Skin microbiome: feed it right for a healthier look!

Dry skin and atopic dermatitis have been associated with changes in the variety of the skin microbiome. 

Our skin, as the largest organ in our body, has a huge array of commensal microbes that support a healthy skin barrier. One of those is Staphylococcus epidermidis, one of the most abundant bacterial species of the skin microbiome1.

This chubby mutualistic, Gram-positive, facultative anaerobe constitutes up to 90% of the aerobic resident flora of our skin, and has been associated with a healthy-looking skin2. It does not like to be lonely, and usually appears in pairs or tetrads on the surface of our skin, like a protecting biofilm.

Dry skin, for example, is associated with an increase in microbial diversity along with a decrease in microbial load in comparison to more sebaceous areas of the skin, that are usually populated by lipophilic bacteria such as Cutibacterium acnes – that tend to cause those unwanted teenager-look-a-like pimples that nobody likes…

Lactic Acid is one of the Natural Moisturizing Factors (NMF) of the skin barrier, that is essential to maintain the hydration and a slightly acidic pH of the skin surface (i.e., “acid mantle”)3. Higher lactic acid concentrations and lower skin surface pH are known to increase our epidermal renewal and promote a healthier skin. 

New in vitro data suggests that Staphylococcus epidermidis, may be one of the major sources of lactic acid in the skin1

But only if fed the right way. 

It seems that 1% colloidal oat increases Lactic Acid production by this particular bacteria species, making it rely less on simple sugars such as glucose for its metabolism; and, instead use more complex carbohydrates derived from oat.

Oatmeal-containing skin moisturisers significantly changed the metabolism of the Staphylococcus epidermidis, breaking down starch and promoting good gene expression, with an increased DNA and aminoacid synthesis, and an improved ATP metabolism.

How about that?

Bacteria on a diet makes your skin look healthier!

Next time you think about which moisturiser to buy in the drug store:  don’t forget to feed your skin microbiome it’s oatmeal!

Happy Staphys!

References:

1          Liu-Walsh, F. et al. Prebiotic Colloidal Oat Supports the Growth of Cutaneous Commensal Bacteria Including S. epidermidis and Enhances the Production of Lactic Acid. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol 14, 73-82, doi:10.2147/CCID.S253386 (2021).

2          Baviera, G. et al. Microbiota in healthy skin and in atopic eczema. Biomed Res Int 2014, 436921, doi:10.1155/2014/436921 (2014).

3          Thueson, D. O., Chan, E. K., Oechsli, L. M. & Hahn, G. S. The roles of pH and concentration in lactic acid-induced stimulation of epidermal turnover. Dermatol Surg 24, 641-645, doi:10.1111/j.1524-4725.1998.tb04221.x (1998).

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