Skin Microbiome Health
Since skin is the largest organ of the body, proper skin nourishment and a well balanced skin microbiome are extremely important to overall health. The main purpose of the skin is to serve as the first line of defense for the body, but your skin isn't tasked with this important job alone. The skin is an ecosystem, made up of your own skin cells, bacteria, fungi and viruses (most of which are beneficial or harmless).
The population of microbes living on your skin is influenced by your geographical location, what soaps and moisturizers you use, how much time you spend in the sun, your activities outdoors, diet and exercise practices, age, genetics and sex. The types of microbes found on the skin vary by anatomical region as well; for instance, the microbial ecosystem of the armpit is very different from the microbial ecosystem of the face or vagina. The major players of the average skin microbiome are Staphylococcus spp., Propionibacterium spp. and Corynebacterium spp.
There is a balance that has to be maintained between the skin and the delicate microbial community living there. Disruptions in this relationship can cause irritations, breakouts, infections, and eczema. The skin micobiome is a complex field of study because there are so many varying factors that influence the make up; however, a lot of promising research is being conducted in the hopes to find pro-microbial therapies for skin disorders.
The first step to maintaining a rich population (meaning a lot of different species present) of skin microbes is to get outside. Take up hobbies such as gardening, hiking or playing with your dog. We have a nature journal, and adding to it regularly give us a reason to go explore the outdoors. It is important, though, to protect your skin from too much sun while outdoors. Instead of using chemical laden sunscreens, try wearing a hat and light-cloth, long-sleeved clothing to protect yourself from sunburn while outdoors. Next, practice having a wholesome, real food diet. Eat loads of fresh produce from your local farmers market, eat fermented foods with everything you can, and cut out all processed food. Lastly, nourish your skin, therefore nourishing your skin microbes. Cut out the skin products with the preservatives, chemicals and substances intended to inhibit microbial growth.
It's wonderfully easy to make your own nourishing moisturizer at home. We crafted our own recipe for skin microbe-friendly, whipped body butter. Not only does it nourish our skin microbiome, but it also soothes inflammation and eczema. It includes wholesome, organic ingredients such as cocoa butter, extra virgin coconut oil, tallow, turmeric essential oil, ginger essential oil, and magnesium oil.
Whipped Body Butter
Ingredients: 1/4 cup of Cocoa Butter, 1/4 cup of Shea Butter, 1/4 cup of Extra Virgin Coconut oil, 2 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1/4 cup of Tallow, 5 drops Turmeric and 5 drops Ginger Essential oils, 5 drops of Magnesium oil.
Directions: Add 1-2 inches of water in a small pot, and place a glass bowl in the pot so that the water is just under the bowl. Add the cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil, and tallow to the bowl and stir until evenly melted and mixed. Remove the glass bowl from the pot and allow to cool. The mixture will eventually begin to set. You may speed up this process by sticking the bowl in the refrigerator for a few minutes. When it begins harden but is still soft to the touch, whip the mixture using a hand mixer or stand mixer. While whipping add the essential oils and the magnesium oil. Whip for about 5 minutes until the mixtures becomes light and fluffy and peaks form (it will look like whipped cream). Transfer to a jar and use as you wish! You can even use this amazing stuff on your face!
Since this moisturizer doesn't contain any preservatives or antimicrobial agents we highly suggest storing it in the refrigerator. This will harden the lotion a bit, but it is still pleasantly light and fluffy when it warms up.