The fact that the human body has more microbial cells than human cells is a recent discovery, dating back to 20 years ago. It is estimated that there are 39 trillion microbial cells compared to 30 trillion human cells (blood cells, skin cells, bone cells, etc).
Just think about that for a second…
This means that for centuries, human biology has focused on human cells and largely ignored the existence of trillions of microbial cells and their role on human health. Therefore, the advances on the science of microbiome raises some questions on the current medicine.
In the last couple of decades, the sciences of microbiome and epigenetics have opened new frontiers in human biology which are leading to innovative and more effective ways of targeting diseases.
So far, we have scratched the surface of the world of microbiome. We are still mapping the various strains, understanding the by-products microbiota produce and their aggregate role on human health. But one thing is clear: the microbiomes are vital in human health, and human health depends on the coexistence of human and microbial cells.
Acne is a perfect example of this crossroad. Traditionally, acne has been targeted with medications to target human skin cells and to kill skin and gut bacteria as bacteria was considered bad. This is an archaic approach that pre-dates the sciences of microbiome and epigenetics. Since 2021, Skin Diligent exist to challenge these deep-rooted old sciences. Skin Diligent has introduced the novel approach of targeting acne via a multi-faceted approach that combines food supplements and skincare that respects the skin microbiome and helps the skin carry out its job of defence and repair, leading to skin health.
Microbiome Vs. microbiota
Microbiota refers to all the microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, archaea and fungi found in an environment (for example, skin microbiota or intestinal microbiota). Microbiome refers to the entire genetic material from all those microorganisms. In other words, the microbiota and their genes. Often, the terms are used interchangeably.
The role of gut microbiome on human health
So far, we know the gut microbiome influences or produces certain hormones (oestrogen, progesterone, corticosterone, serotonin, etc), produces certain vitamins (vitamin K and certain vitamin Bs), regulates the immune system (training and directing the human immune system and inflammation, so your body doesn’t overreact creating allergies for example) and ensures good functioning of our metabolism (digestion, absorption of nutrients, using nutrients for energy and normal body functioning).
Recent research has suggested that the gut microbiome may also play a role in mental health. The gut is sometimes referred to as the "second brain" because it contains a complex network of neurons and neurotransmitters. Some researchers believe that the gut microbiome may be involved in the regulation of mood and behaviour through this gut-brain connection.
The gut microbiome is incredibly diverse, with hundreds of different species of microorganisms living in the gut. The composition of the microbiome varies from person to person, and can be influenced by factors such as diet, age, genetics, and lifestyle.
Research has shown that imbalances in the gut microbiome, such as a reduction in beneficial bacteria or an increase in harmful bacteria, can be associated with a range of health conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, diabetes, skin problems and even mental health disorders.
As a result, there is growing interest in understanding the gut microbiome and its role in health, and in developing interventions, such as probiotics and prebiotics, to promote a healthy microbiome and prevent or treat disease.
The role of skin microbiome
The skin microbiome is unique to each individual and can vary depending on factors such as age, gender, diet, lifestyle, and geography. However, in general, the skin microbiome is dominated by bacteria, particularly species from the genera Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Corynebacterium, and Propionibacterium.
The skin microbiome has many important functions, including:
- Protecting the skin from harmful pathogens
- Regulating the skin's immune system
- Maintaining the skin's pH balance
- Breaking down sebum and other skin oils
- Preventing excessive inflammation and allergic reactions
Imbalances in the skin microbiome can lead to a variety of skin conditions, including acne, eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea. Therefore, understanding and maintaining a healthy skin microbiome is an important aspect of overall skin health.
Maintaining a healthy skin microbiome can be achieved through practices such as using gentle skincare products, avoiding over-washing and over-exfoliating, and consuming a balanced diet rich in nutrients.
This is why all of Skin Diligent’s natural skincare respects the skin microbiome, its pH, and the integrity of the skin barrier in resolving skin issues.
Probiotics Vs. Prebiotics Vs. Postbiotics
Probiotics: Probiotics are live microorganisms, typically bacteria or yeasts, that are beneficial to human health. Previously, scientists thought that probiotics worked by colonising the gut with beneficial microorganisms, but now new studies are showing that probiotics are more transitory. However, in their transit, probiotics play an important role in producing enzymes and fatty acids that have a beneficial role in maintaining a healthy gut lining, in other words, help repair and prevent the 'leaky gut'.
Good bacteria found in many fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut don’t necessarily have the title of probiotics. The term 'probiotics' is reserved for the strains that have been proven to be beneficial, for example the Lactobacilli and the Bifidobacteria.
Prebiotics: Prebiotics are indigestible fibres and carbohydrates that act as food for the beneficial bacteria in the gut. They are found in many plant-based foods like onions, garlic, bananas, asparagus, whole grains, and many more. Prebiotics work by promoting the growth and activity of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Postbiotics: Postbiotics are the by-products of probiotic metabolism, including enzymes, peptides, organic acids, and short-chain fatty acids. They are generated as a result of the fermentation of prebiotics by probiotic bacteria in the gut. Postbiotics can have beneficial effects on the host, such as reducing inflammation, improving gut barrier function, and enhancing immune function. Postbiotics can also be obtained from fermented foods and dietary supplements.
In summary, probiotics are live microorganisms that can improve gut health by colonizing the gut with beneficial bacteria, prebiotics are indigestible fibres that act as food for the beneficial bacteria in the gut, and postbiotics are the by-products of probiotic metabolism that can exert beneficial effects on the gut and overall health.
Potential benefits of probiotics on skin health:
- Helps preventing and treating acne: Probiotics have been found to decrease the severity and frequency of acne by reducing inflammation and inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria on the skin.
- Helps reducing eczema symptoms: Eczema is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that can cause redness, itching, and dryness. Probiotics can improve eczema symptoms by restoring the balance of beneficial bacteria on the skin and reducing inflammation.
- Helps improving skin hydration: Probiotics can help improve the skin's natural moisturizing ability by enhancing the skin's barrier function and increasing ceramide production.
- Helps reducing the signs of aging: Probiotics have been found to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by improving skin elasticity and reducing inflammation.
Overall, probiotics can be a useful addition to a skincare routine as they can help promote healthy skin by supporting the skin's natural microbiome and reducing inflammation. However, more research is needed to fully understand the specific strains and dosages of probiotics that are most effective for different skin types and conditions.
Is it easy to formulate skincare with probiotics?
No, because skincare products require preservatives and by definition, preservatives kill all microorganisms that can develop inside the products during their shelf life. Probiotics being bacterial are also affected by preservatives. This is the reason why there aren't many products in the market with probiotics. It requires very technical formulations to create a skincare with live probiotics.
Try our highly technical probiotic Triple Action Cleanser for a dose of probiotics, gentle cleansing and gentle exfoliation.