The Epicentre of Skin Health || Doctors Formula
SKIN -- it’s our largest living organ, but do we really pay it the respect that it deserves?
The likely answer is no. We abuse it day in and day out. We expose it to all forms of aggressors, environmental damage, physical attack, UV rays and pollution. We leave the dead and dying cells on the skin’s surface, yet we expect it to fully function, be radiant, healthy, and non-reactive. It keeps us warm and cool as our complete protective layer, shielding everything beneath, so why do we not show our skin the care and support it deserves?
If you consider our immediate thoughts when we refer to one of the main organs of the body -- the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver – we are quite proactive when it comes to maintaining it. We talk about our diet and how we exercise. We talk about managing our stress levels and what impact that can have on our bodies, as well as how essential to health a healthy heart is. Mental health awareness is on the rise each day, so taking some time out or down time is no longer a luxury but an essential part of everyday life – we get it! If we talk about lung health, we know smoking is a habit we should avoid at all costs and that there’s nothing better than inhaling super clean air. We have dry January to encourage the reduction of alcohol we consume to help keep our kidneys and liver fully functional, detoxing to allow the tissue to renew and replenish and give us a feel-good boost. They’re all immediate link thoughts that we have and one’s that we both recognise and can relate to. But what about protecting our skin?
Your bespoke microbiome is created within the first few years of being born. These living microbes reside not only on our skin, but your body is said to have almost as many microbes as cells, and all invisible to the naked eye. So, although they may start life with the perfect balance both within the body and on your skin, environmental exposure, stress, medication, and diet can have a serious impact on the health of our microbiome both internally and externally. These microbes assist the entire body from your gut health, skin, nasal, and oral cavities to wage a war on daily pathogens attacking the body. They aid with food digestion and help our immune system; they work 24/7 to keep your body both safe and healthy. So, they’re most definitely worth looking after.
If I asked you to name a probiotic drink that takes care of your gut health, I can guarantee that you’d likely tell me Activia®. We associate this specific brand with looking after our gut health and its microbiome.
First launched in France back in 1987, Danone® researchers took an interest in bifidobacterial, which they found to have a range of beneficial health effects, including the regulation of intestinal microbial homeostasis. They developed a specific strain that could survive in the acidic medium of yoghurt. In addition to traditional yoghurt bacteria, they decided to add a probiotic strain too. Activia® products contain Bifidobacterium animalis a proprietary strain of Bifidobacterium. As of 2013, Activia ® was present in more than 70 countries and on five continents, is classified as a functional food, designed to improve digestive health. So, millions of us know that by keeping our microbiome in perfect working order, stable and balanced is an essential part to everyday life. Yet, if I asked you to name me a skincare brand that looks after your skin microbiome, could you? Do you even know that the skin has it very own microbiome that needs taking care of, just like your gut?
SKIN is fascinating – fact! With its multiple and multi-complex layers, with intricate actions to protect. To be fair it has its very own ecosystem with trillions of bacteria which fight on your behalf every day. So, what is your skin’s microbiome?
The microbiome is made up of more than a trillion micro-organisms which live on our skin. They’re the fighting force of protection, strength, and stability on your skin. Predominantly, the microbiome is made up of bacteria, but did you know that it can also include, fungus, virus and even mites? Please don’t gross out over this right now! It’s a healthy colony and it’s the epicentre of your skins’ health.
This army of skin workers is fundamental to the wellness of our skin. In short, these skin saving bacteria are on a daily mission to aid all types of complexions, boosting our biome and targeting daily skin malfunctions such as itching and inflammation, rashes, breakouts and likely at the top of almost everyone’s “skin goals target list,” the dreaded dehydration which if we don’t treat, can progress into fine lines and ultimately wrinkles.
In summary, it’s all about maintaining the perfect balance within the skin’s microbiome, as when it becomes disrupted, it can create havoc on both the health and visible appearance on your skin. Different skin types, whether you are oily, combination, dry or normal, can give us a different microbiome. The other interesting fact about your skin’s microbiome (or skin flora or microflora as often it’s referred to) is that it’s different all over the body. The microbes which reside in your underarms as an example will be a different collection to those that live on your face and legs. They are also different and unique to every one of us, and can be impacted by where we live, through what we eat and drink, and what we use on our skin. So, our genetics and lifestyle also play a part in how our microbiome functions.
Talk about tough life! Our microbiome is trying to fight off the daily pathogen attack, work with us as we expose it to environmental damage, react with changes to our diet, lifestyle, and a differing daily environment. Add in working with our genetics while trying to keep our skin’s pH levels balanced and our skin looking luminous and healthy – it’s a tough job 365 days a year 24/7, so no wonder on occasion it reacts! This is even more reason we should be including probiotic or prebiotic skincare into our daily skincare regime.
It’s all about building resilience. When your microbiome is out of balance, you may not see an immediate visible difference. it’s a like when you’re feeling a bit under the weather and you decide to still do your regular exercise -- you don’t quite have the energy to put 100% into your workout, but your heart and lungs are working so much harder. It’s precisely the same when your skin microbiome is weakened. Behind the scenes, those microbes are pushing for that healthy, balanced skin, yet they are on an upward trajectory, fighting the pathogens, trying to rebalance the pH level and keep everything calm. Yet everything is functioning not quite at 100% and your skin is receiving less support. There’s no wonder we can feel a few dry patches which seemingly appear from nowhere or have a few sudden breakouts, or have skin that appear dull, lack-lustre and in need of something thirst quenching.
The interesting thing about your microflora, whether its surface skin or internal, is the thought process that throughout the body they are all intrinsically linked. There’s a connection between your gut health, brain health and skin health. Consider everyday engagements - when you’ve had one of those lovely weekends, met up with friends and likely over-indulged both on food and alcohol consumption for a couple of days. Then a few days later, you suddenly have a breakout, or your skin feels not quite in peak condition, when literally a few days ago everything looked peachy and glowing.
Another example is if you’ve got an exciting event to go to and you’re a little stressed about the whole occasion, or a have an upcoming job interview and your nerves and stress levels feel like they have taken over. What happens? On the morning you wake up, all gung-ho and ready to go, you look in the mirror and see the monster blemish which literally has appeared overnight, and no matter how much concealer you cake on, you attack it and hope the redness has dissipated prior to meeting the panel (or worse, you’ve picked and now have the most enormous, red beacon, siren sounding spot you’ve ever had in your life and you feel that everyone is looking right at it!) Or it simply may be that you’re facing a tough time, the ups and downs of life, and feel that your somewhere between wanting to hibernate or get off the rollercoaster ride.
In short, your mental health really doesn’t feel as strong and stable as you usually do, so what happens to your skin? Breakouts, dullness, or skin may feel itchy for no apparent reason, or it may suddenly become more reactive that you’ve known it to be historically, and you know you’re feeling under the weather but why is your skin reacting in this way? If the microbiome -- whether it be in your gut, your brain, or your skin -- is feeling the pressure, and it needs some extra support to rebuild, repair and strengthen, no matter where in the body those microbes lie.
Probiotic skincare contains key ingredients to help nurture your skin’s microbiome. The good bacteria helps to restore and repair your skin’s barrier function, bringing the skin’s natural immune response back into balance by soothing any redness, inflammation, loss of hydration, rashes and breakouts, thus re-booting our biome to target daily skin malfunctions.
So, who benefits from using a probiotic skincare range? In short, all of us do!
You have sensitive skin
Scientific studies show that those who suffer redness and inflammation, as well as skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, are responsive to being treated with probiotics. Probiotics can cleverly assist with reactive and fragile skin types as they can rebuild, repair, and strengthen the skin’s natural barrier.
A single application isn’t going to give you a great result but using probiotic and prebiotic skincare over time in your daily routine will speed up the recovery process for your skin. Also reducing stress, improving your diet overall and paying close attention to your anti-inflammatory response signals in your skin will have an impact. Combine with probiotic treatment and you’re treating both the internal and external responses, so your skin starts to respond in a positive way too.
When you’re a city dweller, you recognise too well how the effect pollution can have on your skin. Take a no-make-up day as an example and a quick trip around town or to the office and back. When you look in the mirror and your skin appear it’s still clean, think again. Wipe a mild cleanser over your skin on a piece of cotton wool and you’ll see the very visible effect of pollution from just one swipe.
When I used to travel to London regularly for work during the summer, if I’d worn open toed shoes, my feet would literally be black by the time I reached home, and that was only from train hopping and going to the office and back. It was amazing at how much pollution, dirt, grease, dust and grim attached itself onto the skin in such a few short hours, plus you could visibly see it!
Free Radicals and pollution is known to increase the speed of ageing and seemingly drains the skin of its youthful radiance. Probiotics help boost your skin’s natural defences and fighting mechanisms by calming the natural immune triggers in your skin which can be over stimulated by both pollution and stress. By taking the probiotic approach and reducing the effect of the stress triggers, you’re helping to shield against the degradation of healthy skin cells too and strengthening your very own environmental shield.
Blemish and breakout prone skin types
We’ve long known that oilier skin types with increased sebum can be problematic. Probiotic skincare for oilier types can provide positive results, as it helps feed all the good bacteria while starving out the bad bacteria for the skin. This approach can be favourable as opposed to using harsh chemical acne products to kill everything in sight, as probiotics can provide a delicate and targeted approach to healing and rebalancing for inflamed skin. The variations of skin microbes and bacteria on acne skin types needs more comfort than mass destruction from chemically-potent acne treatments, which tends to dehydrate the skin as the skin reacts to produce more natural oils – therefore, the cycle of acne never gets broken. However, with Probiotic skincare, you’re offered the best of both worlds: bacteria balance, soothing inflammation, receiving hydration, and most of all, a strengthened skin barrier.
Probiotic skincare feels like a relatively new phenomenon to the skincare market. The rise in its popularity as a main functional ingredient thanks to its efficacy against numerous skin concerns means it is anticipated to drive market growth specifically over the next 4-5 years. If you’re unsure of which to try, here’s a few of my probiotic hero products that will help you improve your skin’s microbiome.
AURELIA® PROBIOTIC BLEMISH HERO - 15g - £18
This skin-saving, spot cream paste is particularly great for acne and breakout sufferers. Infused with distilled witch hazel, white China clay and salicylic acid, this natural, soothing paste gets to work on breakouts and redness without over drying. It also features PROTIDA™ technology that helps to protect, restore, balance and repair to help speed up the healing process.
Marie Veronique® Pre & Probiotic Daily Mist – 4oz - $40
You can easily integrate a daily mist into your routine, and this pre & probiotic mist does wonders. Spritz it on to calm irritation with micronutrients that encourage microbial diversity and restores balance or for just when you need an instant refresh. This handy spritz also allows you to maintain the skin's microbiome balance by encouraging helpful microorganisms to thrive. Pre-biotics feed Probiotics to keep skin's ecosystem cycle functioning smoothly while coconut water profoundly hydrates while anti-inflammatories calm and soothe.
MURAD® Prebiotic 4-in-1 Multi Cleanser -150ml - £38
This is a great gel-to-oil, make-up removing cleanser that nourishes the skin with prebiotics to balance the skin’s microbiome for overall healthier looking skin. This 4-in-1, non-drying formula features an ultra-cleansing peptide to melt make-up, dirt, and excess oil, while moisturising emollients deeply hydrate the skin.
Mother Dirt ® AO+ Restorative Mist – 100ml - £49.99
A patented and first of its kind product, this restorative mist features truly live and active probiotics for radiant, healthier-looking skin. Discovered by MIT scientists the revolutionary ingredient is live AOB, which interacts with elements naturally found on your skin and in your sweat to produce two powerful by-products -- Nitrite and Nitric Oxide – both of which are essential to a balanced skin microbiome. Designed for all skin types, this Mist protects and maintains healthy skin by restoring and balancing your microbiome. Spritz away to glowing skin!
Doctors Formula® PROBIOTIC COLLECTION – 15ml to 30ml - £85 to £95
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 while increasing water retention, making the skin look more hydrated and youthful.
The Probiotic range is 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.
It’s time to get into bed with the bugs that don’t bite but DO put up a dally fight for the health of your skin and look after your microbiome.