If you're dealing with eczema flare-ups, board-certified dermatologist Julie Russak, MD, FAAD recommends befriending your skin microbiome—that is to say, learning about it, supporting it, and caring for it, just like you would do with a real-life friend.
To check off the learning-about-it box, here's a quick definition: "The skin microbiome is a complex ecosystem living on the skin," Dr. Russak says. In this invisible system, a variety of microorganisms work symbiotically to create a healthy skin barrier that helps protect your skin from infections, rashes, toxins, irritations, and premature skin aging, she says.
By supporting that skin barrier, you're supporting the health of your skin, which Dr. Russak says people of all skin types should do, but especially those who are prone to eczema. Why? Because eczema is a chronic inflammatory condition, and when the skin's microbiome is out of balance, it triggers inflammation—which can then lead to an eczema flare.
So you've learned about why it's important to support your skin microbiome, now how do you go about actually caring for it? Dr. Russak recommends Gladskin's science-backed, microbiome-friendly skin solutions that offer balance, relief, and restoration. And because a bit of background is always nice when you're making a new friend, she's sharing more details on how the skin's microbiome and eczema are connected—and how to care for it on a daily basis—below.
Keep reading to learn why you should befriend your skin’s microbiome—and how to make it happen.
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The connection between the skin microbiome and eczema
You may have heard about the skin barrier before, but Dr. Russak notes that the protective barrier formed by the skin microbiome is different from the barrier that keeps skin hydrated (who knew the skin had so many layers?). "This is not the same as a lipid barrier or moisture barrier," Dr. Russak says. "It’s an actual full population of bacterial cells living in a symbiotic environment within the skin."
Since its job is to protect the skin, when the skin microbiome is not functioning properly, Dr. Russak says many different conditions can stem from that disruption—including eczema. “People with eczema have a leaky skin barrier that can be more easily over-colonized by flare-causing bacteria,” Dr. Russak says. Patches of flared eczema skin have a very different microbiome population than the rest of your skin—and as a result, many people living with eczema experience an imbalance in their skin's ecosystem.
So how does supporting your microbiome make all of this easier? “A healthy microbiome...provides protection from the outside environment, thus diminishing the symptoms of skin conditions like eczema,” Dr. Russak says. If you’re sold on the benefits of your microscopic protective barrier, but not sure how to make sure you're taking care of it, Dr. Russak has a simple solution.
How to care for your skin's microbiome
Quick reminder: Eczema (among other inflammatory conditions) is seriously common. So if you're feeling discouraged about the state of your skin, know that there are skin-microbiome-supporting ingredients that can help.
To strengthen the skin barrier and infuse your skin with moisture, Dr. Russak recommends ingredients like oatmeal and glycerin. Gladskin Eczema Cream delivers both in one bottle, plus a dose of Micreobalance®—a proprietary smart protein that rebalances your skin microbiome as it moisturizes—in a formula that's clinically proven to reduce eczema itch, redness, and irritation.
To Dr. Russak, that’s a win-win. “Gladskin is unique—using endolysin science, it mimics your skin's natural defenses to restore the microbiome's balance,” she says. “This calms the skin, reduces the look and feel of redness and stinging, and allows it to heal.”
So give yourself some grace next time you see a flare, and give Eczema Cream with Micreobalance® a try. Consider it the mutual friend that’s finally introducing you to your skin microbiome for permanent BFF status.
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