If there is a recent movement in skin care that has caught our attention, it has to be biome-friendly skin care. Sometimes it’s called microbiome skin care, microflora skin care, fermented skin care, or a number of other phrases, often with some prebiotic or probiotic ingredients as part of the ingredients.
It’s all about skin care that is designed and formulated to nurture your skin microbiome, or the collection of bacteria and microorganisms that live on your skin. Fermented skincare basically means products containing ingredients that went through a fermentation process which in turn enhances the bioavailability of active ingredients thus being more effectively absorbed by the skin.
With biotic skincare we broadly mean skincare products that are infused with not only microbiome-friendly biotics such as pre-, pro-, and postbiotics, but also microbiome-balancing high quality oils, and ultimately the skincare formulas that are further enhanced through an additional process of natural fermentation.
What is skin microbiome and why should you care about it?
The billions of microbes living on you are called your skin microbiome. Optimal skin condition depends on the variety and the balance of the microbes living on and in it. Without microbes, your skin can’t perform its basic functions and the rate of skin aging increases sharply. When the skin barrier is healthy, your complexion appears smooth, clear, even-toned, and balanced. A healthy, balanced microbiome equals healthy, balanced skin. Your skin is better able to stay hydrated, deal with inflammation, protect itself from environmental stressors, deal with skin conditions (like acne or rosacea), help your immune response, and age healthier.
On the flip side, if your skin barrier is damaged, then that’s when you’ll experience redness, irritation, breakouts, rashes, burning sensations, broken capillaries, dryness, tightness, and other symptoms you’d attribute to just having sensitive skin. Constant use of harsh facial cleansers and antibacterial soaps strip your skin of these healthy bacteria and consequently damaging your skin’s natural bacterial ecosystem. This in turn makes your skin stressed and dry, causing skin issues like breakouts, eczema, rosacea flares and psoriasis.
However, our microflora also changes over time as we go through hormonal shifts, and so on. Lifestyle, dietary habits, (in)sufficient sleep or chronic stressors can also play a big role in the health of our microbiome, both in the gut and on skin.
What are biotics?
Biotics is a common name for the group of living bacteria and related nutrient compounds and metabolites – namely prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics.
Probiotics are strains of bacteria that occur naturally in the gut and on the skin. Probiotics are a powerful, natural ingredient that help balance your skin microbiome. They’re great for helping your skin get back to its happy state – consider them as the ultimate skin superfood. Probiotics in skin care are derived from selected plant-based ingredients and added probiotic strains through the fermentation process.
Prebiotics, on the other hand, are the nutrients for probiotics. They increase the production and a healthy variety of probiotics in our body and on the skin.
Postbiotics are not new, but rather a more “hidden” element of biotic skin care. Recent research has been able to identify effective fermented metabolites as outputs from the bacteria living on our skin. These include anti-microbial peptides, enzymes and short-chain fatty acids. Rather than replanting the bacterial strains (as in probiotics) or feeding the strains we naturally have (prebiotics), postbiotics directly supply skin with these natural fermentation byproducts from the start when applied to skin. However, since these specific peptides, enzymes and fatty acids are formed from fermented bacteria byproducts, they won’t appear as such on the ingredient label – instead, you may just see enabling ingredients such as “lactobacillus ferment”.
Combining all the biotics – ie prebiotics, probiotics, postbiotics, oils and other bioactive ingredients – synergistically together into a multipurpose skincare formula creates compounded effects and helps nurture, balance, and feed the skin’s microbiome in a safe, sustainable way. Discover more about our Biotic Skincare here.