Your Face’s Dirty Lit­tle Se­cret

The beauty-boost­ing truth about bac­te­ria

Cosmopolitan (South Africa) - - CONTENTS -

RIGHT NOW, THERE ARE about one-tril­lion bac­te­ria on your skin. Don’t worry: it’s a good thing! They make up an ecosys­tem known as the skin mi­cro­biome, which keeps your com­plex­ion happy and healthy. But our mod­ern­day ob­ses­sion with be­ing squeaky-clean and germ-free – along with other fac­tors such as UV ra­di­a­tion, pol­lu­tion and top­i­cal med­i­ca­tion – can re­duce or in­crease the amount of cer­tain bac­te­ria, wreak­ing havoc on skin. Num­bers aren’t the only things that mat­ter: di­ver­sity (host­ing a va­ri­ety of bac­te­ria) is just as cru­cial. Re­search has linked shifts in the mi­cro­biome to in­flam­ma­tory is­sues such as eczema, pso­ri­a­sis, rosacea and acne. To en­sure your cleans­ing habits are help­ing, not hurt­ing, fol­low these three steps.


Face washes with strong cleans­ing agents such as sul­phates can cre­ate a bac­te­rial im­bal­ance. Look for milder op­tions, with key­words such as ‘soap-free’ or ‘milk’ – we like the mild cleans­ing lotion by Ce­taphil. Fre­quent wash­ing can also dis­turb the skin mi­cro­biome, so rinse with only warm wa­ter in the morn­ing. CE­TAPHIL Gen­tle Cleans­ing Lotion (R183)


Dry skin favours the growth of po­ten­tially in­va­sive bac­te­ria. Hy­dra­tion, on the other hand, helps pro­tect the phys­i­cal bar­rier and main­tain a healthy mi­cro­biome. Best-case sce­nario? When a mois­turiser con­tains niaci­namide – it will help boost the skin’s re­pair mech­a­nisms. SVR Sen­sifine Flu­ide Dermo- Sooth­ing Fluid Niaci­namide 2% + Cot­ton Oil 6% (R355)


Acne treat­ments such as ben­zoyl per­ox­ide don’t know the dif­fer­ence be­tween bad and good bac­te­ria. ‘Killing off ev­ery­thing is not the an­swer,’ says der­ma­tol­o­gist Adam Friedman. So­lu­tion: a serum en­riched with in­gre­di­ents such as vi­ta­min E, which will not only deeply hydrate and soothe, but also re­vive dull and tired skin. BIOMEDICAL EMPORIUM Vi­ta­min E Ther­apy (R615)

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