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Educate & Regenerate: Protecting our body's Ecosystem 'the Skin Microbiome'

This weeks Educate & Regenerate series explores the Skin Microbiome, the universe of biodiverse life being lived right at the surface of our skin.

The second episode of Star Seed's Educate & Regenerate Series about empowering the voice of the Regeneration.

Hello Star Seed readers and Happy Friday!

It is time for an Educate & Regenerate read. I’m Sauda, a 2nd year Biochemistry student at Oxford University and one of my big passions is learning about how biology and biochemistry affect us as humans and our health. This summer, I am doing an internship with Star Seed, with the role of researching the science behind Star Seed’s botanical products. My goal is to educate and reconnect Star Seed’s community to how nature affects our health and empower people in their skin-related choices. Today, we are diving into the Skin Microbiome, a fascinating universe of biodiverse life being lived right at the surface of our skin.

This weeks Educate & Regenerate series explores the Skin Microbiome, the universe of biodiverse life being lived right at the surface of our skin. Here is Ed with Forest Cream.

What is the Skin Microbiome

The idea of bacterial cells, fungi and viruses living in our bodies sounds scary but it's true. There are about 39 trillion microbiota cells found in the human body, with 1000 different species found just on the skin alone. But why do we need so many on our skin? Well, the skin is the largest organ of the body, controlling many essential functions. Its primary role is to act as a protective barrier against disease and to prevent water and nutrients from leaving the body. The microbiota, or flora, help us carry out these functions, so it is essential that we protect this delicate and sacred community.

Skin flora are often found to be mutualistic creatures i.e. both us and the bacterial cells benefit. Bacteria can often prevent disease-causing bacteria (pathogens) from entering the body by competing with them, releasing antimicrobial compounds or by just stimulating our immune system. Moreover, their presence can trigger low levels of antibodies in our blood, which enhance our immunity against invasive bacteria that can cause disease. Research shows that the skin flora also protects us from harmful UV rays, which are known to cause skin cancer. This highlights the importance of our skin flora and nature to our personal health, and why we should be taking extra measures to nourish our skin. At Star Seed we like to call it rewilding your skin.

This weeks Educate & Regenerate series explores the Skin Microbiome, the universe of biodiverse life being lived right at the surface of our skin.

Taking Care of the Skin Flora

Dysbiosis is the term used to describe an imbalance in the microbiota present in parts of your body. This can be caused by any number of things including a change in your diet, the use of certain medications or antibiotics, poor dental hygiene, infections, chemicals and excessive alcohol consumption and many more.

With regards to the skin microbiome, it is proven that the use of antimicrobial hand sanitisers and soaps, whilst important for hygiene and preventing illness, does harm the skin microbiota, contributing to skin dysbiosis and can even cause antibiotic resistance. Skin dysbiosis is associated with many conditions such as eczema, acne, psoriasis, allergies, dermatitis and many others. Moreover, chlorinated tap water, as well as the presence of alcohol and harsh preservatives present in many products can disrupt and damage our skin microbiome.

There are several ways in which we can manage our skin flora and help it thrive. The average pH of the skin is between 4-4.5. This PH creates the perfect environment for mutualistic and beneficial bacteria.

In alkaline, higher pH conditions, bacteria tend to shed off. Soaps can have high pHs of up to 10 so caution should be taken when using certain soaps.

Moreover, the gut microbiome is heavily linked to the skin microbiome. Often we see how damage to the gut can seriously affect the skin and there is a strong connection between the gut and the prevalence of acne. Eating a healthy well balanced plant rich diet, coupled with a high intake of water can definitely improve both the gut and skin flora.

Other than the obvious benefits, exercise also improves the skin through the production of sweat and the increase of blood flow and oxygen. Sweat is a valuable prebiotic for our skin flora whilst the increase of fresh blood provides nutrients for our microbiome.

This weeks Educate & Regenerate series explores the Skin Microbiome, the universe of biodiverse life being lived right at the surface of our skin.

Pre, pro and post - what are biotica?

Prebiotics are nutrients that feed the ‘good’ bacteria in our microbiome, enabling them to thrive, and increasing the diversity of our flora. Probiotics are microorganisms that give us certain health benefits and are suitable for consumption. However, probiotics should be taken with caution and not in excess, as too much of one bacteria, good or bad, leads to decreased diversity and an imbalance in the microbiome. Post-biotics are the nutrients and metabolites produced by the microbiome, including vitamins B12 and K, amino acids and fatty acids. Many organic foods contain pre- and post-biotics such as apples, almonds, onions, mushrooms and broccoli. Incorporating even a small amount of these fruits and vegetables into our meals can improve our gut health, reduce inflammation and redness, and restore our skin barrier.

This weeks Educate & Regenerate series explores the Skin Microbiome, the universe of biodiverse life being lived right at the surface of our skin.

Connecting our Skin with Nature - the Soil Microbiome

The soil microbiota is the collection of microorganisms found in soil, affecting various processes and soil properties. These bacteria make nutrients and minerals in the soil that plants can then utilise. If you think of our gut microbiome and skin microbiome as our body’s soil, you start to see how Earth’s skin (soil) and its relationship with our body’s skin (soil) is the foundation of everything. The amount of nutrients we receive in our food & skincare are sourced through plants grown in healthy soils. The richer the soil is, the greater the energy exchange. Even just physical contact with nature massively influences our skin and overall health. In recent years however, global biodiversity has decreased significantly due to many factors.

These include the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides in agriculture, pollution, the destruction of forests and as a consequence, climate change. As a result, the earth has lost a devastating 70% of its overall biodiversity with The UN reporting that 40% of soils now degraded worldwide. This has been correlated with the skin microbiome losing about 80% of its diversity. This just goes to show how humans mirror the environment around them. It also shows that once we as humans start taking care of the Earth, our health will also improve.

In fact, we are so impacted by the local environment we live in that it’s one of the leading factors in differences and variations in people’s flora. Studies show that going outside and getting in touch with nature, whilst also good for your general wellness, can do wonders for your microbiome. As the world becomes more and more industrialised and urban, this may seem like more of challenge.

Yet, here is a simple way to reconnect your body with nature: grounding. Grounding or earthing, is the name for therapeutic techniques that realign your electrical energy with the earth’s. Clinical studies show that these methods can improve your physical health, boost immunity, reduce inflammation and decrease your stress levels. Some techniques include walking barefoot, lying in the forest and gardening.

At Star Seed, we often work outside and take regular breaks to fully absorb nature's regenerative powers. We encourage everyone to explore nature as often as possible, taking in the fresh air and reconnecting. Also with every one of our products we make sure we carry this regenerative power. This starts with where we source our indigenous plants. The fact they are wild & grown in rich biodiverse areas is paramount. Alongside The LEAF, we go the extra mile to protect and restore biodiversity in critical growing regions in Kilifi, coastal Kenya.

This weeks Educate & Regenerate series explores the Skin Microbiome, the universe of biodiverse life being lived right at the surface of our skin.

How Star Seed Helps You Take Care of Your Skin Flora

Star Seed’s raison d'etre is to restore, repair and regenerate the skin microbiome. Our products avoid any presence of unnatural preservatives and are anhydrous (water-free). We also use pure botanical and indigenous plants, many of which are referenced in ancient wisdom and folklore. Baobab, a star ingredient in our Forest Cream are wild foraged for their super-fruits in the Tana River District in Kenya. These ancient trees, often living 1,000+ years have long remedied African communities for colds, flu, smallpox and measles. Packed full of vitamin C, antioxidants & Omega-3 they repair the skin barrier and create a super smooth emollient in our day cream.

Likewise Nigella Seeds, one of the star ingredients in our Moon Cream, is known as the ‘universal healer’ in the region and is foraged by tribal communities in Marsabit, Kenya and have long cured migraines, inflammation, and hypertension. These seeds carry linoleic acid which improve the lipid barrier helping strengthen and maintain skin cell integrity helping treat hyperpigmentation and reduce the appearance of fine lines.

Our new ingredient in our Star Serum is Sea Buckthorn berries, which grows wild in UK and can easily be planted & harvested to enhance biodiversity. This berry contains omega fatty acids, repairing the skin barrier and leaving you hydrated. By using natural, raw botanicals, Star Seed ensures that your skin microbiome is healthily maintained, diverse and wild. This reduces the risk of eczema, psoriasis and acne, repairing our natural skin barrier.

On reflection

I think we need to remember that nature is all around us but also within us. The skin flora is essentially a mini-ecosystem of microorganisms found on our skin, protecting us from disease and making sure all essential nutrients remain in/on our skin. Protecting the skin microbiome and ensuring diversity will lead to many benefits and healthier skin. Furthermore, the soil microbiome is intrinsically linked to our microbiome and taking care of soil diversity will increase our biodiversity and resilience. Join the regeneration and restoration of Earth and Skin biodiversity today with Star Seed, your body will thank you for it.



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