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Itchy Skin, Microbiome of the Skin, Common Skin Problems, and Can you Shower too Much?

Nicholas Noble | June 28, 2020

You might be itchin’ for matcha, but read this if your skin is itching too.

Whether to you a seasonal mystery or a chronic phantom, could a change in our daily washing help to dry-off from common skin health problems?

Most people aren’t afraid of two showers a day during this time of year, but a full-scrub even once a day might even be too much. Dermatologists are opening up to the fact that over-showering could be a cause behind itchy skin, eczema, rosacea, and more. 

To be specific, you might want to curb the habit of washing head-to-toe, and rather soap those daily suds strictly around the most essential body parts.

Skin Microbiome – Is Soap Bad for Skin? Is Soap Necessary when Showering?

And even if you’re not suffering from common dryness or eczema, the leading science says to let skin do its own thing, more often, for overall health.

Soap strips oil and moisture which can overdry the skin, also making pores open up. With natural protections down the drain, irritants in your environment have a clearer path to aggravate skin.

Not only clearing the way for irritants, showering too much can be a disservice to your skin-living microbiome. Together, these triggers may cause itching, dry skin, and certain conditions like eczema.

Skin Microbiome – Paraben Side Effects

Friendly microbes otherwise tasked with maintaining skin pH and keeping less-courteous bacteriums at bay are washed away. That alone is bad news, but there may also be consequences to internal health. 

Besides direct agitation, frequent scrubbing can essentially work like an antibiotic. Soaps wash away helpful bacteria, while often containing antibiotic preservatives (e.g. parabens), 

As a corollary, we know that oral antibiotics can cause gut dysbiosis. Not only digestively, this type of imbalance is widely implicated in diseases of the whole body, and research says this same principle may ultimately apply to skin as well, the body’s largest organ. [1-2]

Examples include asthma and general allergies which may arise at the behest of disruption to this ‘outer-microbiome.’ [3]

So how to know if you’re over-washing? 

Skin Health, Skin Biome Health, Common Skin Conditions

It’s relatively recent to think that conditions like eczema may be rooted in an imbalanced skin microbiome. Although some individuals may be disposed genetically, skin conditions like eczema can affect anyone. 

By washing away natural oils and microbes, changes occur which are associated with the connection between skin conditions, autoimmunities, and allergic reactions. Overall, changes on the skin, may influence those in the gut, and vice versa. [4]

It might not strictly be the suds either, what about the slew of targeted products we’re told to need?

  • For him, for her, for them
  • For oily skin, for regular skin
  • Conditioners, moisturizers, etc 

Obsessed with Cleanliness: Germophobia and the Gut-skin axis?

The growing clarity between product-use, frequent washing, and imbalances above–and below–the skin means that the demand for excessive cleanliness could be a rut to dig out of, especially for long term health. 

As the notion of ‘good’ microbes becomes more established, the era of germophobia is at a crossroads – perhaps that fear as the biggest phenomenon behind excessive cleanliness, body–or–home that is.

Understanding the ‘good’ in germs will continue to be pivotal, such that the world of prebiotics and probiotics has begin to include skincare. 

Prebiotic Skin Care, Prebiotic vs Probiotic, and Prebiotic Benefits

It’s no longer just the gut when it comes to healthy bacteria, for skin it can mean a balanced complexion, and unexpected health protections. The latest research concluded that a natural byproduct of healthy bacteria may have a protective effect against skin-cancer. [5] 

As only one of the recent examples, it’s foreseeable that a new era of skincare would focus on feeding the friendlies, and worrying less those of the reverse. It could be that skin health means preserving a more natural balance, as well as feeding the good skin microbes from both outside, and inside the body. 

Matcha and Skin Health, Key to Skin Microbes?

As skincare products continue to pivot towards prebiotic topicals, in the meantime it’s simply by being cautious about washing, and fueling that outer complexion from within, that we might be able to maintain the upper hand.

The gut and skin microbiome might be one and the same, so choosing a healthy diet and lifestyle, which already are known to positively impact gut balance, could very well support the gut-skin axis too.

Fermented products, whole foods, and a wise daily matcha practice can cover our skin from inside-out.

And at least with matcha, the dense nutrition and antioxidants may act both as a prebiotic and probiotic in the gut, overtime argued to improve skin health too. 

-Team Matcha Kari

 

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References
[1] Van Nimwegen, F. a. et al. Mode and place of delivery, gastrointestinal microbiota, and their influence on asthma and atopy. The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology 128, 948–55.e1–3. issn: 1097-6825 (2011).
[2] Wallen-Russell, C., & Wallen-Russell, S. (2017). Meta analysis of skin microbiome: new link between skin microbiota diversity and skin health with proposal to use this as a future mechanism to determine whether cosmetic products damage the skin. Cosmetics, 4(2), 14.
[3] Hill, D. A., & Spergel, J. M. (2018). The atopic march: critical evidence and clinical relevance. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, 120(2), 131-137.
[4] Salem, I., Ramser, A., Isham, N., & Ghannoum, M. A. (2018). The gut microbiome as a major regulator of the gut-skin axis. Frontiers in microbiology, 9, 1459.
[5] Nakatsuji, T., Chen, T. H., Butcher, A. M., Trzoss, L. L., Nam, S. J., Shirakawa, K. T., ... & Gallo, R. L. (2018). A commensal strain of Staphylococcus epidermidis protects against skin neoplasia. Science Advances, 4(2), eaao4502.

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