This post has been sponsored by the PRIMP Network. All opinions are my own.
By now, we’re aware of the important role bacteria plays in the gut. Many of us take probiotics or eat cultured food, all in effort to balance our gut so that it can function fully and keep us healthy. But did you know that bacteria is equally important in our skin?
Our skin’s microbiome (aka flora), in it’s most natural, healthy state, has a balance of both good and bad bacteria. The good bacteria helps keep some of the bad bacteria in check, and provides a layer of protection from inflammation and skin disorders like acne, rosacea, and psoriasis. But often unknowingly, we wipe away this healthy microbiome by over-cleansing and using products that contain harsh ingredients.
Fortunately, with the a few updates our beauty routines, we can work with our microbiome rather than against it. Here are a few ways to help restore skin flora back to its healthy, balanced state.
How to Protect Your Skin Microbiome
1) Go easy on the soaps
Surfactants are the ingredients that make our shampoos and cleansers lather, but the strong ones can be the biggest threat to the good bacteria on our skin. For starters, avoid products with the harshest, most well-known bacteria-killer – sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) (which also go by the name sodium dodecyl sulfate or SDS).
2) Avoid petroleum-based products
Synthetic and petroleum-based skincare products work by adding a water-repellent layer of oil over our skin. It makes skin soft and smooth, which creates the illusion that they’re moisturizing and hydrating, when in actuality, they’re suffocating pores. This can cause all our good skin flora to go dormant. So take a look at the ingredients in your moisturizer and toss it if it has petroleum-based ingredients – petroleum jelly/petrolatum especially.
3) Cleanse less often
Despite what many of us are taught, it’s not essential that we cleanse both morning and night. In fact, the less we cleanse, the better our skin flora can thrive. So on mornings, or even evenings on no-makeup days, skip the cleanser and instead do a quick rinse using lukewarm water and a washcloth. Plain water washes off most things on our bodies without disrupting our skin’s natural flora balance, while a washcloth provides gentle exfoliation. On the days you do wear makeup, remove it using a sulfate-free cleanser, oil cleanser, or better yet, a natural oil like olive, almond, castor, or coconut.
4) Minimize your routine
In the past century, our skincare routines have gotten more and more complicated – now with oil cleansers, deep cleansers, scrubs, toners, serums, creams, treatments, etc. Just think of all the ingredients and chemicals that we’re exposing our skin to. Are they really doing your skin a service? I had to ask myself this one day after admiring my boyfriend’s skin…he has virtually no skin troubles and all he uses is a cleanser a couple of times a week. That day, it occurred to me that perhaps our skin has the ability to take care of itself. What a concept! I immediately started minimizing my own skincare routine, and I’d absolutely recommend trying this out for yourself too – gradually take out products from your routine and see how your skin reacts.
5) Use Probiotic Skincare
To further promote healthy flora balance in your skin, incorporate probiotic-rich products into your skincare routines, ones that work to enhance the good bacteria in our microbiome. One of my favorites is LaFlore. Their patent-pending Probiotic Technology enables them to bottle multiple strains of live probiotics without using any harsh practices. When the probiotics come in contact with the skin, they immediately go to work to enhance the good flora.
Combined with organic, plant-based ingredients that recharge and protect, and healing aloe (in place of water at the base of all formulas), their skincare completely de-stresses and awakens skin, restoring it back to its natural equilibrium so that it can perform at its peak. And when skin is at its peak, it has all the energy it needs to maximize collagen and elastin synthesis and cell renewal – which translates to healthier, more youthful-looking skin.
LaFlore skincare is also ECOCERT, cruelty free, and free from soy, gluten, parabens, sulfates, parabens, petrolatum, silicones, dimethicones, and more.
LaFlore’s 3 -Step Skincare Routine
LaFlore designed three products – a moisturizer, serum, and cleanser – that when used together, form a simple 3-step skincare routine that covers all of the above five microbiome-friendly tips. Here’s a quick run-through of how I’ve been incorporating their products into my routine over the past three weeks.
Step 1 – Do a quick wash using warm water and a washcloth (no cleanser) – This also helps avoid washing away the good flora that the LaFlore Serum Concentrate replenished the night before.
Step 2 – Apply 2 pumps of the LaFlore Probiotic Daily Defense Moisturizer – Formulated with aloe, hyaluronic acid, pycnogenol, bisabolol oil, pomegranate seed oil, and Vitamin D3, this moisturizer helps strengthen skin flora, and creates a stronger skin barrier to help combat stress from environmental toxins and harsh ingredients found in our beauty products. My skin drinks it up in seconds, leaving behind a smooth, semi-matte canvas for makeup. It also visibly brightens with illuminating micro-pearls.
Step 1 – Wash with LaFlore Probiotic Cleanser – I’ll let this cream cleanser sit on my face for 30-90 seconds (since it doubles as a mini mask/exfoliating treatment), then rinse off with warm water. Despite the gentle formula, it removes even my toughest eye makeup (like me new HG 24-hour Lancome mascara), all while keeping my skin balanced and supple – never tight.
Step 2 – Apply 2 pumps of the LaFlore Serum Concentrate – This serum works to restore skin’s natural balance and also allows it to rest and heal while you catch those Z’s. It’s loaded with natural, skin-loving ingredients like hemp seed oil, sea buckthorn fruit oil, avocado, jojoba, squalane, and beta carotene. The next morning, skin looks fresher, brighter, and more even toned. (Tip: Use it as a spot treatment on blemishes, or to calm rosacea.)
If you’re constantly battling with your skin and can’t seem to find a solution, it could be as easy as taking a step back from the harsh skincare routines and products, incorporating probiotic skincare products into your routine, and letting your skin’s natural defensive system thrive.
Have you tried taking steps to protect your skin’s microbiome, like eliminating sulfates, cleansing less, or switching to probiotic skincare products?
Get 20% off LaFlore using code PRIMP20