You are what you eat – and it shows in our skin. However, do you know that the skin is also the last organ that receives nutrients from what we eat? Skin, the largest organ in our body, is the major interface between us and the outside world. It is vital to have strong well-functioning skin, especially for young, growing babies.
Skin Microbiome : What it is & Why it is Important
Our skin is home to a vast array of microbes which play an important role in it's health. Everyone’s set of skin microbes differ, a newborn who's vernix was allowed to be fully absorbed has a different set of microbes from one who's vernix was wiped off at birth.
A healthy skin microbiome protects against infection in much the same way a good gut microbiome does, by colonising out pathogenic organisms with good and healthy ones. The skin microbiome prefers a relatively acidic environment, which also inhibits growth of bad pathogens.
The microbiome and skin immune system “talk” to each other regularly, dampening inflammation. When the microbiome is out of line, the immune system can release various antimicrobial peptides such as cathelicidin to help balance things out. Likewise, our good bacterial residents can inhibit the release of inflammatory compounds from the immune system.
Clean is good? Think again
You’re probably familiar with the idea that excess cleanliness and loads of antibiotics and other medications can damage the gut microbiome and could increase the risk of allergy and autoimmunity, among other issues. That’s the reason for the recent influx of articles telling mums to let their kids get out and get dirty.
Thanks to the highly marketed “Anti-bacterial wash”, we now have a stronger skin dysbiosis and antibiotic resistance, thus stoking various skin conditions. An imbalanced microbiome, is associated with many diseases, including psoriasis, allergies, eczema, contact dermatitis, acne, poor wound healing, skin ulcers, dandruff, yeast and fungal infections, rosacea, and accelerated skin aging. So is being clean really good? Think again.
Here are our top 5 tips for a healthy skin microbiome:
1. Identify and remove trigger food
It is common to be allergic to something and more often than not, it is food related. If you’re unsure, what the trigger is, having a food diary would help. You can start with common allergens such as gluten, dairy and nuts. If you’re breastfeeding and your child has sensitive skin, you should look at your own diet too.
2. Eat healthy
As skin is the last organ to receive nutrients, making sure you're always eating healthy is very important. I would recommend having lots of healthy fats in your diet – good healthy fish oil, avocado, nuts (if you’re not allergic to nuts!).
3. Minimise the use of hand sanitisers and antibacterial wash
Let your microbiome grow and be your defense! I recommend a mild and safe wash for your daily cleaning. Our babies dont do rough and dirty work, they dont need harsh cleaners.
4. Maintain a healthy gut
A healthy gut equates healthy skin too! Load up on probiotics and bone broths for a healthy gut.
5. Use a topical probiotic
As mentioned above, the skin is the last organ to get nutrients, so it may need some help. Using topical probiotics, like the one in Bare Nuhcessities Bare Balancing Baby Lotion, will help build a healthy skin microbiome!