At our Face & Body Northern California spa conference that happend on Aug. 20-21, 2023, Terri Wojak, founder of Aesthetics Exposed Education, presented some of the latest trends happening with the skin microbiome in her Skin Inc. LIVE! Stage presentation.
Wojak did a deep dive into what the microbiome is, what influences it and why it's important for spa professional to understand it. When the microbiome is thrown out of whack, the unhealthy gut can affect the entire body. If the gut isn't in good health, it can go as far to affect the mental health, which becomes a viscous cycle since psychological stress can then also affect the skin.
The key jobs of the microbiome is to the body digest, absorb nutrients, develop an immune system and protect against harmful pathogens. When it comes to the skin though, the microbiome can influence skin hydration, protect from pathogens, balance the pH, assist in wound healing and maintain skin barrier.
Influencers of the Microbiome
The microbiome influences what is happening on the skin. But what influences the microbiome? Terri shared the top four influencers of the microbiome.
- Genetics. This is a major contributor to just how the skin is in a general sense.
- Diet. The diet can have a lot of influence on the skin. Sugar in the gut affects the skin, as well as high carbohydrates and high fat.
- Lifestyle. If you are overly cleansing or exfoliating, going into the sun without sunscreen, etc. these will all affect the microbiome.
- Medication. Medication is so important especially when dealing with anti-bacterial. Antibiotics can completely destroy the gut.
It's important to have a healthy gut, but what can cause a gut to become imbalanced? When it comes to what can cause damage to the microbiome, Wojak mentioned:
- UV Exposure
- Excess Exfoliation
- Harsh Cleansers
- Psychological Stress
- High Sugar Diet
Related: The Microbiome of Healthy Skin
Wojak focused a little extra on how using gentle cleansers and keeping from over exfoliating the skin, can be two factors in keeping the skin healthy. As mentioned previously though, diet really can make a huge difference between a healthy and unhealthy gut.
When people say the microbiome affects the skin, sometimes they don't realize the extent of that. An imbalanced microbiome and unhealthy gut can actually trigger skin conditions including:
- Poor wound healing;
- Skin ulcers;
- Actinic keratoses;
- Fungal infection;
- Accelerated aging;
- Squamos cell carcinoma.
Healthy Gut Healthy Skin
Prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics are an amazing way to keep the microbiome happy and healthy. Prebiotics help to promote growth of beneficial bacteria. Probiotics provide live beneficial bacteria. Postbiotics are byproducts of the metabolism of probiotics, and the enzymes can still be active.
Targeted therapies for treating the microbiome include: topical products, oral probiotics and transplantation of beneficial microorganisms. However, Wojak made it very clear that prescribiing oral probiotics is out of the estheticians scope, so they would want to recommend more for their client to discuss the option with their doctor.
Where one of the major trends of the microbiome really comes into play is with the Fecal Microbiota Transplant treatment. This treatment was actually the advancement of a Fecal Microbiota Transplant that was used for C. Diff patients. Now, it has to do with the transplantation of microbiota from healthy donors to treat the skin
Advancements are set to continue in the microbiome field, especially when it comes to these treatments. .