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What do you know about the ‘secret' life of your skin?

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What do you know about the ‘secret' life of your skin?
'Unhygienic make-up bags are rife with superbugs, scientists warn’ was the recent headline by the Cosmetics Business reporting on research by Aston University which found more than 90% of make-up products were carrying bacteria such as E.Coli and Staphylococci, which can cause blood poisoning and infections. The study has raised fears that people are unwittingly putting themselves at risk and its authors are urging manufacturers and regulatory bodies to do more to protect consumers.
The most well understood role of the skin is that it serves as a barrier between the human body and its external environment, preventing loss of moisture at the same time as preventing the entry of UV radiation, toxins, pathogens, allergens, and irritants.  However, the skin is also a biologically active ecosystem in which diverse communities of micro-organisms live. These microbial communities are known as the skin microbiome. We generally think of bacteria, fungi, and viruses as pathogens - foreign invaders seeing to harm us. In fact, pathogens are a minority among all of the microbes that populate our microbiome. Most of these microbes are not only harmless but are in fact beneficial, both in terms of our normal bodily functions a swell as protection from other pathogenic microbes.
 
Interesting fact: It is estimated that 100 trillion bacteria live in and on our bodies, with only 1% of the cells on our person are human, the other 99% are microbes. On our skin, there are 1,000 different bacterial species and up to 80 different fungi species. 
 
Skin microbes are usually non-pathogenic, and either commensals (are not harmful to their host) or mutualistic (offer a benefit). The benefits bacteria can offer include preventing pathogens from colonising the skin surface, either by competing for nutrients, secreting chemicals against them, or stimulating the skin’s immune system.
Alterations to the bacterial community structure or overgrowth of pathogenic microbes can cause problems including atopic dermatitis, acne, redness, irritation, accelerated skin aging, and more.

Every time you touch your face, or use insufficiently cleansed makeup tools you transfer bacteria to your face which can disrupt the skin barrier and expose your skin to stress.  Cleaning your makeup tools regularly, proper storage and good skin cleansing routine can maximise all the effort you put into your skincare regimen. 

Our beautiful ECM Advanced Repair Nourishing Cleanser has been specially formulated to keep your skin barrier healthy.  This soap and sulfate-free rinse off formula retains the balance of the skin’s pH leaving it nourished, hydrated, supple and soft, yet thoroughly cleansed. The condition of our skin barrier and the skin’s pH have a direct impact on our microbiome.
The skin microbiome prefers a relatively acidic environment (pH around 5.0), which also inhibits the growth of pathogens, thus protects us from infections. Whereas the opportunistic bacteria—the dysbiotic players—do better at a higher, more alkaline pH. Therefore alkaline topical products can contribute to increased risk of skin issues.
 
Another way our microbiome plays an important role in our health is its function in 'educating' our immune system.

There is now little doubt that microbial exposure early in life is important for the development of competent immune function. While the dominant focus has been on the role of the gut , it is now being discovered that disruption of skin colonisation can also play a role in both local and systemic disruption of our immune system and chronic inflammation.

ALBIVA products contain many herbal extracts with anti-inflammatory properties, essential fatty acids and ceramides which keep the barrier healthy. Our airless containers prevent bacterial contamination and the products have been formulated within the pH range of the healthy skin to support the favourable environment of  your microbiome.