The Skin Microbiome
Did you know that millions of bacteria, viruses, and fungi cover the surface of your skin? It might sound scary, but it’s a good thing! These microbes make up your skin microbiome. Like the bacteria that live in our gut, the bacteria on our skin are essential for our health. They educate our immune systems, prevent bad bacteria from growing, and support the skin barrier.
The skin microbiome and acne
Acne begins when hormones cause the overproduction of sebum (oil), mixing with dead skin cells to clog pores. Bacteria trapped in the pores multiply and cause the redness and inflammation we associate with pimples. The specific bacterium related to acne is called C. acnes (formerly known as P. acnes). This large growth of C. acnes lowers the overall diversity of the bacteria and causes an imbalance in the skin microbiome.
Confusingly, though, almost everyone has C. acnes on their skin, but not everyone has acne. In fact, C. acnes is thought to be a beneficial skin bacterium that’s involved with maintaining a healthy skin barrier.
Why do only some people get acne?
Even though social media and movies are filled with clear skin, don’t let those filters fool you. About 80% of people will experience acne at some point in their lives, making it the most common skin condition in the U.S. Why people experience different degrees of acne is still unknown. Some studies suggest that having specific strains of C. acnes increases your likelihood of experiencing inflammatory acne.
Also, since multiple factors come together to start acne, C. acnes alone will not be the only determining factor for breakouts. C. acnes prefers the low-oxygen environment of clogged pores. Without excess sebum and dead skin cells clogging pores, C. acnes cannot thrive and proliferate.
How to treat acne
Since acne is a complicated condition, multiple products are needed to treat it. The #FOBO (Fear of Breaking Out) Acne Kit contains a combination of products that are able to unclog pores, calm sebum production, and balance the microbiome to address the causes and not just the symptoms of acne.