The concept of the “holobiont” refers to the host organism (in this case, the human body or specifically the skin) and all of its associated microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, viruses, etc.) living symbiotically. The skin microbiome, an integral part of the holobiont, plays a crucial role in maintaining skin health, influencing immune responses, wound healing, and protecting against harmful pathogens.
Skincare ingredients support the holobiont in several ways:
- Preserving and Enhancing the Microbiome: Certain ingredients can help maintain a healthy balance of the skin microbiome. Prebiotics, for instance, feed the beneficial bacteria on the skin, promoting their growth and activity. Postbiotics, or byproducts of probiotic bacteria, can also provide benefits, like anti-inflammatory effects.
- Protecting the Skin Barrier: Ingredients like ceramides, and fatty acids, can help strengthen the skin barrier, maintaining its integrity and preventing water loss. This supports overall skin health and indirectly aids in preserving a balanced microbiome.
- Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant Ingredients: Substances like green tea, resveratrol, and niacinamide have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can protect the skin and its microbiome from damage due to environmental stressors like UV rays and pollution.
- Moisturising Agents: Hydrated skin can support a healthy microbiome. Ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and various oils can contribute to maintaining adequate skin hydration.
- pH Balancing Ingredients: Maintaining the skin’s natural slightly acidic pH is important for the healthy functioning of the skin barrier and microbiome. Certain ingredients are used in skincare to help balance the pH and prevent it from becoming too alkaline, which can disrupt the microbiome and barrier function.
The right skincare ingredients can support the skin holobiont by preserving and enhancing the microbiome, protecting and strengthening the skin barrier, reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, providing adequate hydration, and maintaining the skin’s optimal pH balance.