At some point in the not so distant past, a new buzzword began to be whispered by those in the know in the beauty world. Microbiome. Or more specifically, the skin microbiome. In no time at all this term seemed to jump from micro scientific research circles to the mainstream scrutiny of social media with the same ease with which a flower opens its petals. But is it all just hype or should we really be using microbiome friendly skincare?
Although the skin’s microbiome is at the forefront of many beauty brands’ recent marketing campaigns, research has shown there’s a direct link between a balanced microbiome and skin health. This link is of great importance for clean beauty brands, honest formulators and skin-conscious consumers as they know only too well the consequences of a weakened skin barrier function (due to excessive aggressive exfoliation or poorly chosen products, for example).
But what is the skin microbiome and why is it so important?
You are not alone. Our skin’s microbiome is made up of billions of beneficial bacteria and fungi. These microorganisms, for want of a better description, are like little soldiers that keep the skin’s immune system safe and prevent pathogenic attacks (such as acne-causing bacteria). If our microbiome’s careful balance is disrupted, its barrier function is weakened and the skin becomes vulnerable. This is associated with dryness, breakouts and even rosacea.
Taking care of your skin’s microbiome is one of the main aims of the Clean Beauty movement. Pamper, preserve and balance your epidermal microbiome, are the three mantras on repeat needed to achieve the greatest beauty goal of all; Healthy skin.
“The concept of a healthy skin barrier has been one of the main philosophies of Twelve Beauty from the beginning,” confirms Pedro Catalá, “Because of this, one of the ingredients that I usually include in my formulas is saccharide isomerate. For example, you can find it in Ideal Moisture Level Serum, Ideal Rebalancing Level Serum, Essential Bio-Technological Moisturiser or Ultra Revitalising Elixir. Saccharide isomerate works to keep non-beneficial microorganisms, such as the Malassezia furfur fungus, at bay while increasing the synthesis of key skin barrier proteins, such as loricrin, filaggrin and some types of ceramides.”
What’s more, Saccharide isomerate is a multi-beneficial active ingredient as it also retains water, keeping the skin hydrated longer than usual (compared to other standard moisturising ingredients). Recent studies also confirm that including Saccharide isomerate-rich skincare products in your daily beauty routine also reduces levels of the coryneform bacteria (Brevibacterium casei and Rothia mucilaginosa), which are known to cause skin infections. A clear must-have for strong, healthy skin.
Antioxidant Burst Shower Gel, a botanical alternative to classic shower gels, is another microbiome friendly skincare product from Twelve Beauty. Sulphate-free and rich in not only Saccharide isomerate but also antioxidants and biodegradable amino acids makes it is an excellent choice for keeping your skin’s ecosystem in perfect balance when hitting the shower.
The importance of pre, pro and post in microbiome friendly skincare
“The key lies in taking good care of your skin using products rich in antioxidants to protect against external stressors. What’s more, the pH of your products should be around 5, so as not to disrupt the careful balance of your skin’s microbiome,” explains Pedro. “Ingredients that boost the growth of beneficial bacteria are called prebiotics, as opposed to probiotics, where microorganisms are added to a product, or postbiotics, which are bacterial by-products, like lactic acid or hyaluronic acid for example.”
Twelve Beauty has an excellent post-biotic: Essential Bio-Technological Moisturiser, which contains an optimal concentration of the purest hyaluronic acid. Here the hyaluronic acid creates a protective film that helps to preserve the most important characteristics of healthy skin, such as flexibility, elasticity and even skin tone.
However, it’s the “pre”-biotics that are the most sought-after nutritious ingredients in the world of microbiome friendly skincare. One such ingredient is Epilobium extract.
This powerhouse, skin microbiome friendly wonder reduces inflammation (redness and irritation) by reducing the levels of non-beneficial bacteria (such as Staphylococcus capitis, Corynebacterium kroppenstedtii, and Corynebacterium tuberculostearicum). Furthermore, it improves skin’s natural defences by boosting the growth of beneficial microorganisms such as Staphylococcus epidermidis, Staphylococcus hominis and Micrococcus yunnanensis.
Where to find Epilobium extract? Although it’s found in several Twelve products, their stand-out formula is Ideal Rebalancing Level Serum. This microbiome friendly skincare product is not only rich in Epilobium, but it also works to balance sebum production, minimise pore size and strengthen skin barrier function. Here’s to healthy skin for longer.