So what is the microbiome?
The human body is like a planet, home to multiple landscapes and manifold environments. Each has its own distinctive flora and fauna, co-existing in perfect balance. However hygienic and groomed a person may be, he or she is home to 1 billion organisms per square centimeter of skin! Mind-blowing in its richness and complexity, the sum total of this population of bacteria, fungi and archaea is termed the microbiome.
Microbiome… Where have you been all my life?
Wondering why your biology textbooks never explained the “Amazon rainforest” of microbes living in and on your body? In fact, a colossal global-level project to unravel the full complexity of the microbes that accompany us in our daily lives – the Human Microbiome Project – was only recently completed. Abandoning older culture-based techniques in favor of more accurate genetic sequencing, the project was able to identify more than 500 different species co-habiting on skin alone. With myriad health benefits, the microbiome is like a brand new second skin that has just been discovered!
Your microbiome: as unique as your fingerprint
Your microbiome’s bacterial composition is unique to you, which is why some scientists are describing it as the “2nd genome.” The microbiome also varies according to the part of the body: some body parts are more richly populated with organisms than others, like your belly button, which is home to some particularly exotic species!
A lush ecosystem at your skin’s surface
One of the most important microbial environments is your body’s largest organ: the skin. Weighing in at over 5kg, your skin forms an interface between the inside and outside, performing an essential protective role known as its barrier function. This uniquely exposed position makes skin highly vulnerable. In response to the stresses of modern living, the rich diversity of micro-organisms that populate and profoundly support skin can become depleted, placing your skin at risk.
So how can you care for your skin’s microscopic helpers?
A diverse microbiome helps to regulate the grumbling inflammation responsible for skin sensitivity symptoms. Indeed, the sensitive skin epidemic – 62% of people have sensitive skin today! – is leading increasing numbers of people to consider ways of cultivating a healthy, diverse skin flora.
Discover a unique therapeutic ingredient to replenish the diversity of your skin’s microbiome: the prebiotic thermal water. Your prebiotic skincare heroes
1 Sensitive skin: an epidemiological study Br J Dermatol 2001;145:258-63. Willis CM, Shaw S, de La Charrière O, et al