We are all very familiar that everything in the natural world is very much interdependent. It is known that on a macro scale, if an ecosystem loses an apex predator, the consequences can be catastrophic. A rise in herbivores can lead to over grazing, which results in soil erosion and eventually even desertification. What many people don’t realise, is we host a number of complex and diverse eco-systems within and on our own bodies. These are just as fragile as those on our planet and if they are damaged the result will be to our physiological and metabolic detriment. These ecosystems are known as microbiomes and the inhabitants are the microbiota.
What is the difference between microbiome and microbiota?
Microbiomes is used in the plural as every part of our body has been colonised, but due to differences in pH, temperature, moisture and nutrients the microbiota will be very different in each area of the body. It should be noted, that no two individuals will have identical microbiota, we are all different. Evidence suggests that the exact composition of our skin microbiome is influenced by microbial colonization immediately after birth and continues to develop throughout life as we interact with our immediate environment.
What is the skin microbiome?
Within the personal care industry there has been much discussion about the skin microbiome. This is the community of microorganisms hosted on the skin. It comprises of bacteria, yeasts and fungi and virus’s.
What skin issues are associated with a compromised microbiome?
The diversity of microscopic life has co-evolved with us & their presence has demonstrable effects on our health and well-being. There are direct & inverse relationships between our skin health and the influence of the microbial life on it. An imbalance of microbiota on the skin results in physiological and metabolic issues giving rise to atopic skin conditions (including eczema, erythema etc.). Unfortunately, even everyday actions can have adverse effects, for example the microbiome takes between 2 to 14hrs to recover after hand washing. It’s no wonder that modern life results in so many skin disorders.
How can I replenish the skin microbiome?
It’s not all bad news for our microbial friends. As we learn more about the importance of the microbiome and the diversity of the microbiota that creates it, we are beginning to develop skincare ingredients, for use in products, that help to rectify the damage caused to the skin by exposure to a plethora of chemicals and pollutants.
What is the difference between probiotics and prebiotics?
There are two common strategies employed to help restore microbial balance, the use of either probiotics or prebiotics. Prebiotics help to support the growth of the microbiota, usually by providing nutrients which will allow rapid proliferation, whereas probiotics are live cultures of bacteria that are considered useful to the microbiome.
The use of probiotics in skincare formulations presents many challenges including the fact that they are living bacteria which need to survive not only the formulation process, but then need to adapt to the microbiome to which they are being introduced. It is therefore more common to find prebiotic ingredients employed and one group which is gaining in popularity are fermented plant extracts including those derived from cereals.
What products do Oat Cosmetics offer to replenish the skin microbiome?
One such range of prebiotic ingredients is aurafirm which accelerates the recovery of the skin microbiome. It is made by the fermentation of Oat Cosmetic’s advanced colloidal oatmeal, Oat COM, using a patented, highly specialised strain of Lactobacillus, developed in Germany by fermentation experts with over 50 years’ experience. The fermentation results in a filtered paste (P) and filtrate (N). The filtrate can be further processed to create a clear serum (S).
Why do these products work so well to replenish the skin microbiome?
Lactobacillus fermentation reduces the molecular weight of proteins and increases the amount of non-esterified fatty acids in oat. These molecules, as well as the deactivated Lactobacilli culture itself, act as a prebiotic that provides nutrients to skin’s microbiota helping to support its natural defences, and the regulate the microbial community that resides on it.