The word bacterium sends chills down one’s spine. All of us have a huge amount of skin bacteria living on our faces. While just the thought of it makes us want to wash our face repeatedly, skin experts have revealed microbes may just be good for one’s skin. This sounds disgusting, but it's actually a good thing to have these active microorganisms to keep your skin glowing and hydrated. Moreover, aggressively cleansing the face is exactly what we shouldn’t be doing, reveals dermatologist Dr Mona Gohara. The microbiome is a community of living microganisms made up of mostly bacteria but can also contain fungi, viruses, and mites. They work to protect the skin and keep the skin barriers functioning.
Gohara compares the microbiome to the '80s cartoon ‘The Smurfs’. "If you think of the Smurfs, they were this little community within themselves where someone was designated to do every little job to make the community work as a whole," she explains. "That’s what your skin’s microbiome is like — a little community of microorganisms that make your skin work better."When your microbiome is disrupted or off-balanced, skin diseases and conditions like eczema and psoriasis could occur.
"When the microbiome is not in equilibrium, things like acne, atopic dermatitis, skin inflammation, and irritation can occur," concurs celebrity skin expert Dr Ava Guanche. "If there is predominantly good bacteria, then this is when our skin is best. It’s all about balancing and protecting the microbiome." So yes, in this case, bacteria is considered good. "People often times think that bacteria is bad and always means infection, but the reality is that we’re born with a whole host of bacteria on our skin that’s absolutely protective and necessary," adds Gohara. "If that gets disrupted, then we can see skin disease." She discourages scrubbing the skin using really harsh cleansers because it can disrupt the microbiome and leave the skin looking dull and unhealthy. Gohara advises everyone to use gentle products that are free of soap and sulfates and can help keep the microbiome numbers balanced.