New research has found the skin microbiome begins after right after birth with a multitude of immune responses. Researchers at the University of California San Francisco have found an important part of the skin microbiome is established within hours of being born. There is large T-cell activity creating a “tolerance” in the immune system to the bacteria on the skin. This is critical for the immune system to know not to attack the normal and healthy bacteria on the baby’s skin.
Wide use of antibiotics in mothers just before or during labor, and in baby after birth may have some serious consequences. Antibiotic exposure that damages the skin microbiome in infancy may compromise the development of tolerance, allowing for the development of autoimmunity. The research shows that if the window is missed, it is difficult, if not impossible, to recreate as an adult.
“One major clinical implication of this study is giving antibiotics to a child in early neonatal life is likely a disservice because this will limit the amount and type of bacteria that is seen by the adaptive immune system and this could be linked to the development of autoimmune, inflammatory skin diseases later in life,” said Rosenblum.
While we can't recreate proper immune system and skin bacteria interaction after the newborn window closes, there are things we can do to encourage a healthy skin biome through life.
~Soil based organisms contain probiotics. It's ok to get a little dirty. Refraining from using antibacterial soaps and over washing the skin helps. Even if taking oral probiotics, they do not contain the same strains you would get from the spore-forming bacteria in soil based organisms. Who knew? So get a little dirty! (Studies have shown people who grow up on farms have a healthier balance in their bodies. Same goes for people with dogs because dogs play in the dirt!)
~Use skin probiotics. You definitely want to use products that do not interfere with the body's natural microbiome. This includes anything synthetic in things like cleansers, hair care, and laundry soap. But it is just as important to use products that contain probiotics to restore the natural microbiome in the skin. This is now proving to be crucial, given the chemical onslaught surrounding us, even if we DO use chemical free products!
~Believe it or not, sweating is good for you. It contributes to a healthy skin bacteria count, possibly serving as a prebiotic (food to help probiotics flourish).
The more you know....