Cultivating a healthy skin microbiome

Most of the discussion in health circles about the microbiome centers on the gut. However, most people are also aware that there is a skin microbiome covering the entire exterior of the body. Have you ever wondered if there is a way that you can feed the skin microbiota directly? I was wondering about this a few months ago and stumbled onto colloidal oatmeal, a substance that has been used for decades to provide symptomatic relief for chronic skin conditions. Its mechanism of action is poorly understood, but there is now some evidence that the mechanism is related to the colloidal oatmeal directly feeding beneficial skin microbiota.

Colloidal oatmeal has long been recognized as a skin protectant and it’s included on the FDA monograph to treat eczema,” Dr. Zeichner said. “We are now gaining a greater understanding of how it works.”

It has been widely accepted as a prebiotic for gut health, but data suggests benefits for the skin too. It can increase skin hydration, decrease skin pH, and improve microbial diversity. In addition to anti-inflammatory and skin soothing properties, colloidal oatmeal exhibits prebiotic benefits to enhance growth of healthy bacteria on the skin.