The Skin and Scalp Microbiome: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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The Microbiome of Skin and Scalp | FreshMade Professional

What is the microbiome of skin and scalp? How do natural products help keep it healthy? Find out in this article. 

The Skin and Scalp Microbiome: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Many of us are familiar with probiotics and the balance of good and bad bacteria  when it comes to maintaining gut health. But did you know that the bacterial balance on the outside is just as important to having nourished healthy glowing skin? 

The microbiome is the collection of all microorganisms that live on or in the human body. These include bacteria, fungi, viruses and even mite colonies. The microbiome plays a vital role in human health, and disruptions to the microbiome can lead to a wide range of health problems.  The skin and scalp are home to their own unique microbiomes, which play an important role in maintaining healthy skin and hair. Let`s take a closer look at the good and bad bacteria that make up the microbiome of the skin and scalp, as well as some of the common ingredients in skincare and haircare products that can disrupt the delicate balance of the microbiome.

What Kinds of Problems Arise from Disrupted Microbiome?

A disrupted microbiome can lead to a wide range of problems including, pre-mature aging, dryness, redness, inflammation, acne breakouts, eczema flare-ups, psoriasis flare-ups, rosacea, dandruff, fungal infections like athlete’s foot or jock itch, and even hair loss. 

Good, Bad and Ugly 

Staphylococcus epidermidis and Propionibacterium acnes are two types of good bacteria that live on the skin. S. epidermidis helps to protect the skin from infection by bad bacteria, while P. acnes helps to regulate sebum production and prevent acne breakouts.

Staphylococcus aureus is a type of bad bacteria that can cause skin infections. S. aureus is often found on the skin of people who have eczema or psoriasis, as these conditions can disrupt the skin’s natural barrier and allow bad bacteria to enter the skin. Common symptoms of S. aureus infections include redness, swelling, and pus-filled bumps on the skin.  Dermodex mite overgrowth linked to rosacea and overgrowth of candidiasis albicans allows  yeast and fungus to take hold.

Common Ingredients in Skincare and Haircare Products that Disrupt the Microbiome: 

Many common ingredients in skincare and haircare products can disrupt the delicate balance of a happy skin barrier. Watch for sulfates, synthetic fragrances, artificial colors, and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives are all known to disrupt the microbiome. These ingredients are often used in products because they are cheap and easy to obtain, but they can have harmful effects on human health.  Preservatives like parabens and even  phenoxyethanol (used frequently in products marketed as natural) are used in skincare and haircare products to extend their shelf life.. However, these preservatives can also disrupt the microbiome by killing both good and bad bacteria..  While preservatives are necessary to prevent product contamination, it’s important to choose companies that use updated clinical research to thoughtfully formulate products to help promote balance in the microbiome as well as maintain a safe and potent product.

How pH Affects Microbiome: 

The pH of your skin is important for maintaining a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria. Hidden toxic ingredients as well as using products that are not actually pH balanced in the proper range can disrupt the microbiome and lead to problems like dryness, redness, inflammation, acne breakouts and basically every other skincare challenge. ( See our Guide on proper pH balance ranges and easily testing the pH of products yourself at home.)

Truly Natural Products Help Keep Microbiome Healthy: 

Look for potent ingredients not just in food but also in your skincare products. Things  like probiotics, prebiotics,  natural ferments and antioxidant food sources all can help keep your microbiome healthy by balancing back and providing nourishment for good bacteria so that the skin’s natural barrier can be restored. 

Now that you understand the significant role that this complex ecosystem plays in vibrant skin and hair health, you can be confident in helping yourself and others achieve the best complexion EVER.