is on each of the "good, bad and ugly."
Is it true that babies born naturally through the mother's birth canal actually have less incidence of eczema and allergies?
Yes! This is further proof that the baby is inoculated with a deep-tissue massage as it exits into the world through the mother's bacterial passageway! "Babies delivered by cesarean section (C section) acquire a microbiota that differs from that of vaginally delivered infants, and C-section delivery has been associated with increased risk for immune and metabolic disorders." So now it is becoming a common practice to gather cultures of a mother's internal flora and apply to a baby that is born via Caesarean operation. It's still a relatively new science and the difficulties are obvious that nothing can truly compare with the voyage of a baby vs. an application of mother's bacterial cultures collected quickly.
How can I increase my skin microbiome naturally?
Go take a hike. Go play in the dirt. Go visit your uncle's farm and help him tend the land for a few months! Stop being so metropolitan. Cancel your gym membership and do cross training in a park, a beach or mountain. Open your windows and shut off the air conditioner. Eat clean foods without preservatives, sugar, alcohol and dyes. Resist taking antibiotics unnecessarily for minor situations whenever possible and boost your body's natural strength to fight off invaders. Stop being obsessive and compulsive with household cleaning products and use baking soda and vinegar instead. Go back and use simple ingredients on your skin and hair without preservatives. Be a minimalist. Get rid of stuff, go outside, travel and explore different worlds, cultures, and cuisine.
Would it help if I increase my gut biome as well?
Yes, since your immune systems are inter-related your ability to fend off the "bad and ugly" will be determined by both your gut and skin biomes to attract the good and mighty. So make friends with people from around the world and potluck your get-togethers with a variety of dishes from each "culture." See that word "culture" it also refers to the different species of bacteria so remember a different culture brings a different culture of bacteria and that's really good news for your diversity training both biologically and socially speaking.
- Suhein Beck