It’s common knowledge that we should thoroughly cleanse our face twice a day; but is it possible to over-cleanse the skin? Scientists have been looking into the benefits of a healthy gut microbiota for a long time, but now many scientists believe it’s also important to maintain a healthy skin microbiota. Yes, the thought of having microorganisms like bacteria on our face is slightly repulsive, but researchers are starting to find that skin problems such as acne, eczema, and rosacea could all be related to a disruption in the healthy microbiota of the skin. You see, just as in our intestines, there can be good, beneficial bacteria on the surface of our epidermis.
Researchers believe the skin microbiota is colonized with a larger number of microorganisms than previously thought. Human skin is estimated to be inhabited by roughly 1 million bacteria per square centimeter. The microbial composition varies in different areas of the body with variability across individuals. Lifestyle, living environment, hygiene, diet, age and gender impact the makeup of the skin microbiota.
Skin pH and the Microbiota
So what can you do to help maintain a healthy skin microbiota? The external pH of the skin is one of the big factors that impacts the skin microbiome. The surface of human skin has a natural pH of about 4.5, which is mildly acidic. This mild acidity helps to keep the skin’s microbiota in balance. A more alkaline pH, like 8 to 9 or higher, can easily disrupt that balance. Even water’s pH of 7 is too high for skin. After rinsing with water, a good thing to do is to rebalance the skin pH to a mildly acidic level using a toner with a physiological pH. This is especially true for individuals with existing dermatological conditions. Many common skincare products, including cleansers, moisturizers, and over-the-counter topical medications have a pH of 5.5 and higher, which can dry out the skin and make it more prone to infections, eruptions, and premature aging.
Some tips we have for maintaining a healthy skin microbiota are:
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Skin Management System by Dr. Strauss
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