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What Does It Really Mean To Maintain A Biome-Friendly Body?

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We all have a microbiome, whether we think about it or not. Our skin is home to a complex ecosystem of live bacteria that affects our cleanliness, sensitivity, and likelihood of infection. In fact, the probiotics on our bodies make up nearly 3-4 pounds put together!

Basically, the bacteria living among us—and on us, and inside of us—is pretty impossible to ignore. And everyday when we go out into the world and use our myriad beauty and hygiene products, we’re making a choice about how we want to treat those bacteria.

The question is: should we help them or hurt them? In other words, we should all consider what exactly it means to be biome-friendly.

What is “Biome-Friendly,” anyway?

The truth is, our skin microbiome (like all other microbiomes) is incredibly sensitive. External factors as mild as a hot shower or as harsh as a chlorine pool will cause changes in our microbiome. This is normal and expected.

Most of our daily routines, however, have veered hard away from biome-friendly. Think about all the common “enemies” our microbiome encounters at every turn:

  • Hand sanitizer on office desks, in bathrooms, etc.,
  • Antibacterial lotions and soaps,
  • “Cleansing” handles on shopping carts

The environment in which we live and spend time is one of the main determinants of a healthy (or unhealthy) microbiome. So the more sterile our society becomes, the less opportunity skin bacteria has to diversify and flourish.

On the flipside, more time in nature allows for a richer skin microbiome. If we turn away from the excessive use of those harsh chemicals and antibacterials, exposing ourselves to natural elements without wiping them away, the good bacteria on our skin will eventually begin to evolve.

That’s the essence of “biome-friendly.” It’s a back-to-basics, natural skin care approach.

Getting by with a little help from our friends - bacteria!

We now know what it means to be biome-friendly. But why do we want to be?

It’s easy to rely on soaps, antibacterials, and other biome-“unfriendly” (containing bacteria-killing chemicals called anionic surfactants) products in an effort to stay squeaky clean. But here’s the secret: humans evolved to not need those scrubs and potions in the first place.

Believe it or not, our skin has the capacity to stay relatively clean and sensitivity-free solely with the help of beneficial bacteria. Nitrosomonas, a form of Ammonia-Oxidizing-Bacteria (AOB) that we use in our probiotic skin care products, exist for the specific purpose of consuming the irritants in our sweat and keeping our skin happy and healthy. Unfortunately, we hypothesize that our anti-bacterial lifestyles have systematically wiped away these “helpers,” leading to increased skin sensitivity and higher prevalence of related conditions such as dry skin and inflammation.

A few more everyday, non-biome friendly products include:

  • Castile soap
  • Scented lotions and moisturizers
  • Essential oils—thyme, tea tree oil, and lavender all exhibit strong antibacterial activity

But that doesn’t mean the AOBs can’t return to a flourishing state. Remember that the body always wants to go back to equilibrium and puts the proper systems in place to do so. The skin microbiome will recover, especially with the help of a biome-friendly routine.

How does Mother Dirt promote biome-friendliness?

First, it is important to explain why we use our Ammonia-Oxidizing-Bacteria (AOB) as a core part of our “biome-friendly” indication testing. We believe that AOB are a fantastic indicator of impact on the biome because they are quite sensitive. This means that their responses are very easy to measure (even to the smallest of changes in formulations).

Our studies expose the AOB to the ingredient or formula of interest for a set period of time (we try and mimic the length of time of real-world use). We measure the behavior and activity during the incubation period, and then we “rinse” to make sure that the AOB resume normal, happy behavior.

Mother Dirt’s biome-friendly, organic cosmetics include:

  • AO+ Mist: Mother Dirt’s hallmark skin care product contains live bacteria that colonizes on the skin to restore an ideal microbiome.
  • Cleanser: This formula cleans the face and body without harming the mist’s healthy bacteria.
  • Shampoo: Our no-chemical shampoo encourages the microbiome on the scalp while ensuring healthy, strong hair.

This combination is designed specifically to promote and complement a biome-friendly lifestyle. But by slowly eliminating harsh, antimicrobial products from your everyday routine, you can start feeding your microbiome and keeping your skin healthy and irritant-free all on your own.

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