We’ve all had days (or weeks or months) where our skin just feels…off. Whether its dryness, irritation, or breakouts, there are some obvious signs that our skin isn’t in it’s best shape. We’re always trying to find the underlying cause of skin distress — after all, we want to solve the problem. But what if we told you that the answer might lie in your skin’s microbiome? That’s what Dr. Elsa Jungman, skincare researcher and creator of Dr. Elsa Jungman skincare, believes. After learning more, we’re on board too. We talked with her all about what exactly your microbiome is, what happens when it’s disturbed, and how it can be healed. Read on for the full interview.
At 18, I suffered from toxic shock syndrome, which left my skin incredibly sensitive. Since then, I’ve devoted my career to studying the link between skin health and the microbiome. I have my Ph.D. in Skin Pharmacology and have spent time between Paris and San Francisco working with various businesses and startups in the skin health space. I recently became a mother for the first time and I am even more interested in understanding that important link to make sure my son won’t develop skin issues.
Just like in our gut, our skin is covered with billions of microorganisms that fight to keep us healthy. It is composed of bacteria, fungi and even viruses for example. Those microorganisms are just like the probiotics you take in your yogurts. However, the skin microorganisms are very specific to this organ and are organized as an ecosystem. A great diversity and balance of these microorganisms on your skin are key for your skin to be able to function properly. We still know very little about what makes a healthy skin microbiome, especially regarding women’s health as we are the one suffering the most from skin sensitivity.
In certain skin issues, we have observed that when the microbiome is disrupted its diversity is lost — for example, one bacteria can take over. This unbalance causes an unhealthy ecosystem. This is the case for example in eczema where Staphylococcus aureus is too dominant versus other microorganisms and the microbiome can not function properly. Skin is not only smart and resilient, but it craves balance. No matter how much damage has been inflicted upon your skin’s microbiome, there is an opportunity for you to be able to repair and restore your skin’s health by adjusting your approach, paying attention to what your skin needs, and taking the proper steps to support it.