Skin flora: What does reside on your body?
Perhaps everybody knows that human skin is covered with a hydro-lipid coat that is mainly made of sebum. Its key task is to protect our body from the aggressive factors that lurk and wait for our skin to let its guard down. What may be surprising though is that this coat makes also a perfect environment for our skin microflora. What is the purpose of this?
What does live on our skin?
The density of bacteria and yeast population that reside on our skin is mostly determined by our age and environmental factors such as sebum, occlusion, humidity and temperature. Fresh sebum that our skin produces daily is immediately inhabited by microorganisms. The development of bacterial flora is strongly connected with the presence of oxygen that both floats in the air and lies on our body surface. Thus, the more oxygen is attached to our skin, the higher is the risk of acne.
However, acne caused by Propionibacterium isn’t everything. There is a growing number of acne caused by Demodex follicular mite which affects skin that is frequently exposed to tanning. This parasite feasts on human sebum and is a common cause of palpebritis.
It has to be realized though that the state of our skin flora directly influences the skin’s hydro-lipid coat; whether it functions properly or not. For example, when the coat is damaged, it opens up a way for hostile microorganisms to enter and penetrate the skin deep. This is exactly why it’s so important to reinforce this natural barrier of skin. How to do it effectively? Try eating more fatty acids.
How to fortify our skin natural hydro-lipid coat?
Omega 3 acids are proven to serve skin incredibly well. You can find them in flaxseed, pumpkin seeds and fish. It’s also a good idea to make use of linoleic acid. Although it belongs to omega 6 acid group, many researches have proven that it contributes to reinforcing the hydro-lipid coat of skin as well.
What disturbs skin?
Here is the list of factors that disturb skin and interfere with our body flora:
- excessive skin exfoliation
- application of harsh skin washes
- too frequent washing
- chlorinated water
- ill-matching skin care treatments (including the use of products that aren’t destined for our skin type)
- cigarette smoking
- air conditioning
- chronic fatigue
- high humidity
- poor diet
Cosmetics positively influencing body flora
Such products include probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics. The former contains probiotic bacteria that restore healthy microbiome of skin and improves skin ability to attract water. Prebiotic cosmetics supply skin with carbohydrates that the good bacteria feast on. Synbiotic products combine the live cultures of probiotic bacteria with prebiotics and provide the bacteria with a favorable environment to develop and multiply.