The skin is the largest organ in the body and the first line of defence between us and our environment. Its most important role is as a physical barrier against germs environmental pollutants. This skin is also home to trillions of bacteria, viruses, and fungi, and these are known as the microbiome. A weakened skin barrier or an unbalanced microbiome can lead to an imbalance between beneficial and harmful microorganisms, leading to many common skin problems, including premature aging, dry skin, sensitive skin, acne, dermatitis and psoriasis.
The microbiome is a self-sustaining ecosystem that balances perfectly with prebiotics, the food for the microorganisms to eat, probiotics, the organisms that inhabit the skin and postbiotics, the chemical byproducts of the non-living microorganism cells that act as immune regulators and enhance the skins natural defence barriers. The skins microbiome is essential for both the health of the skin and the bodies overall immune health. This comprises roughly 1000 different species, all working to regulate the skins pH levels, protect from environmental damage and boost immunity and fight infections while keeping the skin hydrated and youthful. The greater the diversity of the microbiome, the healthier the skin barrier is, and the less likely the skin will be dry, red or irritated.
The microbiome works in harmony with the immune system by keeping it regulated, training it what is and isn’t a threat and fighting pathogenic (disease-causing) organisms. The levels of healthy commensal bacteria are essential as they outcompete pathogenic bacteria for resources and provide the skin (and body) with many numerous beneficial bio-compounds. By using skincare products with harsh ingredients designed to kill bacteria, like alcohols, preservatives, peroxides etc., we have over time changed the ecology of the skin ecosystem and caused a state of disharmony with the microbiome (this is referred to as dysbiosis). At the time, it was thought acne had to be treated this way, over-cleansing the skin until it was tight and dry, using astringent toners to shrink pores and dry up oil and oral antibiotics to kill the acne-causing bacteria. Now we know this has the opposite effect by disrupting the skins pH balance and instead leads to a decrease in the diversity and numbers of helpful bacteria that are able to naturally reduce the number of C. acnes bacteria that can survive on the skin, downregulating the immune response. It is now known that the best way to treat any skin condition is to address the underlying cause by rebuilding the skins natural ecosystem.
By using gentle products that nurture the microbiome and create an environment that is the optimal pH for the health of the skin and its many inhalants, we are able to allow the skin to naturally heal and repair itself for lifelong healthy skin that doesn’t need lots of expensive products, just happy skin that can do everything it needs to work at its optimum level. In our five-step routine (note we currently are working on a sunscreen, it is essential to protect the skin from the effects of UV radiation), we have only necessary ingredients, no fillers, no preservatives that could affect the microbiome, just the best quality and highest concentration of skin-identical molecules already present in the skin that gradually decline over time. By topically supplementing the skin with these molecules, they can be incorporated into the skin where they are recognized as their own. This gives skin the ability to improve its barrier function and the ability to look and act like young, healthy, happy skin.
Why pH is so important for healthy skin?
Healthy, intact skin has a slightly acidic pH, ranging from 4.0-6.0. This is an important aspect of the skins barrier function since it regulates the helpful, resident bacterial flora and prevents harmful bacteria from causing unwanted infections. This skin has evolved mechanisms for controlling the pH and as wounds heal the pH of the surrounding area can be seen to become more acidic, to promote a more beneficial environment for healing.
It is believed that harmful bacterial colonization may contribute towards a shift to a more alkaline pH as pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria prefer a more alkaline environment and are therefore more likely to survive and reproduce in these conditions.
Several components of skin like ceramides and free fatty acids (FFAs) function best in an acidic environment. As pH increases towards the alkaline range, important enzymes are not catalyzed at the same rate, reducing their efficiency. This then has an impact on the skin barrier function.
How can you support the microbiome?
- Use slightly acidic pH products formulated around the pH of healthy skin, pH 4.7
- Use low-foaming cleansers and avoid sulfates and harsh surfactants
- Eliminate skincare with antimicrobial agents like alcohol, triclosan, parabens
- Avoid harsh abrasive scrubs and overusing chemical exfoliants
- Take care of your intestinal health. Skin reflects what is happening on the inside.
- Always protect skin by applying a SPF of 45+
The use of
Eunoia harnesses the power of lysates of beneficial bacterial strains in a similar way to how a vaccine works. Vaccines are dead or attenuated bacteria that elicit an immune response. By topically applying these lysates to the skin, the immune system can be modulated and downregulated, reducing inflammatory skin disorders.