What is the Microbiome?
“The billions of microbes living on you are called your skin microbiome. These microorganisms (sometimes called skin flora) are harmless or even beneficial—playing a vital role in your immune system and skin appearance.”-Askthescientists.com
The skin’s microbiome is your body’s first line of defense against injury and illness. The healthy flora and microbes on your skin surround and feast on harmful bacteria and pathogens the body picks up during a normal day. The skin’s sebum, which offers added hydration to this skin is filled with healthy flora as well.
During winter months in the Northern Hemisphere, the air can be more cold and dry, causing strain in the skin microbiome. Hot showers, and baths can also be stripping to the skin, weakening the microbiome. Harsh bath and body products can damage the microbiome by drying out sebum.
How to protect your skin's Microbiome during the winter months:
- Eat healthy and stay hydrated- Fruits and vegetables are loaded with healthy fiber and vitamins to maintain a healthy gut, while upping your hydrations levels keeping your skin supported.
- Be mindful of inflammatory foods- Sugar, caffeine and alcohol effects the circulation of blood in your skin, creating redness and irritation. Dairy, gluten, and other inflammatory food can effect the good flora on the skin and in the gut as well.
- Take care of your gut- the flora in your gut effects your total body wellness, including your skin. It’s your full body microbiome and it’s health directly correlates to your skin’s health as well.
- Be smart about hand sanitizers and harsh soaps that strip your skin causing dryness, irritation, cracking, and sometimes infection.
- Get the blood flowing- your body detoxes through your pores. Getting the blood pumping through exercise will help move toxins through your body and out of your pores, keeping your whole body healthy.
Swap the hot showers and harsh products with these Self-care, healthy skin rituals:
While the idea of a soothing hot shower after a long day sounds like the perfect form os self-care, hot water temperatures can be stripping to the skin. When this happens, not only does the skin feel dry and itchy, but the healthy flora can be compromised, along with your skin’s immune system. Instead, try warming up with a cup of turmeric tea under a fluffy blanket. The turmeric will help heal any inflammation in your body, while taking a moment to relax will help soothe your nervous system which helps to promote better sleep and healthy immune systems.
While hot water can be harmful to your skin, try my favorite nightly shower routine that is relaxing, luxurious, and will keep your skin hydrated, glowing, and healthy all winter long:
Before getting in the shower, I do a full body dry brushing. I start at my feet and work my way up my body using gentle pressure. This stimulates the circulatory and lymphatic system which detoxifies the body. Dry brushing also helps to do a gentle manual exfoliation which will help to open my pores. I make sure to sweep up my legs towards my groin, then up my torso and arms towards my underarms.
Stepping in to the shower, I make sure the temperature is warm, but not hot. I generally pin my hair back when I’m in the shower, choosing to wash it only 1-2 times a week. I wash my body with a perfume free, labia friendly body wash. The more natural and gentle the cleanser, the better.
I love to take a moment win the shower to meditate, and offer gratitude while standing under the warm water. Quiet time alone with your thoughts is just as important when It comes to self care as the shower it’s self.
One to two nights a week I will skip the dry brushing, and instead exfoliate with a sugar scrub I make using Granulated sugar (organic), Olive oil and/or sesame oil, and whatever essential oil i feel like, usually lavender and eucalyptus.d
After rinsing, I do a quick pat dry with a towel, leaving a little moisture on my skin to keep my pores open, allowing my skin to better absorb the lotion I put on it. Again, I choose something more natural without dyes and perfumes which will irritate and dry out my skin. Fyve Beauty is an awesome brand, their light body oil and whipped body butters soak right in! not only that, but they are vegan, cruelty free, and use only 5 ingredients per product. I always let the lotion absorb fully before getting my pajamas on, so it stays on my skin rather than absorbing into my clothing.
A nice golden milk latte and snuggles with my partner on the couch is the perfect way to wind down after a soothing shower. Try this shower routine out
Less is More
When it comes to skin-care steps, and product ingredients while supporting a healthy microbiome, remember that Less is more.
Keep bathing ritual the steps short but sweet, paying more attention to the energy surrounding the self-care and intention behind it.
Keep the ingredients list short as well. Choose brands with plant based ingredients rather than a list of alcohols on the label. Add healthy fats and plenty of water to your diet to support your cells from the inside out. Be kind to yourself and get plenty of rest. Your skin will continue it’s healthy glow all winter long.