All about the skin flora
The skin flora consists of the tiny microorganisms that maintain the natural balance on the surface of your skin. It protects and keeps your skin healthy. In recent years, this skin flora has become more and more the focus of research, mostly under the title “skin microbiome”. Here we take a look at what the tiny helpers do and how you can restore the skin flora if your skin is out of balance.
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Strengthening the skin flora should be the goal of all natural skin care. And we don't have to do much because your skin has all the important abilities for protection and regeneration. But all too often we overdo it with well-intentioned skin care and interfere with these natural processes with care products. Products that kill germs also kill a large proportion of the useful and even important bacteria in the skin flora . This delicate balance is constantly disrupted and the health of the skin is endangered.
🔬Bacteria and fungi used to be considered plants, hence the older term skin flora. Today we mostly talk about the skin microbiome .
A weakened microbiome can lead to all sorts of skin problems or even skin diseases. It is associated with, among other things, acne and neurodermatitis. But now to the basics.
Skin flora, what is that actually?
The skin flora is created at birth. It includes all the microorganisms that form a natural part of healthy skin. This includes a variety of bacteria and fungi that densely colonize the surface of your skin. They live symbiotically with you and help to rid your skin of harmful germs. They are divided into:
- Resident skin flora: The germs that belong to this “reside” permanently on your skin and have a protective effect.
- Transient skin flora: This includes, for example, pathogens that come from outside and actually have no place on your skin.
The resident skin flora is your skin 's protective shield . Maybe you know the cleaner fish from nature documentaries, the larger fish that clean scales. This will keep them healthy. If someone were to fish for all the cleaner fish in the reef, the natural balance would be severely disrupted. Parasites would multiply unhindered. Likewise, your skin can't do without its microscopic cleaning crew. It protects your skin and body from infections.
Preserving the skin flora is therefore becoming increasingly important, especially in medical research . This is primarily about the use of antibiotics and disinfectants. It has been found that both not only eliminate unwanted germs, but also reduce the good bacteria in the microbiome and therefore the microbial composition cannot be sustainably improved.
If you promote the good germs instead, the skin climate improves sustainably and the bad germs have less chance of settling. Instead of making the skin germ-free with aggressive ingredients, experts recommend promoting the natural flora .
Restore skin flora
Ecosystems usually function better the less we interfere. Therefore, when it comes to preserving and restoring the skin flora, less is more . how does it look in action?
Avoid using aggressive agents for daily cleaning. And adapt the cleaning to the level of “contamination”. If you haven't worn makeup or sunscreen, for example during your morning cleansing , there is less to remove. Then lukewarm water is sufficient. However, you have to remove sunscreen and make-up thoroughly in the evening. Choose either a gentle washing lotion or our FIVE make-up remover .
Cleansing the body
Use mild shower gel and shampoo and use it sparingly. By that I don't just mean the amount, but also the places where you use it. Legs, for example, don't usually get so dirty every day that they always need to be lathered. Especially since the skin dries out quickly here. It's best to shower briefly and only lukewarm.
Reduce your care routine to just a few products with few ingredients. Good moisturizer morning and evening as well as sunscreen are mandatory. In addition, your skin can do without most things. So this is where the balance matters.
The skin flora, important protection against diseases
You are surrounded by an entire ecosystem that protects you from infectious and skin diseases. What does it take to stay intact? As little intervention as possible . Experts are attaching increasing importance to the skin microbiome. It is therefore worth taking a critical look at your own care habits. Are they making life difficult for these important symbionts? Then it's time to change something. Be gentle with your skin, this will make it strong for your protection.
🌟 Our article about minimalist skin care tells you how you can simplify your care routine , feel free to take a look!
All the best!
Questions and answers about the skin flora
Does cleaning destroy the skin flora?
Over the last year, we have gotten used to the important AHA rule, including washing or disinfecting our hands regularly. But what does this do to the skin microbiome? There is bad news and good news here. The bad things first: Degreasing soaps and washing gels impair the hydrolipidic layer . This can contribute to dry and sensitive skin - so it affects your skin's ability to protect itself. That's why it's important to give it back moisture and lipids for regeneration through care.
And now the good news: you don't destroy the skin flora itself by cleaning. It effectively eliminates the transient, i.e. foreign germs that live on the surface. But enough of the resident, i.e. necessary, microbes remain. 20% of them are located deep down in the hair follicles. 1 Soap and hand sanitizer don't come close. This leaves you with a reservoir from which your skin flora regenerates in a few hours.
👍 Note : By disinfecting or washing, you primarily remove germs that are foreign to the skin. Enough of the skin's own remains to restore the protective layer of your skin.
Can cosmetics damage my skin flora?
The surface of the skin is naturally slightly acidic with a pH value of slightly below 5. This is why it is also referred to as the skin's protective acid mantle. Now cosmetics can change the pH value and thus influence the skin flora. Because the pH value decides which microbes thrive and which die. Studies show that the skin's own pH value is not at all comfortable with many harmful germs. The useful microorganisms, on the other hand, feel right at home. 2 If care products unbalance your skin's environment, this weakens it in two ways: firstly, unwanted microbes thrive better and secondly, the good ones become too weak to fight them off.
Not all care products are pH skin-neutral. Sometimes a deviation is even intentional, as with fruit acid or enzyme peelings. Here the pH value must be lower for them to be effective. Other products, such as soaps, are fundamentally alkaline. They have a pH value of 8 or 9.
The pH value of the skin levels off again over time . Washing your hands with soap is not a bad idea. It only becomes problematic with permanently elevated pH values. This is usually accompanied by skin diseases.