The skin microbiome is on everyone’s lips

As we launch The Secret Life of Skin, we wanted to share a number of articles that have caught our eye and sparked our imagination over recent weeks. We have rummaged through our search history and bookmarks to find the articles that we have been reading.

At The Secret Life of Skin, we take our inspiration from as many sources as possible. Our ethos is to create a holistic community, where we can all learn, share and develop our understanding of this exciting new space together.
The selection of our recent reads below spans the breadth of the conversation – taking us back to the beginning with the gut microbiome, right through to the latest studies and product launches.

We hope you stay inspired, entertained and informed.

The editorial team.

Acne: How common drug changes skin microbiome

Man with skin scarring

Medical News Today

A question that is never far from our minds is the impact of our cosmetics on our skin microbiome.

At the end of 2018, University School of Medicine in St. Louis (United States) published the findings of a recent study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. The study, involving 17 individuals, showed how a common acne drug (Isotretinoin) alters the balance of bacteria on our skin. The application of Isotretinoin reduced the number of bacteria known to cause acne, specifically Cutibacterium acnes, and increased the microbiota diversity on the skin – even after the treatment stops.

While the sample is small, the findings correlate with wider thinking around the role of the skin microbiome, and the possibility of identifying treatments that positively alter the skin microbiome. This study is the first step; the team are working on a wider study hoping to improve the treatment available for acne. One to watch.

The future of skin health has everything to do with bacteria


Have a look at your hand—there are over 150 species on one palm alone.”

This statistic is one of many interesting discoveries in an article by Jessica Finlay Ph.D. Daughter of a father-daughter team, who are soon to release a new book* that looks at the “secret to total, lifelong health” is “the teeming world of microbes”. One area of focus is how the concept of embracing the bacteria on the skin is challenging the norm and leveraging science in the creation for effective, innovation skin care products.

*The Whole-Body Microbiome: How to Harness Microbes―Inside and Out―for Lifelong Health was released on the 22 January.

Skin microbiota’s community effort


While a longer read, this article published at the end of last year by Nature is worth the time. From start to finish, this article is packed full of examples and data that bring this topic to life – be warned, some are certainly quite shocking!

Through the twists and turns of the potential application of the skin microbiome research, author Emily Sohn, seamlessly navigates from the spread of microorganisms in hospitals to the treatment of common skin conditions, cosmetic applications and implications for drug development. A real must-read for anyone interested in the subject.

Is your gut microbiome the key to health and happiness?

The Guardian

While this article may not be hot off the press, it is well worth a read if the microbiome area is new to you. First published in 2017 this article has gained over 10,000 shares – and we can understand why. Although it isn’t about the skin microbiome, the article dissects the potential opportunity that further research into the gut microbiome may unlock. Packed full of links to research and studies, it becomes a bit of a worm-hole for further research.

We see this article as inspiration for the parallels to the skin –  a source of inspiration and realisation that the possibilities and applications for truly understanding the skin microbiome may be beyond our imagination.

Keep your gut healthy and your skin may follow

New York Times

TabletsAs the market for ingestible probiotics continues on an upward trajectory, this New York Times piece provides a bit of a “who’s who” for ingestible probiotics and the big brands that are producing the latest trend.

While recognising that scientific research still has a way to go, including the need for a systematic, controlled test of the microbiome, the article unpicks the possibilities. Beyond popping pills, the future may include the personalization or categorisation of treatments to “enforce a resident bacteria community composition”– and this doesn’t even touch upon the possibilities that will come from formulations that are applied directly to the skin. end

Keep exploring

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