Did you know that we have about one thousand species of bacterial flora on the surface of our skin? But hold up. What exactly is bacterial flora? Well, flora is another word for microorganisms. There are both fungal and bacterial types of it, but bacterial is the most frequently occurring kind.
As we already know, there are both good and bad kinds of bacteria. And the bulk of the bacterial flora (or microorganisms) that hangs out on our epidermis is “mutualistic”, or helpful. Here’s how.
Flora Fights Pathogens
Mutualistic bacterial flora acts as an antimicrobial force to control the bad bacteria, or pathogens. The interesting part is that this can only happen properly when the naturally acidic pH level of the skin is maintained. See, good bacterial flora thrives in an acidic (but not too acidic) environment.
When your skin’s pH is maintained right around the 5.5 level, the antimicrobial effects of your good bacteria are enhanced. Flora super heroes like micrococci, staphylococci and propionibacteria can help disperse negative pathogens.
When your skin’s pH is too alkaline, on the other hand, it becomes more vulnerable to infection by bad bacteria. Skin also has more trouble keeping the good bacteria around in overly alkaline conditions. The combination of the two is a breeding ground for skin diseases that are, at least in part, caused by low microbial diversity (like psoriasis and atopic dermatitis).
Your Immune System Regulates Flora
You’re likely familiar with the fact that our immune systems protect us from illness-causing microbes and pathogens. But did you know that the immune system functions in the skin, too? Not only does it function in the skin; it actually regulates the amount of flora (both good and bad included here) on the surface of your skin.
Your immune system can trigger surface shedding when it senses a threat like a dangerous pathogen. This often gets rid of the threat effectively, but eliminating protective bacteria also has its risks, such as leaving you more open to pathogenic attack.
What Should I Do About All This?
The best place to start when it comes to protecting your helpful bacteria (which, as discussed above, eliminate negative bacteria with activated antimicrobial properties) is with the pH environment of your skin.
Keep your skin at a slightly acidic pH level to match its natural acidity because this best empowers your super hero flora. The most effective way to maintain your skin at a pH of around 4.5 – 5.5 is by using pH balanced skincare products, especially when bathing, showering or washing your hands.
All of Sebamed USA’s skincare products are soap free (soap also strips your skin of good bacteria) and formulated at a mark of 5.5 to a nourish good bacteria’s healthy natural environment. Try their Liquid Face & Body Wash and Moisturizing Body Lotion to start. Pro tip: you can also request free samples first.