GQ.com: For Healthy Skin, Just Add…Bacteria?

There is more bacteria on our skin than inside of our body!

Just like your gut, your skin can benefit from the right balance of bacteria. Marketing for soaps and hand sanitizers typically uses scorched-earth language, stuff like “Kills 99.99% of germs!” The idea being: Destroy all bacteria. But that might actually be bad for you—the way antibiotics disturb your body’s chemical makeup. Like your stomach, your skin has a delicate balance of bacteria called a “microbiome.”

“Our bodies are a symbiotic organism that rely heavily on their relationship with bacteria, inside and out,” says Julie E. Russak, MD, founder of Russak Dermatology Clinic. “We have more bacteria on our skin than we do in our body.”

Russak says that the skin microbiome protects us from invasive virus-causing pathogens and maintains the pH function of the skin. (That is, it prevents skin from getting too dry or too oily.) So how can we thwart the bad bacteria without offing the good stuff?

Apparently certain brands are rolling out “biome-friendly” products that specifically work to fortify the skin’s microbiome—like Mother DirtTULA, and even Clinique. They don’t necessarily contain live bacteria (though some do); instead, most contain “pre-biotics,” which stimulate the good stuff. Russak names lactic acid as one example: “It helps against acne and decreases inflammation in sensitive skin, thus restoring the barrier function of the skin, which helps with sensitive skin and eczema,” she says.

Here’s another way to look at it: Instead of an antibacterial approach (“Kill everything!”), these brands buttress the good stuff so that it’s strong enough to fend off the bad stuff on its own. (“Organize and resist!”) Another way to support your skin’s microbiome is to eliminate ingredients that kill the good microbes in the skin—these are typically the ingredients that preserve a product and thus give it a longer shelf life. So while you might sacrifice longevity on that cleanser, you make up for it by not sacrificing the healthy ecology that has effectively sustained humans for, I dunno, hundreds of thousands of years.

Your scalp and hair can benefit from a probiotic approach, too. A microbiome-friendly shampoo helps balance the oil production up top, meaning your hair gets less greasy…meaning you don’t have to shampoo as often. (This is a good thing, since shampoo strips your hair and scalp of its natural, healthy oils that keep them strong.) So, yeah, it’s a shampoo you buy so that you ultimately use shampoo less. Weird, I know, but it’s the same theory as a probiotic approach: Don’t kill the good with the bad! Preserve the good oils and increase your dependence on them, instead of stoking your repulsion to oil as a whole. You’ll have more good hair days because of it.

You can further benefit your skin and body’s microbiomes by maintain a pro-probiotic diet. “Include a wide variety of fresh, whole foods that will activate, replenish, and nourish your body,” says Russak. “And as long as you avoid common irritants such as processed foods, sugar, gluten, and dairy, your skin will thank you.” She also suggests eating foods like fermented organic veggies and fruits, as well as fermented yogurts (with live or active cultures) in moderation, though goat’s milk yogurt, coconut yogurt, and almond yogurt are good alternatives. And here’s one curveball: Russak “prescribes” sauerkraut as a source of many healthy live cultures, in addition to microbiome-friendly vitamins A, B, C, and K.

Bottom line: “A strong, balanced microbiome is essential for a glowing, healthy complexion,” Russak says.

Even if it means rubbing bacteria on your skin.

(Reposted from a Skincare GQ.com article – August 2017 – by Adam Hurley)

CURIOUS ABOUT PROBIOTICS & HOW THEY CAN BENEFIT YOUR PET’S SKIN HEALTH?  Click here to find out about Skout’s Honor’s Probiotic Skin Care line — FOR PETS!  Shop our probiotic skin care line!

Barking in the New Year

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In the spirit of hope for a positive and prosperous New Year, it’s not uncommon for humans to make resolutions for themselves; in fact, according to www.statisticbrain.com 45% of people make New Year’s resolutions on a regular basis. But have you ever considered making resolutions for your pets?


More than half of all New Year’s resolutions are aimed at improving a person’s health and fitness, and it may be the same for your pet. According to Banfield Pet Hospitals, obesity is the #2 most common diagnosis for companion animals and obesity has a significant link to the rapid rise of Type 2 diabetes in the pet population. Helping your pet stay fit can greatly improve their quality of life.

For best results, be sure to follow the feeding guidelines on your pet’s food and use a measuring cup or scale to ensure accuracy.
Be conscientious of how many treats you offer, and investigate lower-calorie options if necessary. Many pet stores now offer a variety of specialty diets and treats to help you achieve this goal.
Take longer or more frequent walks with your dog or play fetch as often as you can. If your dog is significantly arthritic or otherwise has trouble walking, explore opportunities to swim your dog or enroll in a pet physical therapy program that utilizes underwater treadmills for low-impact exercise.
Encourage your felines to jump, climb, and chase by providing them with different play structures and cat trees, and tempting them with exciting toys. Even little changes can have a big impact on your pet’s health over time.

If you have any questions on helping your pet lose weight or concerns about improving their fitness, be sure to talk to your veterinarian.

Another popular resolution is to spend more time with the people (and pets!) who matter to you. We all get busy and bogged-down with day-to-day routines, but spontaneity is the spice of life! Find creative ways to include your furry friends in your activities.

Invite friends with compatible animals over for play dates, or meet up at animal-friendly venues such as a dog parks or restaurants that offer a menu for the pups.
At home, take little breaks from your routine to initiate play or even just relax with your pet. Petting an animal has been proven to lower your blood pressure and slow breathing, which is just as good for you as it is for them.

Whatever your resolutions for you and your pet may be, www.statisticsbrain.com says that, “People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.” Don’t be afraid to write your resolutions down, even if that just means scheduling a block of time once a week to do something positive with your animal.

“It is amazing how much love and laughter [our pets] bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.” ― John Grogan, Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World’s Worst Dog

Happy New Year, friends!


About the Author
Samantha Grant is a life-long animal lover. She has been a horse trainer, PATH, INT. certified therapeutic horseback riding instructor, animal nutritionist, and writer. Samantha, or “Sam” to her friends enjoys spending her free time playing with her animals, working around the ranch, and reading.