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Microbiome Body Care: We Ask the Experts What It Means

Dry, Irritated, Itchy Skin? Trending Microbiome Body Care Could Help

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Detail of woman's shoulder with hand while taking a shower.

Have you been suffering from itchiness, sensitivity, acne or even recurrent episodes of unexplained thrush? According to the experts it could be down the body care products you're using and how they are damaging the microbiome of your skin. The microbiome has become the focus of much scientific research recently, and its role in the maintenance of skin's health has been scientifically proven. "Healthy skin is based on the skin's microbiome," explains Dr Tiina Meder, founder of Meder by Dr Tiina Meder. "Everything is potentially damaging to the skin microbiome and should be avoided in formulations addressing healthy skin," she tells PS UK. This means saying goodbye to disinfecting ingredients, including triclosan, alcohol of benzoyl peroxide, as well as for hydroxy acids. "All these everyday ingredients change a skin's pH level, as the microbiome is pH sensitive it means using any of these ingredients can have an affect." However it is not just synthetic ingredients that can cause an issue according to Dr Meder. "Many essential oils show antibacterial, antifungal or antiviral properties too - previously we saw it as a good thing, now we understand that healthy skin should not be exposed to such an effect on a regular basis," she tells PS UK. "Products speeding up skin renewal can be potentially harmful for a microbiome as well, so they cannot be called 'microbiome-friendly'."

Previously there has been much discussion about the benefits of looking after the microbiome of your skin barrier in terms of facial skincare, as any disruption can compromise the skin barrier and lead to acne, rosacea, irritated and sensitive skin. But according to Dr Meder, you can't focus on the face without thinking about the rest of the body. "When you switch to microbiome-friendly or oriented skincare I always suggest doing it more globally," she says. "This is because if you include one microbiome-friendly product in your not-so-friendly skincare routine, it will not change anything for you."

It is no surprise as we become more aware of the products and ingredients we are using, that searches for microbiome-balanced feminine and body care products are up by 266 percent. This increase in interest towards looking after the microbiome of the skin on our body to prevent and treat certain issues when compromised, means there is a new thirst for this type of product.

For further information and to find out if this could be the answer to various skin and health concerns, I reached out to the experts in the field to find out more.


Experts Featured in This Article

Amanda Azzopard Aesthetic Nurse, feminine health specialist and founder of Amanda Azzopardi Aesthetics


Katy Cottam Founder & CEO of Luna Daily


Dr Tiina Meder Founder of Meder by Dr Tiina Meder

What Does Microbiome-Friendly Body Care Mean?

Our skin is home to thousands of different bacteria and microorganisms, collectively known as the skin microbiome. "There are two kinds of 'microbiome skincare', one is largely known as microbiome-friendly and another is microbiome-oriented," says Dr Meder. "Microbiome-friendly terms became very trendy and are now used so largely that sometimes it leads to confusion and misconceptions. Microbiome-friendliness of skincare is based on the idea that skincare products don't affect the skin's microbiome and don't damage it," she tells PS UK.

So what does this mean for your current skin and body care routine? "Some prebiotics or probiotics are used in this class of skincare if they help to maintain healthy microbiome, as well as many plants extracts, antioxidants and vitamins such as niacinamide or panthenol, hyaluronic acid, glycerin and carrageenan," explains Dr Meder. "Another type of product can be called microbiome-oriented as they are designed to affect skin microbiome and fight its pathogenic changes." She claims these are particularly useful for those who suffer from acne, skin dryness or age-related concerns. "These products can be based on pH modulators to acidifiy the skin in case of acne, or 'therapeutic' prebiotics and probiotics able to promote a growth of beneficial microorganisms and suppress the growth of pathogenic microorganisms on the skin surface," she explains.

"A healthy skin microbiome helps keep the pH level balanced, which in turn keeps the natural oils and moisture on our skin intact," Katy Cottam tells PS UK. "Using harsh products with too high a pH level, could result in irritation and redness or even gynaecological troubles like thrush." Potentially it is this understanding and increased awareness that we may have to consider in the body products we are using as well. "That's why we have created a range of microbiome-balancing body care that can be used everywhere," Cottam tells PS UK.

What Are the Benefits of Microbiome-Friendly Body Care?

"All individuals with healthy skin will benefit from microbiome-friendly skincare as it is the best way to maintain skin health and hydration and prevent premature or accelerated skin ageing," explains Dr Meder. We also tend to think of our skin as just our face, but it is in fact the biggest organ on our body, so looking after it from the neck down is just as important.

"Traditional body washes typically have a high pH and can disrupt your skin's delicate balance," says Cottam. The idea is, that there's no point spending £300 on skincare products for our face and then using a cheap shower gel for the rest of your body, if you consider that our skin is one large cohesive area. Dry scaly skin may look unsightly but a compromised microbiome can cause more issues than just physical appearance, such as thrush and skin rashes. "It is something I only know too well and if you factor in the heat, menstrual cycle or a course of antibiotics, this intimate area can become even more sensitive to pH imbalances," says Cottam.

"Using microbiome-friendly products can help maintain this balance by supporting the growth of beneficial bacteria that can compete with and inhibit the growth of Candida the cause of thrush," says Amanda Azzopardi. "Additionally, it can help restore the microbiome after it has been disrupted by factors such as antibiotic use."

What Microbiome-Friendly Body Care Products Are Available?

In terms of products that specifically cater for the microbiome of the skin on your body, Luna Daily is one of the leaders in the industry with its Everywhere Wash (£14), another brand which focuses on skin's microbiome and has products specifically catering for body is Gallinée and its Perfume-Free Cleansing Bar (£13) and Body Milk (£28). If you're finding that the skin under your arms is red, sensitive and irritated it could be worth looking into a microbiome-friendly deodorant like Meder Body Day Prebiotic Deodorant (£39)


Lauren Ezekiel is an associate editor at PS UK, where she writes about all things beauty and wellness. With a degree in journalism and 12 years' experience as a beauty editor at a leading Sunday supplement, she is obsessed with skincare, hair and makeup, and is often found offering advice to innocent bystanders. Her work has been published in Grazia, OK, Health and Beauty, The Sun, ASDA, Dare and Metro.

Everywhere Wash
Everywhere Wash
£14
from luna-daily.com
Buy Now
Gallinée and its Perfume-Free Cleansing Bar
Gallinée and its Perfume-Free Cleansing Bar
£13
from gallinee.com
Buy Now
Body Milk
Body Milk
£28
from gallinee.com
Buy Now
Meder Body Day Prebiotic Deodorant
Meder Body Day Prebiotic Deodorant
£39
from skinpharmacy.co.uk
Buy Now
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