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Struggle with Eczema? This is What Your Skin Microbiome May Look Like

woman with glowing skin, her hands on her cheeks

Our skin is our primary defense against the environment, keeping harmful substances and invading pathogens out, while maintaining internal stability and balance. Our skin defends our body from foreign microbes by forming a microbiome of its own. A microbiome is a community of microorganisms that exist in a particular environment. Our skin provides nearly 30 m2 of diverse microbial habitat. Each person’s skin microbiome hosts a unique ecosystem that can vary across different parts of the body, including the GI tract, urinary tract, and even our armpits! The microbes living on our skin are referred to as commensals, which are microorganisms that are neutral or beneficial for our body. We want these microbes on our skin, because they can take up space - leaving no room for invasive pathogens, keep our skin at an acidic pH, and help in immune response. 

person with eczema all over their arms

In healthy individuals, the skin microbiota is generally stable over time, but those with eczema or atopic dermatitis (AD) tend to have less diversity of bacteria in their microbiome. They can also experience a disruption in the normal community of microorganisms, especially during flare-ups. 

It is common for people with AD to have a type of bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus in their microbiome, which are harmful bacteria that are good at sticking together and hiding from the immune system. It has been found that skin with AD may have S. aureus in a deep layer of the skin, increasing inflammation and swelling. This bacteria is able to go this deep due to a protein it produces called ‘protease’, which breaks down connections between skin cells. This allows the bacteria to push deeper into the skin, and contributes to the flakiness associated with eczema. Our body’s immune system then reacts by releasing chemical messengers - leading to inflammation. If the skin barrier is already compromised, more bacteria can penetrate the skin and increase this immune response.

LEMYKA Calming Cream - an eczema cream for teens and adults containing ceramides that help restore healthy skin barrier functions. It keeps moisture in, and harmful irritants out

Studies have shown that using moisturizers or barrier repair products decreases S. aureus access to the deep layers of skin, and the body’s immune response can be restored to normal levels. A great option for a moisturizer is the LEMYKA Calming Cream, which was intentionally formulated for those struggling with eczema. It not only serves as an intense natural moisturizer (holding moisture in the skin for up to 48 hours) and a natural barrier cream (restoring the skin barrier and fending off environmental irritants and bacteria), it is an itch relief cream - soothing irritation without any feelings of burning or tingling sensations. 

There are also ways to keep a healthy skin microbiome, and one big way is through the microbiome of the gut. Check out our blog post, “Gut microbiome and skin barrier functions” if you are interested in learning more!


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