How the Skin Microbiome Changes as We Age

How the Skin Microbiome Changes as We Age

by Natalise Kalea Robinson

It's no secret that our bodies change as we age; we may not be able to run as fast or lift as much as we could in our earlier days, and our skin is no exception to its own change. As we age, our skin becomes thinner and less elastic. We lose collagen and hyaluronic acid, which give our skin its plump, youthful appearance. Our skin also becomes drier and more fragile, making it more susceptible to injury and infection.

Along with the physical changes that can appear on and in our skin as we age, our skin microbiomes (the ecosystem of microbes that live on our skin) also change with time. Recent studies have shown that as we age, our skin microbiome becomes less diverse and more dominated by a few species of bacteria. This shift in the microbiome has been linked to several age-related skin conditions, such as wrinkles, dryness, and inflammation.

The microbiome is the collection of all the microbes (bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa) that live on or in our bodies. We have several unique microbiomes in different areas of our body – in our gut, our mouth, our intimate parts, and different areas of our skin (face, armpits, back, etc.). The health of our microbiomes are influenced by factors like diet, lifestyle, environment, genetics, and even other household members.

The majority of the microbes that make up our microbiome are helpful or neutral. They play a role in everything from processing nutrients to protecting us from infection. In the skin microbiome, a balanced ecosystem of bacteria, viruses, and other microbes help prevent the growth of harmful pathogens and stimulate the immune system.

However, the balance of microbes on our skin can be disrupted by a number of factors, including aging. Studies have shown that as we age, the composition of our microbiome changes and it becomes less diverse. This shift has been linked to several age-related skin conditions, such as wrinkles, dryness, and inflammation.

It's important to note that not all changes to the microbiome are bad. In fact, some studies have shown that certain types of bacteria can actually help to protect against aging by stimulating collagen production or reducing inflammation (at Parallel, we’re focusing on microbial formulations that help reduce this pathogenic bacteria and increase good bacteria that support better aging).

So what can we do to keep our skin microbiome healthy as we age? There is no one-size-fits-all answer. However, there are a few general tips that can help keep your skin microbiome in balance:

  • Eat a healthy diet: a healthy diet is important for overall health, including the health of your skin microbiome. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to promote a healthy microbiome.
  • Avoid harsh cleansers: harsh cleansers can strip away the good bacteria that live on your skin. Instead, opt for a mild, gentle microbiome-friendly cleanser.
  • Avoid excessive sun exposure: too much sun can damage the skin and disrupt the microbiome. Be sure to wear sunscreen when you are outdoors, and limit your time in the sun.
  • Don't smoke: smoking has been linked to a number of skin problems, including wrinkles and premature aging. If you smoke, quitting is one of the best things you can do for your skin.

By following these tips, you can help to keep your skin microbiome healthy and balanced as you age. At Parallel Health, we believe that a healthy microbiome is essential for optimal health.  Our skincare products are formulated to support the health of the microbiome and to help reduce the signs of aging.

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About Parallel

A parallel world lives amongst us: the microbial world. This world impacts not only our lifespan, but also our healthspan.

Our mission is to empower people with real science to make meaningful skincare decisions to improve their healthspan, mental well-being, and self-confidence.

Parallel is a next-generation skin health company providing effective, personalized skincare and testing, powered by genomics, skin microbiome science, and machine learning.

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