How Skincare Affects Your Microbiome

Eleanor King

Did you know that skin is the largest organ in the body? Skincare is always a hot topic, and understanding the important role bacteria play in keeping your skin happy can help your skin be its healthiest. But what is your skin microbiome and why do the products you use make such a difference in your skin’s ability to protect itself? We dive into this and more below. 

What is your skin microbiome?


Similar to the gut, the skin has billions of beneficial microorganisms living in it, known as skin flora. This is what makes up the skin microbiome. This ecosystem lives on the skin and works to keep it clean, healthy, and in good condition. Different parts of your body have different skin flora, such as your face versus your legs or your hands versus your feet. Skin flora is impacted by your lifestyle, diet, where you live, and even genetics. 

The diversity of the skin flora is what provides the microbiome with its ability to adapt to different climates and situations. When the diversity of skin flora drops, it can become obvious by the way your skin looks and feels. Dry patches, redness, and breakouts can be signs that your microbiome is out of balance. While the vast majority of skin flora aren’t well known or studied yet, it’s clear that they benefit more than just your skin. 

More details are emerging about the many benefits of the skin microbiome, but one of the clear benefits is its ability to protect your skin barrier. The skin microbiome plays an important role in how your skin looks and feels. It protects your skin from harmful organisms, balances the pH, and produces nutrients to nourish your skin. When the skin microbiome is out of balance, it can be linked to skin conditions such as dermatitis, acne, and eczema.

How do I support my skin microbiome?


One of the top ways to keep your skin microbiome healthy is to keep your gut healthy due to their gut-skin axis–the connection between the skin and the gut. This might seem obvious to those who find themselves breaking out after eating gluten or dairy, but it’s now becoming more well known and directly linked to other skin conditions. 

Here are a few top ways to support your skin microbiome:

  • Drink plenty of water 
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet
  • Add in prebiotics and probiotics to your routine
  • Don’t overwash your skin 
  • Don’t use harsh soaps and skincare products that contain sulfates and detergents
  • Use products that include aloe vera, coconut, and other natural ingredients
  • Moisturize regularly 
  • Manage stress
  • Exercise regularly to help improve blood flow to your skin

Generally, overall health plays a role in all aspects of your body’s ability to function correctly. People who are stressed or who are eating unhealthy foods might find that their skin microbiome starts to fall out of balance. Getting that “healthy glow” comes from more than just applying moisturizer everyday. 

What skincare products are beneficial to my microbiome? 


Since many of the skin flora live in or on your skin, the skincare you choose to use plays a role in their ability to do their jobs. Finding the right products for your skin is important in keeping your microbiome happy. Depending on where you live, your diet, and genetics, the skincare you need might be different than the skincare your friend needs. Even so, there are a few key things to keep in mind when looking for skincare products that benefit your microbiome. 

When it comes to creating a microbiome-friendly skincare routine, consider what ingredients your skin needs. Fatty acids for strength, vitamin E for UV protection and antioxidants, and many other natural ingredients are key things to look for in your skincare products. These can be found in moisturizers, cleansers, and sprays. 

Topical probiotics are also a great way to give your skin microbiome some love. Several skincare lines are now creating products that have live probiotics added to them. This area is still small, as the skin microbiome is a relatively new concept and is gaining traction in it’s importance. You can find topical probiotics in moisturizers, sprays, and even some cleansers for an affordable price from respected and eco-friendly brands. 

Here are six KIWI picks microbiome-friendly skincare products: 

A healthy skin microbiome means more than just clear, glowing skin. Embracing your skin microbiome is important in caring for your body. Instead of being grossed out by the billions of little life forms helping you every day, you need to celebrate them and care for them to keep your body in balance.