Global warming? It’s changing our skin microbiome

June 21, 2022
Dr. Nathan Brown

Global warming is causing concern for the earth – intense storms, heat waves, rising sea levels, warming oceans, melting glaciers, and debilitating droughts. A new study has shown that it also affects our skin microbiome—and not in a good way. According to the study, the higher temperatures and increased humidity caused by global warming are leading to an increase in the number of harmful bacteria on our skin. This rise in pathogenic bacteria can lead to an increase in skin infections and other dermatological problems. 

The link between global warming and our skin microbiome

For years, scientists have warned that global warming will have a profound impact on the planet and our livelihoods. But new research is showing that global warming may also have a significant impact on the human body - specifically, the skin microbiome. The skin microbiome is the collection of bacteria, fungi and other microscopic organisms that live on the skin. These microorganisms play an important role in protecting the skin from infection and keeping it healthy. However, this microbial environment is also sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity. As global warming causes the Earth's average temperatures to rise, the skin microbiome is increasingly being thrown out of balance. In some cases, this can lead to skin infections or other problems. In other cases, it may simply make the skin more susceptible to sun damage. Either way, it's clear that global warming is not just an environmental problem - it's also a health issue. And one that we need to start taking seriously.

Climate change taxes your skin barrier 

The skin is the largest organ in the human body, and it plays a vital role in protecting us from the environment. The skin acts as a barrier, keeping harmful microbes and toxins out while retaining moisture and preventing excessive water loss. However, climate change can have a significant impact on the skin's barrier function. Rising temperatures and increased exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation can damage the skin cells, increasing inflammation, dryness, and premature aging. In addition, extreme weather conditions can disrupt the skin's natural balance, making it more susceptible to infection. 

Increased CO2 levels are detrimental to your skin flora

As CO2 levels in the atmosphere continue to rise, there is growing concern about the potential impact on human health. Our skin is our largest organ and it is wholly exposed to the environment. Recent research has shown that increased CO2 levels can alter the composition of the skin microbiota, leading to changes in skin pH and moisture levels. This can have a number of negative consequences, such as dryness, itchiness, and irritation. In extreme cases, it can even lead to skin infections, inflammation, and accelerated aging. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the potential risks of increased CO2 exposure, and to take steps to protect your skin.

Protect your skin from the effects of global warming

As the Earth continues to warm, it's more important than ever to take steps to protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun. One way to do this is to use the right microbiome-optimizing products for you – whether they are phage-based or pre-,pro-, or post-biotics. Additionally, when you’re in the sun, it’s important to wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. You can also limit your time in the sun, especially during the peak hours of 10am to 4pm. By taking these simple steps, you can help reduce your risk of skin cancer and other harmful effects of global warming.

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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 decisions to improve their healthspan. 

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Isler, M. F., Coates, S. J., & Boos, M. D. (2022). Climate change, the cutaneous microbiome and skin disease: implications for a warming world. International Journal of Dermatology. https://doi.org/10.1111/ijd.16297

Callewaert, C., Ravard Helffer, K., & Lebaron, P. (2020). Skin Microbiome and its Interplay with the Environment. American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 21(S1), 4–11. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40257-020-00551-x

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