Skin Health & the Role of Your Skin Microbiome



In order to understand what role the skin microbiome plays in the health of your skin, it is crucial to understand what it is.


Skin Microbiome


The skin microbiome refers to the collection of the genome from all the microorganisms that sit on the surface of your skin. For the skin microbiome to be healthy, the bacteria that live on the surface of the skin need to be in harmony with one another. No single bacteria can dominate another. For this balance to be struck is extremely difficult when you don’t know that you have to maintain it. Factors such as your environment, the level of pollution, UV rays, the products you use, and even your gut health can have an impact on your skin microbiome.


This delicate ecosystem of bacteria strived to protect your skin and body from pathogens that can cause you to develop irritation, acne, sensitivity, and other skin conditions, therefore it is imperative to nurture it.


3 Layers of Skin


Under the skin microbiome, there are three layers of skin tissue. You’ve probably already heard of these in your biology classes, but let’s refresh.


  1. Epidermis: the outermost layer creates our skin tone and acts as a waterproof layer.

  2. Dermis: the middle layer contains hair follicles and sweat glands.

  3. Hypodermis: deeper layer made of connective tissue and fat that stores energy and insulated the body


Each of these layers has its own function, but all work towards the same goal: protecting your skin from harmful things. If any of these layers are damaged, your overall skin health will also be impaired.


What is Healthy Skin?


Dermatologists and experts alike have grappled with the question of what makes healthy skin for decades. The answer to the question can be boiled down into three key elements if you are measuring your own skin:


  1. Touch: the texture of the skin when you run your fingers over it.

  2. Look: how it appears to you when you look at it in the mirror or in pictures.

  3. Perception: the overall feeling you have towards your own skin. We tend to judge our own skin harsher than anyone else will.


For the most part, the metrics to gauge healthy skin have been linked to our own reflections of it. No one ever wonders if their skin is healthy if they do not struggle with something (sensitivity, dryness, oiliness, irritation, eczema, rosacea, etc.).


However, in recent years tests have been developed that can scientifically measure skin health. Before diving into these tests, let’s look deeper at the role of the skin microbiome on skin health.


The Role of the Skin Microbiome


When looking at the skin microbiome, it is crucial to understand that it is not a linear impact, instead, it’s more of a two-way relationship that changes. A balanced skin microbiome contributes to healthy skin barrier functions and healthy skin nurtures a more balanced skin microbiome.


Based on the understanding of this concept, we are able to quantify skin health by looking primarily at the skin microbiome and whether or not the bacteria that live on the skin are well balanced.


As a result, companies, such as Sequential Skin have created their innovative adhesive patch test, which is designed to collect the bacteria from any person and evaluate the sample to give you a score on your skin microbiome balance index.


This measure can allow you to quantify your skin health and aim toward making it better over time.


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Lexicon


Skin Microbiome: refers to the collection of the genome from all the microorganisms that sit on the surface of your skin.


Bacteria: bacteria are single-cell organisms that live everywhere on earth, including on the surface of the skin.


Bacteria: bacteria are single-cell organisms that live everywhere on earth, including on the surface of the skin.


Microorganisms: microscopic organisms that are found all around us and even inside our bodies. Also known as microbes, microorganisms include a massive range of organisms such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses.



Reference list


Byrd, A.L., Belkaid, Y. and Segre, J.A. (2018). The human skin microbiome. Nature Reviews Microbiology, [online] 16(3), pp.143–155. doi:10.1038/nrmicro.2017.157.

Sfriso, R., Egert, M., Gempeler, M., Voegeli, R. and Campiche, R. (2020). Revealing the secret life of skin ‐ with the microbiome you never walk alone. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 42(2), pp.116–126. doi:10.1111/ics.12594.


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