What affects my skin microbiome?

Many factors affect which microbes thrive on your skin.

Antibiotics (which kill bacteria) have been shown to have a lasting impact on the skin microbiome. Up to three years, in fact.

Preservatives in cosmetic products kill microbes that come into contact with the product. They also have an effect on the microbes on your skin.

How you were delivered (C-section or naturally) is important. Mothers seed their children’s skin with vaginal Lactobacillus species as they enter the world.

Daily bathing in water treated with chlorine or fluorine will make a difference to your skin microbiome.

The temperature, humidity and light that you are exposed to will shift your microbial mix. Studies have also shown that you share part of your skin microbiome with the people and pets that you live with.

For the last 2 million years we have been in constant contact with the natural world. Every day there has been a flow of microbes onto our skin from the microbiomes of the soil and plants around us. In the last hundred years, things have changed. We are the largest microbial source in the buildings that we inhabit. We are the main source of microbes in our environments now.

The best way to improve your skin microbiome is to get out into nature and interact … or at least to garden a bit.