Beauty was not simply something to behold;
it was something one could do.
Toni Morrison

Our skin, this moist envelope of our soul, is a living, breathing, and regenerating tissue. This miraculous medium is the real estate coveted by every cosmetic that aims to penetrate pores, solve insecurities, and systematize skin types. And yet, glowing, radiant skin evades so many.

Dry, oily, and combination skin, as well as common skin issues such as acne, blackheads, eczema, melasma, and premature aging and age spots are all manifestations of bacterial imbalance. Symptoms vary from subtle to severe, yet they all point toward skin microbial mismanagement.

Our skin is a tapestry teeming with microbes; we live our lives in perpetual bacterial bloom, a whole ecosystem resides on the surface and in the multilayers of our skin. Our cutaneous microbiome is in constant contact with the immune, digestive, nervous, and hormonal systems, and its disruption results in dysbiosis, which affects the healthy texture of the skin. The unfriendly microbes that cause imbalances live on everyone’s skin. Yet, when microbial diversity mutates and plummets, pathogenic bacteria breed and trigger skin issues. Our skin needs bacterial diversity to thrive and to keep the flora friendly instead of fostering the frenemies that cause disruption and disease.

Most modern skincare routines suppress the beauty of this symbiotic system. The bacteria domesticating our dermis are altered by what is applied topically. Studies show that surfactants in cosmetics dissolve our skin’s natural ceramides, enzymes, and hydro-lipid barrier. delicate layer. This creates a vicious cycle of dermal dysbiosis and premature skin conditions that are difficult to escape – redness, acne, melasma, dryness, and irritated skin.

For beauty’s sake, we must befriend our bacteria. Bacteria are the best beautician. By outsourcing our beauty routines, we let microbes micromanage our skincare with their beauty-stimulating secretions that clean pores, plump pores, and keep skin strong and supple. A healthy microbiome is your best friend forever and works like the best beauty cream ever!

Aside from Photoshop, the most beneficial way to achieve beautiful skin is to maintain a microbiome of beautifying bacteria by following these three steps: stop, seal, and seed.

Stop using synthetic cosmetics. Give your bathroom a makeover and set free the toxic bottles of empty promises that claimed to quick-fix or correct skin type and advertised active ingredients with hype. There is no need for synthetics to feel fresh and be clean.

Stop using soap on skin. Seriously, no foaming the face and body with soap, ever, except pits and bits. We also want to stop showering in chlorine that kills friendly flora. If municipal tap water is pouring from your faucets, use a shower filter.

And, stop applying questionable “natural” products. Just because there is an image of lavender fields on the label does not mean the bottle is full of intelligent ingredients. Rancidity, refinement, and hidden ingredients mean that not all “naturals” nourish the skin. Know your source and do your research.

After we have stepped away from the bottles of synthetics we can bring in a bevy of botanicals. Plants are cosmic chemists, endlessly assembling the molecules of the world, and we live by the grace of this assembly. It is the life force of this plant perfection that we want to mix and meld with our microbiome.

The next step in sealing the skin is to repair the hydro-lipid barrier by washing with pure plant oils. It may seem strange, washing with oils, yet it is one of the top things that will turn your skin around. People think that oil will leave their skin feeling oily and less than clean, though this isn’t the case when organic, authentic, fresh-pressed botanical oils are used.

Pure, organic oils, such as the gorgeous golden jojoba in all of our Best Skin Evers, is made of loving lipids that lubricate the skin so that makeup and dirt are gently whisked away and the hydro-lipid barrier is left intact. In fact, cleansing with these oils also stabilizes our beneficial skin bacteria and enhances protection from pathogenic bacteria. Soothing serums of seabuckthorn and jojoba deliver skin-loving phospholipids and balance the biome to keep cells perfectly plump. When nature provides such exquisite and effective elements to graciously attend to our skin, we must see the use of synthetic cleansers as the definition of insanity.

Not all oils are created equally, though. There are many “natural” oils that will never go near my skin! Grapeseed, peach kernel, sunflower, and almond oils are often rancid and ineffective right off the shelf.

The third step is to reseed the skin and the guts with beneficial bacteria. The skin and the guts are inexplicably bound, and both healthy skin and healthy guts are lined with billions of beneficial microbes. Gut bacterial imbalance results in chronic inflammation that can diminish collagen and contribute to rapid aging. Research indicates that a flourishing body-wide microbiome, boosted by oral probiotics to help reintroduce some missing microbe species to improve diversity, can help skin be less sensitive to UV rays, prevent cell abnormality, regulate collagen production, and more!

Topical Application
When applied topically, probiotics provide bacterial balance to the skin, which prevents harmful bacteria from predominating and creating an inflammatory immune response. Friendly flora naturally produces antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) that gently prevent bacterial infections, and these precious secretions are invulnerable to antibiotic resistance. AMPs improve healing and day to day skin health by encouraging cell growth and proliferation in addition to protecting the skin from infection.

Beyond ingesting probiotics, topically applied probiotics rebuilds microbial diversity that has been depleted by common skincare chemicals, balances the biome of the epidermal layers, boosts the skin’s innate immunity, strengthens the stratum corneum and lipid layers, nourishes and maintains the acid mantle, increases natural ceramide and lipid production, harmonizes the skin to receive the sun’s rays, balances the sebaceous glands, alleviates fungal and bacterial rashes, assists in healing scars and wounds, and supports collagen synthesis. Probiotics perfect the skin’s performance in processing environmental factors, such as wind, cold and heat, over-exposure to the sun, free-radicals, toxins, and pollution. This is especially effective at calming flare-ups of acne, spots, rosacea, eczema, premature aging, redness, and all inflammatory conditions.

Simply stated, applying live microorganisms pumps up the skin’s natural defenses for a smooth, even, and healthy complexion. With all these benefits, methods to deliver probiotics to the dermis are in scientific and medical development. Yet, we don’t have to wait! Simply open a probiotic capsule, add it to a wholesome skin serum or honey mask, and apply.

Nothing understands what healthy skin needs more than intelligent bacteria. No chemical-cream will ever desire vitality for you more than a thriving microbiome. Bless your bacterial diversity and replenish your beauty with bacteria-friendly botanicals, and then revel in the perfection you were born with.


Nadine Artemis, the founder of Living Libations, is the author of Holistic Dental Care: The Complete Guide to Healthy Teeth and Gums, and Renegade Beauty: Reveal and Revive Your Natural Radiance, which was named one of “The Top 10 Books on Skin Care” by The Strategist of New York Magazine. She is a respected media guest and contributor, and her products have received rave reviews in the New York Times, LA Times, Elle, People, Vogue, and Hollywood Reporter. Described by Alanis Morissette as “a true-sense visionary,” Nadine crafts elegant formulations and healing creations from rare botanicals that have skin glowing around the world. Her concept of Renegade Beauty encourages effortlessness and inspires people to rethink conventional notions of beauty and wellness.