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Our skin

Skin is comprised primarily of water, protein, fats and minerals. Along with your hair, nails, sweat and oil glands, it’s part of the body’s integumentary (outer covering) system. It plays host to vast communities of microbes that we’ve evolved alongside of over millions of years.

But daily use of cleansers to wash off makeup and other substances can wreak havoc on the diversity of this army of helpful microbes. Using a Lumanitas Facial can help shift the balance of organisms on skin back toward a healthy equilibrium, while deeply nourishing, gently exfoliating, and helping repair damage to the protective lipid barrier.

Epidermis

The cells in this outermost layer of skin are very sensitive to environmental factors – they need to be to tell our brains whether things are cold or hot, sharp or smooth, wet or dry. They are also constantly rejuvenating themselves without any help from us (every two to four weeks depending on lifestyle factors and age). The very top layer of dead cells will eventually fall off on their own with no intervention, but need only warm water and the friction generated by rubbing our hands against them to slough off straight away.

Disturbing the skin barrier by constantly washing it and applying myriad products is changing the microbiome in unnatural and problematic ways.

Sebum

What you see as pores are the openings for hair follicles. Glands attached to the lower part of the follicles in the dermis layer of the skin emit the dreaded sebum – a waxy, greasy-looking substance causes that oily look that we tend not to like. The problem with trying to get rid of it is that sebum has some pretty important jobs. Sebum:

Over-cleansing, exfoliating, and using harsh products strips sebum and the precious barrier of lipids that we need to lock in moisture, maintain skin tone and protect against elements and outside invaders including pollution and pathogens. When we extirpate it too often by over-washing, or mess with its balance by splodging on products, we leave our skin vulnerable to the elements. We should avoid doing this as much as possible and add a pre and probiotic-rich treatment to our regimen at least twice a week to help restore a healthy microbiome.

Acid Mantle and pH

The surface of our skin is naturally acidic, with a pH around 5 (7 is neutral.) This acidity is important to maintain as a first line defense against potentially dangerous microbes and bacteria. For the plentiful and diverse community of microbiota our skin calls home to survive and flourish, skin needs to maintain this naturally acidic environment.

Putting products with a pH higher than 5 on your skin disturbs its natural acidity. Most true soaps are quite alkaline, with a pH around 9 or 10. Even many gentle cleansers are still closer to 7 – too high for beneficial microbes to thrive and high enough for bad bacteria so live comfortably (the acidity of our skin helps naturally keep bad bugs at bay).

Lumanitas uses whole fruit and other naturally acidic ingredients to formulate our facials to a pH below. This carefully crafted formulation removes dead skin cells and the grime of the day without disturbing its protective, acidic barrier.

Dermis

The dermis – the middle layer of skin – is where fresh cells are made. Throughout this layer a weave of elastin and collagen proteins crisscross, creating a strong, elastic-like structure. When your skin gets stretched, it’s this matrix that allows it to spring back. As you age, and these fibers become fewer, leaving your skin less able to recover from stressors. This process can be sped up several ways:

Keep this vital layer of skin churning out fresh cells by avoiding harmful substances and engaging in healthy habits like eating well, exercising, getting plenty of sleep and looking after your microbiome.

Hypodermis

This is the subcutaneous layer of skin made of fat and connective tissue. It produces sweat, stores energy, insulates, and connects your skin to muscles and bones. It also houses the fat that gives skin the plump, full look that lessens as we age. The hypodermis thins over time, which causes sagging.

The hypodermis contains fibroblasts – cells that secrete collagen proteins to create the collagen and elastin matrix that gives our skin its youthful structure.

The same things that protect and support the other layers of skin into old age – and keep things like volume loss at bay for as long as possible – are the usual: safe sun, healthy food, exercise, sleep and maintaining a diverse microbiome. No amount of dermal filler or miracle medical procedure can undo the damage not taking care of yourself both inside and out will inflict.

Taking care of all three layers of your skin will affect the way it looks and performs now and in the decades to come. Best practices that apply to everyone include: