Exfoliation brings a lot of benefits to the skin. It removes dead skin cells and makes way for younger, healthier cells underneath to thrive. This helps reduce breakouts and acne, slow down the effects of aging, and give you a glowing appearance.
This routine, however, should be done in moderation. Experts recommend exfoliating only once or twice a week. Anything more than that is detrimental to your skin’s health: over-exfoliation would leave the skin red, tender, and sensitive. More importantly, it disrupts the microbiome that protects the skin.
The World of Life on the Skin
Your body houses more than just your cells. It’s also home to 39 trillion bacterial cells, forming the human microbiome. Specific locations have their own group: you have your gut, oral, and belly button microbiomes, among others.
Your skin microbiome, in particular, has several bacteria species that benefit you. Gallinee.com, a skincare company, says that some help the immune system protect your skin. For instance, the Staphylococcus epidermidis secrete antimicrobial substances that combat pathogens, while the Propionibacterium acnes use skin lipids to create fatty acids that keep harmful microbes at bay.
The Detrimental Effects of Over-Exfoliation
Over-exfoliation is harmful to your skin microbiome. Frequent cleansing strips your skin of the oils that keep the skin microbiome in balance. When the microbiome is out of balance, pollutants, toxins, and dangerous microorganisms would have easier access to your skin.
So, consider your skin microbiome when you map out your skincare routine.
Achieving a Healthy Skin Microbiome
As mentioned earlier, you should limit exfoliation to twice a week at most. This won’t deprive your skin microbiome of vital oils and ensure that the new layer of skin cells is ready to defend you.
To keep the skin microbiome healthy, you can use products formulated to keep your skin microbiome in balance. These usually contain lactic acid and prebiotics. The former helps create an ideal environment for the microbiome, while the latter feeds the good bacteria.
Some treatments are in your kitchen: Mind Body Green, a health blog, recommends putting a thin layer of yogurt on the skin after exfoliating, for instance. This helps the skin fend off harmful bacteria from penetrating into the deeper layers.
You’re not alone in the fight against diseases. Your skin microbiome stands guard against harmful microorganisms too, so, it’s important to nourish it. After all, taking good care of them is like taking good care of ourselves, too.