When it comes to skincare, microbes aren’t something we typically discuss. But understanding them can make all the difference and impact the health of your skin.
So, what exactly are microbes? They’re tiny microorganisms that can cause disease on the skin and in the body. While that may sound pretty scary, usually we live in a harmonic relationship with microbes on our skin. According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Purvisha Patel, founder of Visha Skincare, we live in a symbiotic relationship with most microbes.
“We have bacteria, fungi and even mites that live on us and inside us,” says Dr. Patel. “These microbes generally do not cause us any problems unless there is an overgrowth of one particular organism that can lead to infection and stimulate our immune systems to react to the skin”
Karen Asquith, national director of education at G.M. Collin Skin Care, added that not everyone has the same types of microbes on their skin. “The skin microbiome varies based on many factors such as its location, skin moisture, oil content, and light exposure to name a few,” says Asquith. “Research has also discovered that the skin microbiome extends into the lower layers of the skin, not just on the surface as was once thought.”
While there are various types of microbes and many things they do for and on the skin, we’ve compiled a list of just a few of the things you should know about microbes and a few products you can use to make sure your skin continues to live in perfect peace with these small organisms.
Microbes Can Cause Acne
Bacteria on the skin called Propionibacterium acnes (known as P. Acnes), can block and clog pores, resulting in inflammation and acne. While P. Acnes are ever-present on the skin, bacteria build-up is what causes the inflammation. It’s important to keep pores clear. Try: AcneFree Sensitive Skin 24 Hour Acne Clearing System, $14
Microbes Can Cause Dandruff
Two different types of bacteria are major culprits to dandruff. Propionibacterium and Staphylococcus are the top causes of flaky dandruff. Using tea tree oil will not only restore the moisture stripped by bacteria, but it will also help restore balance between your scalp and microbes. Try: Shea Moisture Tea Tree 100% Pure Essential Oil, $9
Microbes Can Trigger Folliculitis And Shaving Bumps
Folliculitis is the inflammation of the hair follicle and can present itself on the skin in the form of red or white bumps. This itchy (and it’s most extreme, blistery) condition is caused by the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Use caution while shaving, and make sure to use a moisturizer directly after shaving skin. Try: Visha Skincare Rejuvenating Moisturizer, $55
Microbes Contribute To Wrinkles And Crow’s Feet
We know that wrinkles are caused by the deterioration of elasticity in our skin as we age. However, did you know some people have more wrinkles than others due to excessive microbes on their skin? This overgrowth can cause a more rapid and more extreme breakdown of the dermis, causing deeper and more abundant wrinkles. Try: Peach & Lily Pure Beam Luxe Oil, $39