2020 is the year of microbiome-friendly skincare. But what is ‘microbiome’ exactly? It’s a balance of good and bad bacteria that live on and inside our bodies. Your skin’s microbiome (or skin flora) is made of billions of organisms, fungi and bacteria that act as an invisible barrier over your skin protecting it from pathogens like pollution and helping to keep your immune system in check.
Your skin microbiome is similar to your gut; and like your body, your skin requires just the right amount of probiotics and prebiotics to stay healthy and function at its very best. In the same way, if the bad bacteria outweighs the good, your skin microbiome suffers. When you think of an unbalanced flora, acne, eczema, dandruff would seem like the obvious culprits. But, you might be surprised that a diminished microbiome can also lead to more subtle skin problems such as sensitivity, dryness or oiliness. It’s safe to say your skin’s ecosystem is complex; anything from pollutants, over washing or high pH’s (skincare), can disrupt the balance of your skin’s good bacteria.
Ok – but, what’s the key to a healthy skin flora? Well, as you might have guessed, drinking water, a varied diet and exercise are all things that can contribute to the overall health of your skin’s microbiome. But, another way you can improve and maintain your skin’s flora is with skincare! Two types of skincare contribute to a balanced microflora; gentle formulas that won’t disrupt your skin’s bacteria balance, and formulas that contain:
• Replenishing probiotics (good bacteria).
• Nutritious prebiotics (food for the good bacteria to help them survive).
• Postbiotics (the chemical byproducts of bacteria).
Keen to make friends with your microflora? I’ve rounded up my favourite microbiome skincare products for every step of your routine that your skin’s bacteria will love…
#1 The Serum
If you’re looking for microbiome-friendly skincare the Lancome’s #1 serum, Genifique is my first recommendation. The best-selling serum is backed by 15 years of research – and, millions of people worldwide who have experienced its incredible anti-ageing benefits first-hand. The silky serum reworks its iconic Genifique DNA with hydrating hyaluronic acid, and a skin-boosting shot of seven prebiotics (bifidobacteria) and probiotic-derived extracts, which replenish your skin’s microflora. It does so by penetrating deep into the epidermis, and balancing the skin’s microbiome so your complexion is soft, bright and supple (you’ll see results after seven days). Lancome Genifique is an extra step in your skincare regime that you won’t regret!
Learn more about the world-famous Genifique skincare range here.
#2 The Makeup Remover
Osmoclean Pure Cleansing Foam is designed by Jean-Noel Thorel, a pioneer of research into microbiome science who recognised over-cleansing as one way that your skin’s microbiome can become disrupted. So, as a result, he created a microbiome-friendly formula that respects your flora, along with a professional cleansing method, called Osmoclean, which is used by skin therapists. The purifying cleanser is excellent for rinsing away all impurities from the surface of the skin like excess oil, makeup and pollutants that cause breakouts. But, it’s not harsh or stripping either; its gentle foam won’t disrupt the healthy balance of your skin one bit. The result is a balanced microbiome, which translated, means skin that’s clean, moisturised and healthy.
#3 The Body Balm
Microbiome-friendly skincare isn’t just for your face; your body needs it too. If imbalanced, skin can become dry and flaky, so adding a body balm to your regime like Lipikar Baume AP+is a great idea for dry skin types (including dry skin conditions). Recommended by dermatologists, the balm’s rich texture acts as your skin’s first layer of protection against the outside world (much like your microbiome); it strengthens your barrier function against pollutants, harsh weather conditions and oxidative stress to rebalance your skin’s flora. Infused with prebiotic thermal spring water and Aqua Posae Filiformis (APF), a postbiotic, it helps to improve the ecosystem of your skin. Plus, anti-inflammatory niacinamide and 20% creamy shea butter feels calming on irritated skin. With nine years of research into microbiome science, you can count on La Roche-Posay.
Tip: If you have eczema or allergy-prone skin this will be great for you! Its formula helps to balance out staphylococcus aureus bacteria that eczema sufferers overproduce, which means less angry flare-ups, redness and itching.
#4 The Booster
As you’d expect from its name, Buffet, is brimming with active probiotics that help a diverse array of good bacteria thrive on your skin. It’s powered by 1% copper peptides, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that boost your skin’s production of collagen, fibroblast and improve its natural barrier against bad microorganisms linked to disrupting the micro-flora. And the copper peptides are what give it its natural electric blue colour!
The original Buffet is already a best-seller, so this reimagined formula is a no-brainer for any skincare lover who wants to break into the world of microbiome skincare. It’s a great choice if you’re looking to combat irritation, dullness, ageing or maybe just a bad breakout! If they’re any of your skin concerns, then your complexion could do with a few drops of the soothing Buffet treatment. Its fragrance-free, watery formula will make sure your skin’s flora is always tended to – even on its worst day!
#5 The Face Mask
Want a product that does it all? Look no further than Vichy Slow Age Night! The multi-use mask turned day and night cream contains anti-ageing probiotics that help to stop skin oxidation. Its velvety-gel formula provides antioxidant protection thanks to the ingredients bifidus and vitamin B3, which both work to replenish and strengthen your skin’s microbiome from external aggressors. All while hydrating and plumping wrinkles for more youthful skin, which is great if you live in the city, and you’re looking to safeguard your skin from pollutants. Not to mention, it has a pleasant herbal-like scent that isn’t overpowering at all, which makes it a pleasure to use daily, and especially at night.
Find out more about Slow Age and probiotics.