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Is Damaged Skin The Root Cause of Chronic Diseases?

Is Damaged Skin The Root Cause of Chronic Diseases?

The health of our skin is not just about how it looks or feels; it goes much deeper than that. Damaged skin isn't just a cosmetic issue or a mere symptom—it's linked to the surge in chronic diseases responsible for 74% of Deaths Worldwide and 90% of America's Healthcare Costs(that's about $3.7 Trillion/year)!

Aside from being the first line of defense, the skin, like our gut, houses trillions of diverse microorganisms. These help our immune, endocrine, and nervous systems.

Our skin hosts a vast ecosystem of microorganisms known as the skin microbiome, which plays a crucial role in our overall health. Let's break down the complex topic of skin microbiome biodiversity, why it’s important, and what disrupts it, using insights from recent research.

What is the Skin Microbiome?

The skin microbiome is a community of trillions of bacteria, fungi, and viruses living on our skin. These microorganisms are essential for training our immune system, protecting against harmful pathogens, and maintaining overall skin health. They help keep our skin’s defense mechanisms strong and can even impact our body's broader health.

Why is Biodiversity in the Skin Microbiome Important?

Just like in larger ecosystems, diversity within the skin microbiome is crucial. A diverse microbial community on our skin helps ensure that no single type of harmful microorganism can dominate and cause issues. High biodiversity is linked to healthier skin and overall well-being. For example, less diverse skin microbiomes have been associated with conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and acne.

Research shows that modern lifestyles are causing a significant loss of microbial diversity on our skin, similar to the biodiversity loss seen in global ecosystems. This decline in skin microbiome diversity is concerning because it is linked to various skin conditions and potentially to broader health issues like allergies, asthma, and even chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and Parkinson's.

What Disrupts the Skin Microbiome?

Several factors in our daily lives can disrupt the balance of our skin microbiome, leading to reduced biodiversity and potential health issues. Here are some of the main culprits:

1. Antibiotics: While antibiotics are essential for treating bacterial infections, their overuse can kill beneficial bacteria along with harmful ones, disrupting the balance of the skin microbiome.

2. Harsh Skincare Products: Products containing strong chemicals can harm beneficial microorganisms on the skin. Watch out for:
  • Parabens: Commonly used preservatives in cosmetics and personal care products.
  • Sulfates: Found in many soaps and shampoos, these can strip the skin of natural oils.
  • Methylisothiazolinone: A preservative used in some "natural" cosmetics, which can be harmful to the skin microbiome.
  • Triclosan: An antibacterial agent found in some soaps and hand sanitizers, known to disrupt the skin's microbial balance.

3. Poor Diet: Diets high in processed foods and low in nutrients can negatively affect the skin microbiome, just as they impact gut health.

4. Environmental Factors: Pollution, UV radiation, and other environmental stressors can damage the skin microbiome, reducing its diversity.

5. Hygiene Practices: Over-washing with antibacterial soaps and frequent use of hand sanitizers can strip the skin of its natural oils and beneficial microbes.

Understanding and maintaining the biodiversity of your skin microbiome is vital for not just skin health, but overall health. By making informed choices about your skincare products, diet, and lifestyle, you can support a healthy and diverse skin microbiome, helping to protect against various health issues.

For a more detailed exploration of this topic, you can refer to the original research article by Wallen-Russell et al., titled "A Catastrophic Biodiversity Loss in the Environment Is Being Replicated on the Skin Microbiome: Is This a Major Contributor to the Chronic Disease Epidemic?" published in the journal *Microorganisms* in 2023.

Thank you for reading, till next time my Amber Babies! Please don't forget to subscribe and follow me on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok 🥳

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