Everyone is talking about the microbiome – here’s why and what it means for clear, healthy skin

Gone are the days when pretty packages and celebrity endorsers were enough to push products. Science is the future of skincare, and consumers are smarter than ever about their skin. As microbiome skincare products enter the mainstream, we consider the facts. And with our experts’ help, de-code what the skin microbiome is and what it means for clear, healthy skin.


Maybe you’ve heard of the gut microbiome? If not, then know that several tens of trillions of microscopic organisms are living in your intestines right now. A microbiome is a complex ecosystem consisting of bacteria and other microbes that helps your body to function normally when in balance. This might sound a little confusing because the word bacteria oozes negative connotations, and we don’t always think of good bacteria. But that’s what microbes are – good bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses that help you thrive! And your skin is flourishing with them, too.
This is what’s called your skin microbiome. It is coded at birth, unique to just you, and is influenced by everything from your lifestyle choices to changing environment, stress level, diet, and even disease. This diverse system of organisms is responsible for protecting your skin barrier from environmental stress and pathogens, signalling your immune system for support, and helping you heal wounds.


Keeping your microbiome balanced is important for supporting a healthy skin barrier. Here’s the connection – when the conditions are good, skin functions at its best. If you’re living a relatively healthy lifestyle, chances are your microbiome is balanced. Simultaneously, a healthy diet and lifestyle also encourage skin health.
Why is this important? Your skin acts as a shield protecting your body from external factors. When your skin barrier is healthy, it can help provide protection, keep out germs and infections, and even help to prevent moisture loss.
And as many skincare enthusiasts know, preserving skin hydration is essential to maintaining a glowing complexion – and maybe more importantly, helps fight premature signs of ageing.


When your microbiome is unbalanced, it can show in how you look and feel. In contrast to what’s mentioned above, poor conditions, such as stress, poor diet, or poor hygiene habits can create an unstable environment for the good bacteria living on your skin surface, causing skin dullness, redness, and even acne. Not to worry – remember that your microbiome is uniquely programmed to you and is constantly adapting to its surroundings. By aiming for conditions that allow your healthy bacteria to flourish you can pave the way to healthy skin.

Eating a healthy diet, varied in leafy greens and other fibre-rich foods, can help maintain diverse strains in your gut, which can influence the microbes on your skin. Like most ecosystems, the more diverse the microbiome, the healthier and better prepared it will be to handle disruptions.


There is a connection between a happy gut and healthy skin – and it all starts with a balanced microbiome. The truth is, no one food will strengthen or protect your skin microbiome. It’s the sum of many parts, which is why we encourage a holistic health approach – eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated, exercising regularly, devoting time to relaxation and self-care. And saying no to unhealthy habits like smoking are all important lifestyle choices that will contribute to a balanced microbiome.

Think: healthy skin from the inside out! Research shows, acne-prone and rosacea skin types have seen an improvement when regularly using probiotics. More specifically, a diet rich in plant-based, high-fibre foods (broccoli, spinach), plus prebiotic and probiotic sources (fermented foods, yoghurt, or even supplements) can help balance the gut, encourage good bacteria, and in turn, a healthy skin microbiome. So, feed your gut microbiome with the right food, and your skin microbiome will also benefit.


It’s hard to know how much we can change our skin microbiota. Microbiome skincare is a new discovery – and is full of potential! Which has us hopeful about future innovations. But as of now, the research on microbiome skincare is limited, though some products give great results.

What we know is that skin health is influenced by many factors – age, genetics, diet, lifestyle, and surroundings. As we wait for more research to emerge, here are a few things you can do (or avoid doing) to encourage skin health and a balanced microbiome.

• Use skincare products that strengthen, protect, support the skin barrier
• Eat a balanced diet rich in fibre or prebiotics
• Try probiotics for good gut health – your skin will thank you!
• Find ways that work for you to de-stress


• Eat too many processed foods that are high in sugar or fat (moderation is key)
• Smoke – (imagine how hard it is for healthy microbes to survive in a cloud of toxins!)


Written by Cara Sumner
Scientifically reviewed and fact checked by Sophie Govzman and David Jameson

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