At this point, we’ve been using a ton of hand sanitizer, we’ve been scrubbing our hands until they bleed (well not quite but nearly) and we’ve been so careful about being “dirty”. Good hygiene is definitely important…but have we gone too far during these unprecedented times? Our skin is the largest organ of our body and serves as a barrier to the outside world.
We have millions of bacteria, fungi, viruses that make up the microbiota of our skin; this has been an evolutionary process with great meaning and these bacteria, fungi and viruses actually benefit our health! Like the microbiome of our gut, the microbiome of our skin plays a vital role in the maintenance and education of our highly functioning immune system and, helps to protect us against pathogens.
As with all other aspects of health, the skin microbiome must be in a balanced state so that it can successfully do its job. When the microbiome is altered (dysbiosis), skin diseases could develop (acne, eczema and wounds) and the dysbiosis potentially impact our immune system too.
So, how do we maintain proper hygiene AND keep our immune systems functioning optimally without messing with the skin microbiome that is vital in the maintenance of good health?
The use of hand sanitizers can become dangerous because the anti-microbial properties of such products is non-specific, which means that both “good” and “bad” microbiota are destroyed during use. Therefore, if we have dysbiosis from the use of such products, the barrier of the skin is compromised and leaves us vulnerable to pathogens. These products can also irritate the skin and cause inflammation, breakouts, cracks, irritation etc.
What can you do? Wash your hands with soap instead of using a harsh hand sanitizer, use natural moisturizers (to keep the skim moist and encourage the homeostasis of the microbiome) and make sure that your gut microbiome is on point to encourage the same for your skin microbiome! Of course, other health maintaining protocols like proper hydration, nutrition, supplementation, rest, exercise and FUN will help keep you in tip top shape.
Here’s to your great health.
- Healthy skin , Wellness , Healthy lifestyle , Health and wellness , Healthy skin , Health , Good health , Microbiome , Good hygiene , Soap and water