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The Cult Beauty guide to your skin’s microbiome

A close up of a woman's face as she holds a bottle of cleanser from Good Light

Cast your mind back to the good old days of noughties’ TV adverts. Alongside drumming gorillas and insurance-savvy meerkats, you may remember lots of chatter around a happy and healthy gut — and the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria responsible for it (drinkable yoghurt, anyone?). As it turns out that very same bacteria-based science actually applies to the health of your skin too. Welcome to {skin care} for your skin’s microbiome...

What is the skin microbiome?

“Invisible to the naked eye, the microbiome is the protective layer on your skin that houses millions of microorganisms (from bacteria to fungi to years) called the skin flora,” explains consultant dermatologist Dr Ophelia Veraitch. “In healthy skin, these microorganisms are balanced. However an imbalance can be the cause of many chronic skin conditions, including eczema, acne and rosacea.”

Yes, we know that thinking about the trillions of teeny-tiny living organisms on your skin is a bit strange, but keeping your skin’s microbiome in good check could be the secret to your glowiest complexion yet. Alongside the acid mantle and lipid barrier, the microbiome forms the skin barrier, which is the protective shield that keeps skin’s hydration levels steady, protects against infection and inflammation, and generally allows skin to stay in top-top condition. 
How do I look after my skin microbiome?
Of course, as with anything in skin care, there’s no one size fits all approach to a healthy microbiome, but as Dr Ophelia adds, the secret is an environment that allows the ‘good’ microorganisms to thrive.

"If we don't look after our skin properly, it can cause certain bacteria to overgrow and trigger an unwanted reaction or condition within the skin,” she says. 

So what is the secret to maintaining the kind of environment in which a healthy, balanced microbiome can flourish? It’s as easy as indulging your skin with moisture barrier-loving, pH balanced products, packed with the pro-, pre- and postbiotics needed to nourish your complexion. Here are five our favourites...Cultured's Biome One MaskCultured's {Biome One Mask

Cultured’s ethos is all about skin care that works with your skin rather than simply on it — and this weekly mask is no exception. pH balanced and packed with pre- and postbiotics that nurture the health of your microbiome, the jelly-like formula calls on succinic, lactic and malic acids to gently resurface skin for a brighter complexion without irritation. Goodbye dullness, hello a natural, lit-from-within glow. 

Skingredients' {Preprobiotic Cleanser}

A creamy cleanser that nourishes skin, removes even the toughest of eye make up and also doubles up as multi-tasking mask? Sign us up! This vegan formula feeds and nourishes skin as it detoxifies your complexion, thanks to a balanced plate of topical probiotics, vitamins, good fats and proteins, all of which work together to strengthen your microbiome (and keep skin soft and glowy).

Galinee ToothpasteGallinée's {Prebiotic Toothpaste}

Proving all that good bacteria isn't just for your skin, this prebiotic toothpaste marks the future of oral care as it brings the brand’s biotic brilliance to your teeth-cleaning ritual. This vegan formula — complete with a refreshing mint and verbena flavour — uses prebiotics to balance bacteria levels in your mouth, warding against plaque, preventing cavities and neutralising damaging acids to keep your teeth safe from decay while preventing bad breath. 

The Nue Co.'s {Barrier Culture Moisturizer}

If you’re all about looking after your microbiome in order to restore skin’s natural defences and fight the dehydrating, dulling effects pollution, cold weather or UV damage can have, this pH-balanced moisturiser is a must-have in your routine. The Nue Co.’s innovative microbiome-rebuilding technology repairs your skin’s moisture barrier repairing the skin barrier via prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics – all working in tandem to give you balanced, smooth, calm and happy skin. 

good light's {Cosmic Dew Cleanser}

Incredibly gentle and yet impressively effective when it comes to ridding your skin of the day’s build up of make up, oil and dirt, this gel-to-foam cleanser is all about relieving sensitised and sensitive skin by restoring it back to good health. Alongside beloved hydrators like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, the formula optimises skin function with fructooligosaccharides, a prebiotic that supports your microbiome and reduces inflammation.  

Chloe Lawrance
Chloe Lawrance Writer and expert

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