It is that time of year when we make resolutions. New beginnings, new year, new you. Our focus shifts to the age-old mentality of “Out with the old and in with the new.” Your gym membership has renewed, the fridge is stocked with every low fat, healthy option available and your new exercise regime looks to leave you with little time to fit in your work schedule, let alone your social life… you have considered every health aspect, but have you included your skin health?
Your skin is the largest living organ of the body, responsible for so much of our health. In fact, our skin is more than an organ -- it is a complete ecosystem. Home to trillions of microorganisms with their own distinct microbial populations, the microbiome has a fine balance -- if it is not looked after and maintained, it can be disrupted daily via external aggressors, with triggering responses such as itchiness, inflammation, breakouts, and rashes…and that’s just on your surface skin! As your microbiome is made up of bacteria, this healthy skin colony needs support to keep it functioning day in day out, 365 days a year. Your microbiome is the epicentre of your skin’s health. It’s a fighting force which protects against invasion, as well as stabilises and prevents daily reactivity all while simultaneously strengthening our skin, holding everything in place. In short, the microbiome and the microorganisms which reside there are fundamental to how our skin behaves and what we see when we look in the mirror.
The interesting thing about your microflora, whether surface skin or internal, is the thought process that throughout the body they are all intrinsically linked. So, there is a connection between your gut health, brain health and skin health. Take the past few holiday weeks as an example. Hopefully you have managed to meet up with family and friends, celebrate over the Christmas season and new year and with all the temptations laid at our door, over-indulged a little with tasty morsels and a few more tipples than what you would usually treat yourself to. What impact did that have on your skin, how did it make you feel? Did it impact your usual exercise routine? Were you stressed over cooking dinner for more people than you usually would, sat until silly o’clock wrapping presents or constantly taking another lateral flow test just to ensure you were Covid clear when you went out-out on the town with you circle of nearest and dearest? What visible and non-visible impact did this extra level of stress, late nights and over-indulgence have on your skin and body as a whole?
Likely there will have been some impact. For some, it may have felt very visible, with breakouts and blemishes surfacing from which you do not usually suffer. You may have felt that Rudolph’s nose had nothing on you after those extra glasses of red wine, with the rashes spreading up your neck as you worked your way down the bottle! For others, they may have felt sluggish, needing more sleep, or simply resulting in the urge to miss the usual exercise class and instead find another box set to binge watch! All of the festivities of the Christmas period may have just left you feeling a little under the weather and lethargic with a “can’t be bothered” attitude. With that, the microbiome -- whether it be in your gut, your brain or your skin -- is feeling the pressure, as it is in need of some extra support to rebuild, repair and strengthen, no matter where in the body those microbes lie.
So, what can we do reduce the visible impact the last few weeks have had on our skin? Quite simply, we can treat the skin with probiotic skincare to encourage the “good” bacteria to thrive and bring balance back to the skin’s ecosystem. We can also ensure the skin cells and microorganisms live in a more harmonised environment, where they can strengthen and support the vital ecosystem our skin needs as its first line of defence. As far as our gut health goes, it is time to rebuild, normalise our diets and get back on track with the supplements. For our brain health, routine is key, with goal setting, task ticking off the “to-do” list, and getting back into good daily habits combined with exercise all will bring a plethora of positivity to the new you in 2022!
Now, back to your new skin regime. Probiotics in skincare work via a daily application of the “good” bacteria which help to rebalance, strengthen, and support the skins natural microflora. They often aim to help stimulate the skins’s lipid synthesis, helping to restore the skin’s natural barrier function, which in turn results in a calmer, more strengthened and balanced skin.
Helping our skin cells to flourish no matter what our age is essential to skin health and the defence mechanisms which protect against lifestyle stress, the visible signs of ageing, daily free-radical attack, and skin ageing prevention. By keeping our microflora balanced and in peak condition, we give our skin cells the best fighting chance and the option to have skin which we associate with a great night’s sleep and healthy lifestyle -- fresh and radiant, hydrated, and smooth. When we improve the moisture and strength in our skin, the balance helps to rejuvenate the skin overall for a renewed skin vibrancy and potentially a more youthful looking you.
The other great note about probiotic skincare is that it is ideal for nearly all skin types, especially if you suffer from dehydration, dullness, hormonal changes, or problematic skin. If you also tend to get the occasional red patch, itchy skin or your skin feels fragile and your micro inflammation signals seem to go off in a rant every time you sip a glass of wine or enjoy something spicy to eat, then your skin needs support. Whether you are 20 or 60 years old, the microbiome can always do with a little extra helping hand.
For me, the best brands with a Probiotic skincare range include Doctors Formula (where a hydrolysed yeast protein is used in both their Probiotics and Advanced Probiotics ranges), Aurelia Skincare, and Biossance.
Doctors Formula (www.doctorsformula.co.uk)
From their website:
Our Probiotic range encourages the skin to not only grow its own beneficial bacteria to create a healthy skin micro-biome (collection of organisms in one place), but also reduces inflammation and skin ageing as it comes from the lactic acid bacteria family (lactobacillus) which decreases skin damage. Our star ingredient, Relipidium, has proven to significantly increase skin hydration by restoring the skin ‘s barrier, minimising water loss and making skin hold more water and look more hydrated and youthful.
Super beneficial for problem skin (acne, eczema, dry, stressed, or sensitive skin), as well as for anyone wishing to keep a healthy skin balance, avoid damage to their skin and achieve a balanced, radiant glow.
Designed to restore the balance in your skin, bringing it back to a harmonious state. Probiotics restore, rebalance, and rehydrate the natural ecosystem on your skin – your microbiome, to ensure your skins natural defence mechanisms are always armed and ready to combat the stresses of life & signs of ageing.
The Hydrolysed Yeast protein is obtained from the hydrolysis of amino acids, peptides, and proteins. It is a unique mix of flavonoids, sugars, vitamins, and amino acids which makes it a super skin multi-tasker and your new year’s best friend. The method of hydrolysis is used which is where a water molecule is added to the substance to rupture the chemical bond. Relipidium, the active ingredient used within the collections, then targets the synthesis of lipids which help to support and reinforce the skins protective barrier. This results in strengthening the beneficial bacteria and the skin’s natural defences to cocoon the skin like an invisible shield, while it significantly increases skin hydration levels to keep skin plump and radiant all at the same time. These products makes it a no-nonsense, no-fuss type of skincare routine which treats, repairs, rejuvenates and hydrates all at the same time.
Aurelia Skincare (www.aurelialondon.com)
From their website:
Designed to reduce cellular damage and promote the production of collagen and hyaluronic acid for plump, dewy skin that glows, PROTIDA™ is at the leading edge in probiotic innovation. Three unique probiotic complexes combine to boost the skin’s natural immunity, managing inflammation and enhancing repair for powerful results from within. Aurelia London’s PROTIDA™ technology continuously protects, restores, and balances the skin by calming the natural inflammatory response which can be overstimulated by factors such as pollution, sunlight, and stress. PROTIDA™ in turn reduces the damage that inflammation can cause to collagen, elastin, and healthy cells, and helps to maintain the skin’s natural equilibrium.
From their website:
A weightless, ultra-hydrating gel moisturizer infused with squalene and probiotic technology to help restore skin’s healthy-looking beauty and radiance. This probiotic moisturizer formula reduces the effects of daytime stressors, leaving skin visibly brighter and more balanced.
We know how to replenish the healthy bacteria, but there’s one other action we need to make a mental note about when delving into our new you, new year topical skincare routine… climate control.
Now it may sound like something we associate more with a weather forecast or with a button we press when we get in the car. However, we need to ensure that throughout the winter months we do not excessively dry out our skin through overuse of the central heating, turning the thermostat up on an hourly basis, or vegetating in front of the roaring fire. When our skin is exposed to extreme temperatures, it can trigger a different type of response – the dreaded dehydration.
Dehydration within the skin can cause many issues, primarily if we don’t treat it and replenish lost moisture, then those very fine dehydration lines left to their own devices start to deepen and before long the formation of a deeper set wrinkle may occur. Really, dehydration does cause your skin to age! Not only with the threat of extra wrinkles, but dehydration can often cause the skin to feel uncomfortable or tight. It can make skin appear more crepey in appearance, give it a grey, dull pallor with no visible radiance at all. Severely dehydrated skin may also look quite red in appearance and feel rough to the touch. With the additional temperature changes causing additional dehydration in the skin, there’s also the issue with the overuse harsh products to quickly counteract problematic skin – such as everyday cleansers packed with detergents or aggressive skin care which guarantee rapid results yet depletes skin health rather than replenishes it. This can all have a negative impact on overall skin health and instigate dehydration.
Our clever skin has a function called trans epidermal water loss -- otherwise known as TEWL. TEWL is the amount of water that evaporates or escapes from your surface skin and is a completely normal everyday skin process. Interestingly, it has often been used as a method by which to assess the skin’s barrier function capability too. See the link here – think Probiotics!
It is believed that the higher the rate evaporation of the water from the surface skin, then potentially the less effective your skin’s barrier function may perform. It is also thought that as we age, our skin barrier function in fact improves. However, as we age, we also start to decrease the volume of natural lipids in the skin compared to a younger skin type. With depleting collagen and elastin levels, the slowing of cellular turnover and the extra years exposed to pollutants, environmental aggressors, and free radical attack, we know that ageing skin recovers from damage more slowly than a younger skin type, so we need all the additional help we can get!
During the winter months, the best approach to maintain the healthy appearance of our skin is to keep hold of as much of that natural water in the skin while preventing excessive evaporation of the
trans epidermal water loss levels is to hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate! Use a daily moisturiser that contains active ingredients and has a product description indicating it as occlusive, rejuvenating, a humectant or an emollient, or better yet, all of the mentioned for the best possible skin results.
When we want to revive, protect, and support our skin while preventing the appearance of dry skin, loss of elasticity, reduce fine lines, smooth, and maintain skin elasticity, we need a skincare routine which includes a moisturiser which is classed as being occlusive, humectant, emollient, and/or rejuvenating - why?
Occlusive moisturisers are super effective as they create a hydrophobic barrier on the surface skin which means they help to slow the rate of water evaporation from the skin and control the TEWL. (Ingredients such as stearic acid, shea butter, argan oil, borage seed oil and Jojoba oil are ones to watch out for).
Humectants are hygroscopic components that retain water and moisture within skin. We often refer to these as the ingredients which can attract and bind moisture to prevent excessive water loss or an increase in TEWL action. Formulations with humectant properties can be combined with occlusive agents that prevent water loss (look out for ingredients such as Glycerine, Hyaluronic Acid, propylene glycol, and Aloe Vera).
Emollients are most frequently used for drier skin types or those skin types with a rough feeling surface texture. Emollients assist lubricating the skin, therefore leaving the skin feeling soft and conditioned (Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, plant oil and mineral oil are common emollients).
Rejuvenators are designed to replace what is missing from our skin, such as essential proteins. However, most protein structures are large and are frequently broken down into amino acid sized structures to an exceptionally low molecular weight so they can create a similar role to the activity in the dermis. Their aim is to improve the skin appearance, so rejuvenators create a film that softens the skin, smooths, and even fills fine lines. So, when we look in the mirror, the reflection makes us smile. Rejuvenators often contain skin proteins such as Hydrolysed proteins or amino acids, Hydrolysed yeast proteins, peptides, and essential amino acids (marine collagen, hydrolysed proteins, vitamin C, Retinol to name a few).
A strong and balanced microbiome is essential for a radiant, supple, and healthy complexion – at any age. By strengthening your skin barrier and overall microbiome, this colony serves as your first line of defence against daily allergens, toxins, air pollution, free-radical attack and environmental stressors which target the skin daily.
So, that is why it is my number one resolution and is the one resolution that can last throughout the entire year and beyond! It does not require an excessive amount of planning, time, or commitment, to achieve a sensational result. What it does offer is a restored skin barrier and more hydrated, strengthened skin and a healthier, more vibrant, and glowing version of me for 2022.
New beginnings, new year, new skincare routine for me… how about you? To help you along the way, here's 60% OFF NEW Probiotics Advanced at the checkout from us with OFFER CODE: RESTORE60