You are only 40% human – the rest of you, the 60%, is microbes. The human microbiome (or human microbiota) is the collection of microorganisms which live on us. The skin is the largest organ in the body and is host to probably the most diverse range of microbes in the human body. Don’t worry, this is perfectly normal!
The bacteria that inhabit the skin are not uniformly distributed across the body, but even the deepest layers of dead tissue and the living tissue below the epidermis harbour a microbial community. There are thought to be 100 trillion microbes living on the human body inhabiting the microbiome.
Scary? Not at all! These microbes are vital for your skin health. Don’t take our word for it, here is a recent article from the BBC titled “More than half your body is not human“!
The rest are microscopic colonists... they are essential for your health.
We have seen an enormous and terrifying increase in allergy.
This hidden half of ourselves - our microbiome - is transforming our understanding of allergy...
It is well known that microbes in the gut need to be encouraged, not destroyed, but exactly the same applies to the skin. Just like every ecosystem across nature, a high biodiversity corresponds to healthy skin [ref: Published Paper, Kit Wallen Russell]. Contrary to common belief, the vast majority of microbes on the skin, are beneficial (or harmless), and some only become pathogenic or ‘bad’ when the natural balance is disturbed, and the microbial biodiversity is decreased.
The individual microbes themselves aren’t harmful, but can become so if your skin microbiome is weakened (lowers its biodiversity). We believe that use of normal cosmetic products containing many synthetic ingredients can lower the biodiversity [ref: The Skin Allergy Epidemic]. This could lead to pathogenic bacterial, viral and fungal growth with long term immune system and allergy problems.
Most common skin problems have been directly linked to low skin biodiversity, including acne, eczema, dermatitis, Psoriasis, Inflammation and even skin cancer! [ref. Diseases linked with low Skin Biodiversity]
The most important thing is to restore and protect your skin’s natural environment and biodiversity. We need to stop thinking we need to ‘clean’ our skin of all the ‘bad’ microbes!