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Does the thought of microscopic critters hanging around your body give you the ick? That’s happening right now. Scientists have found that the human skin is home to over of germs and bacteria – but not all of them are your foes. In fact, some are beneficial in keeping irritants away.

So how can you avoid the “bad” without getting rid of the “good”? Continue scrolling to learn more about your skin microbiome.

Getting to Know Your Skin’s Germs And Bacteria

Trillions of microorganisms start to inhabit the skin days after birth. These tiny residents play a vital role in developing the immune system by helping train immune cells to differentiate between harmless invaders and potential threats.

As you grow older, germs and bacteria on your skin evolve, following changes in your body and lifestyle. For instance, the surge in androgens (growth and reproductive hormones) during puberty can lead to . It alters the skin’s pH levels and disrupts the skin microbiome – the community of microorganisms in your skin – contributing to the onset of acne.

An overabundance of certain strains can also trigger other skin conditions. According to research, having high levels of the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus increases . However, similar bacteria, such as S. epidermidis and S. lugdunensis, produce peptides that help bolster the skin’s natural defense. Peptides are amino acids that make up skin-friendly proteins like collagen and elastin.

The Roles of “Good” Bacteria on the Skin

In the past decade, researchers have uncovered more evidence of helpful germs and bacteria in human skin. Just like how S. epidermidis interacts with the skin protective barrier to prevent , each type of bug carries its own advantages.

Some bacteria can fight pimples.

The most notorious skin bacteria, Cultibacterium acnes, is considered the primary . Yet, it’s not entirely the villain it’s made out to be. The findings in the show that the RT6 strains of C. acnes are abundant in healthy skin and might be able to ward off infection before it begins.

Some are age-defying allies.

A type of probiotic found in the gut called Streptococcus thermophilus has unexpected anti-aging effects on the skin. It releases to replenish moisture and boost skin resilience. A Taiwanese study reports how this specific bacterium also promotes and protects against DNA damage – both are crucial in maintaining a youthful complexion.

Certain bacteria are skin-soothing agents.

Lactobacilli and Bifidobacterium deserve an honorable mention for their roles in balancing skin’s pH levels. This power duo also helps reduce skin sensitivity while fortifying its barrier function. As revealed in a 2019 study, they’re commonly used to and prevent .

How to Support Your Skin Microbiome

Maintaining the balance of “bad” and “good” bacteria is the goal. If the scale is tipped too far in favor of one type of bug, problems ensue. Follow these steps and tips to ensure your skin is always in tip-top condition.

Be kind to your gut.

Your skin’s health is closely related to what’s happening in your intestines. The beneficial bacteria in the stomach absorb essential nutrients vital to achieving a radiant complexion. But when the gut flora is compromised, the side effects can manifest as .

Consuming high-fiber foods like vegetables, fruits, and legumes is a great way to stimulate the growth of healthy gut bacteria. Many people also drink probiotic supplements that promote a more diverse microbiome, but consult a doctor before taking them.

Cleanse your skin gently.

Harsh cleansers can wipe out grime, but they also strip away the natural oils that feed the “good” microbes on your skin. Opt for products that are gentle on the skin, like Lifebuoy Antibacterial Soap Total 10. The patented Active Silver+ ingredient fights 99.9% of germs in one go.

If you have dry skin, a liquid soap might be a better option. Use Lifebuoy Antibacterial Bodywash Total 10, which offers the same level of germ protection without disrupting your skin’s moisture balance. 

Don’t be afraid to get a little dirty.

Squeaky-clean skin is not always the healthiest. You don’t have to spray a hand sanitizer after touching every surface. Let the germs and bacteria linger on your skin for a little while. It seems counterintuitive, but doing so helps make your immune system more tolerant and adaptable. So, get out into nature and work up a sweat. Worry about washing up later.

TL;DR: Not all germs and bacteria are out there to get you. Some, if not most, are there to support your skin’s health and function. Keep in mind not to overdo your body care routine and be mindful of what you eat. And remember, a little dirt never hurt anybody.