By Sam Wallen Russell (MPhys), Kit Wallen Russell (MSci) & Dr. Gavin Anwell
Unlocking the secret of the hidden, microbial world of the skin surface, Microbiota Immune Response Regulation (MIRR)™ technology is the game changing science behind the World’s First Ever 100% Truly Natural Face and Body Wash with its ability to empower, NOT change, the skin’s natural environment.
Based on State-of-the-art Microbiological & Immunological research, MIRR™ technology is the secret behind all JooMo® products and their ability to protect against the destructive work of harmful synthetic chemicals and opportunistic pathogenic (‘harmful’) microbes.
Research at some of the top European Universities led to the first version of this Skin Microbiome Technology, while groundbreaking trials at the Medical University of Graz, have enabled JooMo to further enhance their world leading Skin Microbiome friendly technology, and led to the Enhanced Skin Microbiome Plus+ technology.
So, what is an autoimmune disease?
About the only fact that Researchers agree on is that skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis are all autoimmune diseases. This means that they are all caused by an overactive immune system, launching an inflammatory response against your own body.
When the immune system functions properly, it protects the body against any invaders that might make you sick, such as bacteria, viruses or other pathogens. But in people with these autoimmune diseases, the immune system goes into action even without these outside invaders. Instead, the immune system fights the body’s own tissues.
So to treat this problem, medical researchers tended to focus on solutions that suppresses the immune system, hence the widespread prescribing of topical steroids and other immunosuppresants such as cyclosporin.
The problem here though is that not only do these treatments fail to deal with the underlying problem, long term use can damage the skin further and cause systemic disruption.
So the question is: why does your immune system – which is built to keep you healthy – behave in this way? What is the underlying cause?
It has long been known that an activated immune system and a defective skin barrier are both important factors in conditions such as eczema/atopic dermatitis (AD). Although symptoms mostly involve the skin, an allergic immune response has long been recognized as an important component of this and other allergic skin diseases.
The skin’s epidermis contains epithelial cells, immune cells, and microbes which provides a physical and functional barrier to the protection of human skin. It plays critical roles in preventing environmental allergen penetration into the human body and responsing to microbial pathogens. Skin barrier dysfunction is the initial step in the development of diseases such as AD. Multiple factors, including immune dysregulation, filaggrin mutations, deficiency of antimicrobial peptides, and skin dysbiosis contribute to skin barrier defects.
Once your skin barrier is weakened, your immune system becomes highly sensitive and can react to even the smallest allergens or irritants. This can cause inflammation underneath your skin, which may lead to frequent flare-ups. So rashes on the surface are just the visible signs of a deeper inflammatory disease.
Inflammation is key part of the body’s immune response and is caused by a number of physical reactions triggered by the immune system in response to a physical injury or an infection.
Three main processes occur before and during acute inflammation:
Acute Inflammation normally only persists for a few days while the immune system deals with the injury or infection.
Allergic diseases, such as respiratory, cutaneous, and food allergy, have dramatically increased in prevalence over the last few decades, and recent research points to a central role of the microbiome, which is highly influenced by multiple environmental and dietary factors.
Microbes make up part of the skin barrier, which, together with a person’s innate immunity, combine to form a delicate balance needed to maintain healthy skin. If this balance is disturbed, the host becomes more susceptible to inflammatory diseases and cutaneous infections
Our microbiome, the collective noun for the estimated 100tn microbes (bacteria, fungi etc) that live throughout our bodies, internally and externally, not only form protective barriers, they also programme our immune systems. Some of these microbes compete with pathogens (including viruses) for food and space, and also produce antimicrobial chemicals.
Interaction of microorganisms with the host immune system is required for a healthy body – animals bred with no microbiome have less well developed immune responses. Older people, and those with diseases that are characterised by inflammation, such as allergies, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes, tend to have less varied microbiomes.
Exposure to microorganisms from the moment we are born and appropriate microbiome assembly during childhood are essential for establishing an active immune system necessary to prevent disease later in life. Exposure to microorganisms educates the immune system, induces adaptive immunity and initiates memory B and T cells that are essential to combat various pathogens. The correct microbial-based education of immune cells may be critical in preventing the development of autoimmune diseases and cancer.
So while it is well established that the microbiome can modulate the immune response – from cellular development to organ and tissue formation exerting its effects through multiple interactions with both the innate and acquired branches of the immune system – its function and dynamics during healthy and disease states are still not fully understood. It is also not fully understood how the microbiome interacts with the host immunity thereby preventing autoimmunity. The ‘hygiene hypothesis’ postulates that the lack of early exposure to microorganisms (either beneficial or pathogenic) would lead to the poor development of the immune system. The leading idea is that some microorganisms that co-evolved with us are able to protect against a large spectrum of immune-related disorders.
Changes in environment (eg. changes in diet or daily contact with chemical allergens) can produce dysbiosis (an overgrowth of microbes) in the gut, the skin, or lung microbiome, inducing both qualitative and quantitative changes in immune response and metabolic activity. Bacterial dysbiosis is associated with most chronic inflammatory disorders of the skin, such as atopic dermatitis (AD) and psoriasis.
Researchers across many fields of biology and ecology agree that a high biodiversity corresponds to increased healthiness and functionality within an ecosystem. And the skin is no exception, for when it comes to healthy skin, microbial biodiversity is everything – that was a conclusion of JooMo’s first research paper on the skin microbiome.
Research into the gut microbiome is much more extensive than that for the skin, and nearly all researchers now conclude that a healthy gut microbiome is a diverse microbiome. JooMo’s research decided to look at whether our skin microbiota could similarly be used as an indicator of skin health. Our research illustrated how microbiota diversity alone can predict whether skin is healthy or not, after we revealed a complete lack of conclusive findings linking the presence or abundance of particular species of microbe to skin problems.
A catastrophic microbial diversity loss observed in the human gut microbiome in developed countries has been attributed to exposure to Western world practices. Consequently, there has been a rapid increase in food allergies in the last 75 years. The same applies for skin allergies, where the rate of deterioration has accelerated in the past 5–10 years, leading to some labelling it a skin allergy epidemic. Multiple environmental factors are suggested to be contributing to this, but it has been increasingly linked to synthetic additives in cosmetics. The exposure of normal, Western skin to twenty-first-century cosmetics, soap, antibiotics, and steroids, does appear to have altered the natural microbiota environment of humans, especially in the developed world.
Our research showed how ‘Caveman’ skin, untouched by modern civilisation, was far different to “western” skin and displayed unprecedented levels of bacterial diversity. The less exposed communities were to western practices, the higher the skin diversity, which is clear evidence of an environmental factor in the developed world damaging skin. This gives us the ability to be able to predict which people are more likely to be prone to skin ailments, and start to test whether cosmetic ingredients and long term use of modern medicines are a main cause of the skin allergy epidemic.
One reason why synthetic chemical ingredients found in everyday cosmetics may be causing a severe autoimmune response is because while natural cosmetic ingredients are not seen as “alien” by our immune system, synthetic ingredients by contrast – which have only been encountered by humans in the last 60-100 years of their 200,000+ years of existence – are still regarded as hostile by our immune system. This environmental change, in many cases, has been linked to increased susceptibility to disease and infection. Research into the skin microbiome lags far behind that of the gut, where it is common knowledge that unbalanced, non-diverse gut flora is causally linked with many health problems. Preservation and encouragement, not destruction, of the intestinal microflora is now known to be essential for overall health. The crucial role that the skin plays in overall health is only just being realised.
So what are the processes involved that make biodiversity so key to skin health?
Each person is inhabited and also surrounded by his/her own signature microbial cloud. A low diversity of microorganisms is associated with a plethora of diseases including allergy, diabetes, obesity, arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases and even neuropsychiatric disorders.
A natural equilibrium within the skin cell environment, including skin microbiota, is vital in preserving the tissue homeostasis and local immunity. Skin is a dynamic organ and this vast and complex system of cells interacting in synergy with each other, right down to the smallest level needs to be preserved, enhanced and protected.
To maximise the efficiency of the immune system, ‘natural’ skin uses many complex interlinked techniques to create the most efficient environment. The following is just a very small example of the main protective processes involved:
» It has been shown that an acid skin pH (4-4.5) keeps the resident bacterial flora (‘good bacteria’) attached to the skin, whereas an alkaline pH (8-9) promotes their dispersal from the skin.
» Sebaceous glands secrete the oily, waxy substance called sebum, a hydrophobic coating that protects and lubricates the skin and hair and provides an antibacterial shield. Sebum promotes the growth of bacteria such as Propionibacterium acnes, which, by hydrolyzing the fats and oils present in sebum, releases free fatty acids thereby contributing to the maintenance of the acidic skin pH.
» Eccrine sweat glands are the main sweat glands of the human body, found in virtually all skin. They produce a clear, odorless substance, consisting primarily of water, salt (NaCl) and other electrolytes which work to acidify the skin. On the whole, the result of this process is a cool, dry, and slightly acidic envronment that plays a major role in limiting the composition of pathogenic microbial colonies that can survive and proliferate.
» Furthermore, eccrine sweat glands express several antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), including cathelicidin and β-defensins, and produces a powerful natural antibiotic called dermcidin. Thus, the density of eccrine sweat glands impacts microbial colonization of the skin.
As discussed, use of everyday cosmetic products (including soaps) and long term use of modern topical medicines have profound detrimental influence on the skin barrier functions and it’s optimum environment for biodiversity including skin surface pH, the electrolyte levels, the microbial composition and sebum levels. This leads to pathogenic bacterial, viral and fungal growth with long term immune system malfunction and allergy problems. MIRR™ technology keeps the skin’s natural defences intact, and restores, rebuilds, repairs and stimulates the skin’s natural immune system by creating the correct environment for synergistic microbial biodiversity to flourish.
JooMo® are pioneering a new generation of research into this complex science to expose the cosmetics industry and change it into a research based, health preserving industry, not a deceitful, multi billion dollar cover up that is detrimental not only to the world’s health but also detrimental to our lives as a whole.