The Importance of Microbiome-Focused Skincare


The skincare category that’s changing the face of beauty

As the topic of nurturing a healthy skin barrier becomes more and more mainstream, Codex Beauty Labs believes in leading the charge with research, efficacy, and results—delivering multi-tasking microbiome-focused skincare.

Invested, smart consumers (that’s YOU) are thrilled about the necessary changes happening in the beauty landscape, and we couldn’t be more excited! We’re thrilled there’s a growing demand for planet-friendly, microbiome-focused skincare taking place now more than ever.

But first, it’s important to address what microbiome-friendly skincare exactly is and why we place such a strong emphasis on this game-changing scientific approach to beauty.


What Is The Skin Microbiome

Your skin’s microbiome, sometimes called the skin flora or acid mantle, is made up of colonies of living microbes (also referred to as microorganisms/microbiota consisting of invisible bacteria, fungi, and viruses most of which are  harmless and beneficial for healthy skin). Your skin’s microbiome is a crucial component of your skin barrier, which acts as the first line of defense to protect against harmful germs, infections and external influences.

As told recently to Well+Good by Dr. Barb Paldus, Biotech Scientist & Founder of Codex Beauty Labs: “The microbiome strengthens the skin barrier and serves as the first line of defense against pathogens and infections. It communicates with our immune system to call for help during SOS situations. It minimizes damage from UV rays and environmental pollutants by taking the hit for us. It retains moisture, slows the signs of aging, and helps us heal from cuts and scrapes and burns.”

What Is Microbiome-Driven Skincare

Because maintaining your skin microbiome is crucial to skin barrier functioning and overall skin health, Codex Beauty Labs focuses on building and maintaining a healthy and thriving skin barrier. For us, skin barrier-focused skincare means nourishing skin flora and supporting microbiome diversity through the use of ingredients that help support the microbiome while reinforcing the skin barrier’s physical layer by minimizing oxidative stress and helping to reduce inflammation. By improving skin barrier health, we reduce transepidermal water loss thereby helping skin retain its moisture so that it looks and feels soft and supple.

To get you started with a game plan on how to repair and strengthen your skin’s barrier while at the same time supporting skin’s microbiome, we’ve created a fresh, daily routine for doing so—and best of all it doesn’t break the bank, take a boat load of time to practice or a ton of space on your bathroom counter.

A microbiome-friendly skincare routine advocates a less is more beauty regimen. Our skincare approach is gentle, supportive, and simple—we believe you can make a bigger impact on your skin by using fewer, but better, products. And you end up depositing less of the packaging in the recycling bin which is good for the planet’s macrobiome!

Here are a few of our microbiome multi-taskers and how to use them.

Antü Brightening Moisturizer

As featured on The Cut as a favorite moisturizer of Stephanie Shepherd, daily use of our Antü Brightening Moisturizer helps to prime the skin in order to help defend itself from environmental pollutants and irritants by reinforcing the skin’s barrier, aiding in UV recovery and refining pores. Apply after serum but before SPF usage. MyMicrobiome certified too.

Bia Skin Superfood

Recognized on Well+Good as a best-pick for microbiome-friendly skincare, our Skin Superfood is a head-to-toe soothing moisturizer! It’s designed to protect the skin barrier while soothing dry, flaky, irritated skin on contact. Everyday Microbiome-Friendly Beauty Hack: Use Bia Skin Superfood immediately after hand sanitizing to keep your hands from cracking and reverse the damage to your microbiome caused by their use. Another trick is to apply a thick layer overnight that acts as a mask for extra hydration.

Bia Exfoliating Wash

Support your microbiome by cleansing your skin with our microbiome-supporting exfoliating wash that is free of harsh, abrasive ingredients and leaves your skin feeling and looking supple, not parched. We love that it’s gentle enough to use morning and night. Additionally, clinical results have shown that 74% of test subjects experienced a 14% decrease in trans epidermal water loss in four weeks proving that its daily use helps skin retain moisture and stay hydrated.

What causes microbiome imbalance?

As was mentioned above, in order for the microbiome to function properly, it must be properly balanced. There are, unfortunately, numerous intrinsic and extrinsic factors that can tip the balance in favor of the pathogens. Examples of intrinsic factors include a person’s age, genetic makeup, and health. The aging process causes the body to produce less sweat and oil which the beneficial microorganisms of the microbiome need for sustenance.

The lack of adequate supply of such nutrients has a negative impact on the microbiome making it less capable of effectively doing its job of protecting the body from pathogens. Consequently, as the skin’s barrier function weakens, skin becomes dry, flaky and irritated triggering a response by the body’s immune system that leads to skin inflammation. Similarly, a person’s inherent genetic makeup can affect the composition and diversity of their skin microbiome in a way that prevents it from being and/or remaining balanced. The health of an individual also plays a key role in the proper functioning of their skin microbiome. Poor health and/or disease will also negatively impact the microbiome’s composition and balance by unnecessarily triggering certain biological processes associated with the body’s immune system that lead to excess inflammation and a shift in microbiome balance.

Examples of extrinsic factors include the climate in which a person lives, as well as their personal hygiene routine. When it comes to climate, whether hot, cold, dry, humid or some combination thereof, these variations will influence the composition and balance of the microbiome. Exposure to excessive amounts of UV radiation and pollutants will cause the skin to become compromised (ex. sunburn) which in turn will throw of the microbiome’s balance, rendering it more susceptible to attack by foreign pathogens.As for personal hygiene, few people realize the impact it has on the microbes colonizing their skin. For example, the simple act of washing one’s face can have a dramatic impact on the microbiome. Not only are microbes physically removed from the skin’s surface by the actual washing process but, depending on the type of cleanser used, the skin’s pH can also be unfavorably altered. Beneficial microbes require an acidic environment in order to survive and thrive. The exterior surface of the skin has a pH of around 5 (acidic). Use of an alkaline product (pH around 8 or higher) to cleanse one’s skin will, in turn, increase the skin’s surface pH to a more alkaline level, thereby impacting colonies of beneficial microbes that cannot survive in such an environment. Similarly, the application of cosmetic products that are more alkaline in nature because of the ingredients contained therein, also increase the pH of the skin’s surface resulting in the microbiome becoming unbalanced.

Is properly hydrated skin important to the skin microbiome?

When it comes to the interplay between moisture and the microbiome, there is not much current information available on this topic. However, one connection between the two that scientists have observed relates to the diversity and number of microorganisms that reside on hydrated versus dry skin, particularly with respect to the bacteria genus (family) whose members (species) are known to be associated with acne formation, i.e., Propionibacterium genus and, specifically, its P. acnes species.This acne-related bacteria family contains lipophilic (oily) skin commensals that are typically found in sebum-rich areas of the skin like the head, chest and back where acne formation is typically most problematic. Studies have shown that well hydrated areas of the skin contain fewer members of this acne-related family of bacteria. Hence, there appears to be a correlation between increased hydration levels and decreased sebum content/production. Consequently, one can extrapolate this finding to conclude that properly hydrated skin may decrease one’s chances of developing acne due to a decrease in the number of P. acnes residing in the microbiome at that hydrated location on the skin. SummaryWhile there are certain strategies that can currently be employed to both support and maintain microbiome balance like eating properly, exercising and avoiding the use of pH lowering (i.e. alkaline) products on the skin, this field of science is still under development so stay tuned.

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