The Beauty Of Bacteria

Women's Health South Africa|August 2020

The Beauty Of Bacteria
Is probiotic-laden beauty a skincare win or a novelty trend? WH looks at the science
Victoria Hall

BACTERIA HAS HAD SOMETHING OF A MAKEOVER.

It was once confined to conversations around the efficacy of household-cleaning products, but a wealth of research and resulting buzz around the natural microbiome in human bodies has turned biotics – both pre and pro – into mainstream terminology. Plenty of you sat up, interest piqued, and soon fridge doors were lined with kefir, brunch wasn’t brunch without sourdough and dietician Dr Megan Rossi, aka the Gut Health Doctor, was celebrity first, PhD gut researcher second. The shift has given rise to a whole new industry of probiotic foods and supplements and now – never one to be left behind – the beauty industry is after its piece of the pie.

The truth is that your skin is covered in bacteria; at any given moment, trillions of microscopic single-cell organisms can be found whiling away the day on the top layer of your epidermis. It’s a microbiome, just like you have a microbiome in your gut, and it exists all over your skin – face and body. There are particularly common strains of bacteria – take Cutibacterium, Staphylococcus hominis and Staphylococcus epidermidis, for example – but the specific make up of your microbiome is unique to you and largely dictated by your genetics and lifestyle, including where you live, what you eat and the products you use.

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August 2020