Skin Microbiome Certified
"WOSH Facial bar met our strict criteria, meaning, it left a big part of our skin microbes at peace. It is actually very tough for a cleansing product to pass this test, so WOSH can be very proud to meet our criteria with their Facial bar"
The Human Microbiome
We are not alone. Our microbiome, per its definition is the genetic content of all microbes (bacteria, fungi and viruses) that colonize our body and outnumbers our own genes 150-fold. Our body is like a planet, and we are harboring many diverse ecosystems on our bodies. Our plant has wild forests, deserts, lakes, oceans, glaciers, swamps and many more making it so beautiful and diverse, and so are we.
These ecosystems are densely colonized with microbes and each of our ecosystems harbors different species, just as planet earth and these ecosystems strongly interact with our body. It teaches our immune system to function properly, it occupies our body against pathogenic invaders, and it nourishes our body with nutrients we aren´t able to produce ourselves. We literally would not survive without our microbiome.
Researchers have only recently started to deal with this topic and now it is slowly reaching the masses. Up to this point, we have done everything we can to get rid of the mistakenly unpopular roommates, our microbiome. In fact, only 1% of all microbes are pathogenic. Our westernized lifestyle makes us sick.
Little exercise, living indoors, eating processed food and lots of sugar, taking medication and excessive hygiene not only is bad for our body but also for our microbiome, which is part of our body and a very important key to our health. Similar to the planet’s ecosystems, we should keep our microbiota in a healthy balance, called homeostasis. The first step is to be aware that we have a microbiome that we need to handle with care.
The Skin Microbiome
When talking about the microbiome, most people might automatically think of the gut microbiome and this is where it ends. But this is a big misunderstanding. The gut microbiome has been studied most intensively over the last decades, but we now know that we are colonized in every corner of our body and our largest organ, the skin, is like a planet in itself with many diverse ecosystems.
So let´s have a closer look at that fascinating 20 m2 shell of our body. That´s right, taking the skin´s surface plus all those wrinkles, invaginations, pores, hair follicles and glands together, our skin environment offers 20 m2 space to our skin microbiome. And this space is diverse and rough for our microbes. We are facing different temperatures, different pH (very acidic overall), sebum and oxygen supply. All those different areas offer a particular living area for specific inhabitants. This already gives us an idea of the complexity of the skin and it is indeed more diverse and complex than our gut if you look at it as a landscape with different features. Just as the planet we live on, the different environments on our skin are colonized with different microbes that are best at surviving in this environment.
The Desert Region
The so-called desert regions of the skin (dry skin such as the buttocks, forearms or various regions of the hand) harbor the greatest microbial diversity, with 19 different bacterial divisions, four of which are dominant (Actinobacteria (52%), Firmicutes (24%), Proteobacteria (17%) and Bacteroidetes (7%)). There are even gram-negative bacteria, which were originally thought to be contaminants from the digestive tract. Interestingly, the phylogenetic bacterial diversity is greater on dry skin than in the mouth or digestive tract of the same person.
The Sebaceous Areas
The oily areas of the skin (sebaceous areas such as the forehead, behind the ear, the back and the nostrils) are mainly colonized by propionibacteria. These bacteria are normally harmless, merely carrying out their activity of defence against hostile settlers. However, the arrival of puberty causes a change in the chemical environment on the skin, especially on the face, due to hormonal changes. These changes lead to a battle between the immune system and propionibacteria, which manifests itself in infected sebaceous glands and thus acne.
The Moist Jungles
The moist jungles of the skin (moist areas such as the navel, armpit, butt crease, soles of the feet, bends of the knees and arms) are home to Corynebacterium and Staphylococcus. Although microbial diversity is lower in moist areas compared to dry skin areas, the density of bacteria is highest here with over 15 million bacteria in an area the size of a postage stamp.
A very important warrior of the skin is Staphylococcus epidermidis, which actively works with the skin's immune system to keep pathogenic bacteria (e.g. Staphylococcus aureus) at bay. As with all of our body's ecosystems, disruption of this symbiosis can cause disease. The skin diseases atopic dermatitis, acne vulgaris and chronic wounds are very well-known examples of such dysbiosis. In each of those fascinating ecosystems, those microbes fulfill specific tasks and all of them act as our first line of defence, as a layer on our skin, which is occupying the space, thus prevents invasion by not so healthy (pathogenic) microbes.
The skin microbiome is strongly interacting with our skin, teaching our skins immune system, supports it with nutrients and works together to building a strong barrier against pathogens and toxins. We are just beginning to understand what our skin microbiome means to our skin, but we know that a balanced microbiome is key to healthy glowing skin.
Our Principle: Less is more!
Here the principle should be: less is more! No double cleansing, exfoliation and layering of skin products is necessary. Our skin needs to get a chance to take care of itself, we need to leave it alone. When using cosmetics, choose them wisely.
How we disturb the delicate balance of skin's microbiome ?
1. While stripping the sebum which is actually food for our microbes, off of our skin in the hot shower, we simultaneously kill the bacteria with harsh soaps and body washes.
2. We apply cosmetics, trying to fix the cracked skin, which only adds up to the problems. Not only do most cosmetics contain tons of ingredients that kill our skin microbes, but we are additionally layering them!
3. Long INCI lists with preservatives, fragrances, surfactants, and lots of other ingredients have a strong influence on our skin microbiome. Instead of doing something good to our skin, we do harm to it.