Skin Microbiome 101

Skin Microbiome 101

We’ve been talking about it a lot, namely its connection to skin and our overall health. What is it? Why is it so important? How do we keep it happy? Here’s the rundown on the skin microbiome — our body’s first line of defense and secret weapon for healthy, flawless skin.

What is the microbiome?

Your microbiome is the myriad microorganisms that colonize your skin, your gut, and every surface of your body. It contributes to your natural defenses, conditioning your immune system. Ideally, this is a symbiotic relationship, and we also reap the benefits in the form of a constant source of health-boosting biomolecules.

More specifically, what is the skin microbiome?

There’s billions of microbes that live on human skin: a collection of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms. We call this invisible layer the skin microbiome.

What does the skin microbiome do?

Our skin microbiome is responsible for a number of health-regulating functions. It protects your skin from infection, UV damage, and premature aging, and enhances skin barrier function — reducing the potential for breakouts, acne, eczema, and other problems associated with dry or sensitive skin. It maintains your skin’s optimal pH, fights off free radicals, accelerates healing, and produces essential nutrients, vitamins, and biomolecules.

What are common threats to the well-being of the skin microbiome?

Your microbiome is your skin’s first line of defense. It is constantly exposed to a vast array of pollutants, environmental chemicals, harsh cleansers, exfoliants, and cosmetics. Your skincare regimen alone could be exposing your skin microbiome to hundreds of individual chemical ingredients every day. We know almost nothing about the short or long term consequences of this exposure on our skin and our skin microbiome.

What has the modern world done to the microbiome?

Our modern-day microbiome is not set up for success — and that extends to our skin microbiome. An overuse of harsh chemicals and products, increased exposure to pollution, and a sterilized living environment have all contributed to a permanent change in our microbiome.

What’s really at stake?

Symbiome's proprietary research reveals that we have lost up to 80% of our microbial diversity as compared to the thriving microbiome of our ancestors.

This means that our natural resilience has decreased at the same time that our exposure to harmful environmental and lifestyle stressors has increased. We now have a reduced capacity to produce essential biomolecules — including vitamins A, D, E, K, as well as phytosterols and CoQ10 — that contribute to our resilience and our ability to respond to stress.

Our skin is intricately connected to our overall health —  communicating important signals, from immune response to hormonal balance.

What can we do to help our skin microbiome now?

We can’t go back in time and we can’t restore these missing microbes. However, we can restore the contribution of those lost microbes — namely all the great things they made for us.

Symbiome is building a blueprint of what’s missing from our skin microbiome. We’ve using our proprietary research to develop a range of minimal formulations that work to restore the essential nutrients, vitamins, and fatty acids (a.k.a. metabolites) that had historically been produced by these missing microbes.

And we go a step further, sustainably sourcing supercharged plants for our postbiotic ingredients. A postbiotic has all the benefits of a probiotic, but is more bioavailable, meaning it’s easier for the skin to absorb.

Our science and research.

How can we know what our skin actually needs? We have an R&D team of scientists, microbiologists, and doctors who analyze and compare the thriving ancestral skin microbiome with that of the modern skin microbiome. Through this research, we can identify and naturally restore only what we need to achieve skin health — doing so in the most minimal, natural, and sustainable way possible — to ultimately complement and supplement our skin microbiome.


Our minimal and effective skincare is intentionally formulated to restore health to all skin. Shop now

More skincare questions? Our Skin Health Concierge is here to assist you. Schedule a consultation