Germophobes beware: if you haven’t had your morning porridge or power smoothie yet, you may like to divert your attention elsewhere. Because this can be a little hard to stomach first thing…
OK, here goes: the plain truth Primpers, is that your skin is crawling with bacteria. Gazillions of ‘em (there’s 2000 just on your elbow! And twice that in your belly button!). Icky as it sounds, foreign bacteria outnumbers your body’s own cells by 10:1. Now – before you rush off to Dettol your digits – we’re not just talking bugs that cause weird fungal growth between toes or flesh-eating skin diseases (you were dutifully warned!). There’s also a whole bunch of friendly flora on the skin’s surface – the kind that helps with everything from boosting your skin’s cellular renewal ability to keeping breakouts and skin irritations at bay. You’ve likely heard us rave about probiotics and fermented foods (think kefir, sauerkraut, yoghurt or kombucha) because they’re full of good bacteria that can improve gut health – and good digestion also means your skin is more likely to glow with good health like Cate’s does here:
But – and here’s the exciting part, Primpers – could these ‘good’ microbes work the same wonders on your skin as they do inside your gut?! Could probiotic skincare banish bad bacteria on the complexion just as yoghurt eliminates unwanted bugs in your tummy?
“New medical studies are showing that the bacteria on the surface of your skin can influence your immune system, making it even more important to use skin care that promotes good flora on the surface of the skin,” says The Beauty Chef creator, Carla Oates. “When you lacto-ferment food, the bacteria pre-digest the food to make the nutrients more available for the body to use. The same goes for skincare – fermented ingredients make the nutrients more bio-available for the skin as they have been broken down to be more easily absorbed as well as more nutritious and active. It turns foods from being super foods to super, super foods!”
And that’s just, well, super! So, here’s the lowdown on where to source skincare teeming with good bacteria:
1. The Beauty Chef Beauty Fix Balm, $24.95 from thebeautychef.com
Hello tropical holiday! That heavenly coconut scent makes it impossible to resist plunging a finger in and slathering this balm on lips (and hands and feet and elbows and knees and anywhere dry…). Seriously yum! Its key ingredient is fermented coconut water, which is rich in electrolytes, vitamins and minerals and which does something super clever – it transforms the amino acids from the grains and seeds (quinoa, brown rice, millet, linseed…) into smaller peptides, which helps your complexion better absorb the skin-smoothing nutrients. Best of all, the fermented ingredients act like a natural preservative system. Genius!