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Hautpflege

All about the skin flora

The skin flora consists of the tiny microorganisms that maintain the natural balance on your skin's surface. It protects and keeps your skin healthy. In recent years, this skin flora has increasingly become the focus of research, mostly under the title "skin microbiome". Here we take a look at what the tiny helpers do and how you can restore the skin flora when your skin is out of balance.

restore skin flora

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Strengthening the skin flora should be the goal of every natural skin care product. And we don't have to do much because your skin has all the important abilities to protect and regenerate. But all too often we overdo it with well-intentioned skin care and interfere with these natural processes with care products. Products that kill germs then also get rid of a large part of the beneficial and even important bacteria in the skin flora . In this way, this sensitive balance is repeatedly disturbed and endangers the health of the skin.

🔬 Bacteria and fungi used to be considered plants, hence the older term skin flora. Today we mostly talk about the skin microbiome.

A weakened microbiome can lead to all sorts of skin problems or even skin diseases. It is associated with acne and neurodermatitis, among other things. But now to the basics.

Skin flora, what is that actually?

The skin flora is formed at birth. It includes all the microorganisms that form a natural part of healthy skin. This includes a variety of bacteria and fungi that densely colonize the surface of your skin. They live symbiotically with you and help rid your skin of harmful germs. It is divided into:

  • Resident skin flora: The germs that belong to it live permanently on your skin and have a protective effect.
  • Transient skin flora: These include, for example, pathogens that come from outside and actually have no place on your skin.

The resident skin flora is therefore your skin 's protective shield . Maybe you know the cleaner fish from nature documentaries, the larger conspecifics that clean the scales. This keeps them healthy. If someone were to fish out all the cleaner fish in the reef, the natural balance would be severely disturbed. Parasites would multiply unhindered. Neither can your skin do without its microscopic cleaning crew. It protects your skin and body from infection.

The preservation of the skin flora is therefore becoming more and more important, especially in medical research . The main focus here is on the use of antibiotics and disinfectants. It has been found that both not only eliminate the unwanted germs, but also reduce the good bacteria in the microbiome and thus the microbial composition cannot be improved in the long term.

If you promote the good germs instead, the skin climate improves sustainably and the bad germs have less chance of settling. Instead of sanitizing the skin with harsh ingredients, experts advise boosting the natural flora .

restore skin flora

Ecosystems usually function better the less we interfere. Therefore, when it comes to preserving and restoring the skin flora, less is more . how does it look in action?

  • facial cleansing
    Do without aggressive agents in daily cleaning. And adjust the cleaning according to the degree of "dirt". If you haven't worn makeup or sunscreen, for example at your morning cleanse , there's less to remove. Then lukewarm water is enough. Sunscreen and make-up, on the other hand, must be removed thoroughly in the evening. Use either a gentle wash lotion or our FIVE make-up remover .
  • cleaning the body
    Use mild shower gel and shampoo and use it sparingly. By that I mean not only the amount, but also the places you use it. Legs, for example, don't usually get so dirty every day that they always have to be lathered. Especially since the skin dries out quickly here. It is best to shower briefly and only lukewarm.
  • care products
    Reduce your care routine to a few products with few ingredients. A good moisturizer in the morning and in the evening as well as sunscreen are mandatory. In addition, your skin can do without most of it. So this is where the balance comes in.

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The skin flora, important protection against diseases

You are surrounded by a complete ecosystem that protects you from infectious and skin diseases. What does it take to stay intact? As little intervention as possible . Experts attach increasing importance to the skin microbiome. It is therefore worth taking a critical look at your own care habits. Are they making life difficult for these important symbiotes? Then it's time to change something. Be gentle with your skin, that makes it strong for your protection.

🌟 Our article on minimalist skin care tells you how you can simplify your care routine , feel free to browse!

All the best!
Your Anna


Questions and answers about the skin flora

Does cleaning destroy the skin flora?

In the last year we have gotten used to the important AHA rule, including washing our hands or disinfecting them regularly. But what does that do to the skin microbiome? There is bad news and good news here. The bad first: Degreasing soaps and washing gels impair the hydrolipidic layer . This can contribute to dry and sensitive skin - so it affects the self-protection of your skin. It is therefore important to give it back moisture and lipids for regeneration through care.

And now the good news: you do not destroy the skin flora itself by cleaning. It does indeed effectively eliminate the transient, i.e. non-body germs that cavort on the surface. However, enough of the resident, i.e. necessary, microbes remain. 20% of these are located far down on the hair follicles. 1 Soap and hand sanitizer don't come close. This leaves you with a reservoir from which your skin flora can regenerate in a few hours.

👍 Note : By disinfecting or washing, you primarily remove the germs that are foreign to the skin. Enough of the skin's own remains to restore your skin's protective layer.

Can cosmetics damage my skin flora?

The surface of the skin is naturally slightly acidic with a pH value of just under 5. This is why we also speak of the skin's protective acid mantle. Cosmetics can now change the pH value and thus influence the skin flora. Because the pH value decides which microbes thrive and which die. Studies show that the skin's own pH value is not at all comfortable with many harmful germs. The useful microorganisms, on the other hand, feel right at home. 2 If care products throw your skin's milieu out of balance, it weakens it twice over: Firstly, unwanted microbes thrive better and secondly, the good ones become too weak to fight them off.

Not all care products are pH skin neutral. Sometimes a deviation is even wanted, as with fruit acid or enzyme peelings. Here, the pH value must be lower for them to be effective. Other products, such as soaps, are fundamentally alkaline. They have a pH of 8 or 9.

The pH value of the skin levels off again over time . So there is nothing wrong with washing your hands with soap. It only becomes problematic with permanently elevated pH values. Skin diseases are usually associated with it.

Sources

1 https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hautflora

2 Lambers et al. 2006: Natural skin surface pH is on average below 5, which is beneficial for its resident flora https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-2494.2006.00344.x

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