'Microbiome' is the latest buzzword in skincare, but what on earth is it, and how can it give us clearer, healthier skin?

When it comes to skincare trends it's usually a 'dime a dozen' sort of situation, with new ones cropping up every single week. But some have been quietly brewing for some time, and when they arrive, they tend to stick around for good.

Enter: microbiome health, the latest of said trends to arrive on the scene and continue to stand its ground. You might've already heard this beauty buzzword doing the rounds but have no idea what it really means or stands for, which is why we're here to help.

What is the skin microbiome?

Having a balanced microbiome is like a basic building block for skin health; if it's healthy, skin is more resistant and resilient.

For example, one key benefit is feeling protected from environmental aggressors such as pollution. Another is for skin to be more hydrated and for it to retain moisture better in general.

But it's not just these simple assists, says Rock: "A healthy microbiome also helps to ward off the triggers that can cause the skin to become inflamed, irritated and sensitised. If the microbiome is disrupted, infections and skin disorders such as atopic dermatitis (otherwise known as eczema) can occur."

How should you protect your skin microbiome?

So now we know how important it is to tend to your microbiome, what steps can we take to do that?

Interestingly, says Rock, it's not just about the products you add into your routine, but the ones you should take away too. "Skincare such as harsh cleansers and overuse of certain active ingredients can alter our skin’s pH balance and disrupt the skin’s microbiome," she explains, before adding that you should be mindful of harsh treatments or overusing things like acids and retinoids.

Instead, stick to balancing ingredients targeted toward improving skin barrier function, such as ceramides and hyaluronic acid.

Gut health also equals a healthy microbiome, so it's about taking care of those insides as well as using topical products. For that reason, investing in supplements and pro/pre-biotics is advisable too.