Natural Soap and Skin Microbiota

In 2008 the American National Institute of Health promoted the Human Microbiome Study Project to characterize the microbial diversity that lives in symbiosis with humans in five sites of the body (skin, nose, oral cavity, intestine and vagina). From the research, which is still underway all over the world, given that the results were unexpected, such new features have emerged, especially with regards to the skin, that we can say that a new organ has been discovered: the "Skin Microbiota ”.

On average, one billion microorganisms belonging to different groups live on one square centimeter of skin, most of them are called residents, because they renew themselves and tend to reform pre-existing ecological niches after each skin disturbance; they are all diners with each other. These microorganisms, the Skin Microbiota, nourish themselves with what the environment offers them, ensuring the well-being of the epidermis through the production of defense molecules or actual natural antibiotics. In this way they hinder the taking root of other pathogenic microorganisms belonging to the transient microbial flora: therefore the skin microbiota and innate immune responses constitute the true barrier function of the skin.

The Human Microbiome is mainly formed in the first two-three years of life; in this period it is important that the newborn comes into contact with as many types of microorganisms as possible; contrary to what has been thought so far, sterile environments should be avoided, in this way the microbial flora of the intestine allows better development of the immune system and that of the skin prepares to play its role as an obstacle to skin pathogens. From what emerges from this research, everything that was thought about personal hygiene and cleanliness is overturned : to ensure that pathogenic microorganisms do not take root on our skin, it is necessary to avoid creating a dysbiosis of the skin microbiota; this means, from a cosmetic point of view, treating the skin with substances that avoid damaging the microbiota and the environment where it reproduces.

What does all this mean?

  • Avoid using antibacterial soaps.
  • Do not use creams, as they contain preservatives that are bactericidal or bacteriostatic.
  • Do not use synthetic soaps that destroy the hydrolipidic layer of the skin (the substrate where the microbiota lives)

These discoveries have been made in the last ten years, unfortunately the formulations of cosmetics and skin products in general on the market today have been made considering the skin as a single organ, without taking into account its microbiota. It should be said that currently there is no skin product on the market compatible with its microbiota, which explains the spread of epidermal infections.

For those like me who have used natural soap for many years because they had discovered its therapeutic properties, studies on the skin's microbiota were a scientific confirmation that our grandmothers' old soap was the only one compatible with the microbial flora.

The reason for all this is easy to deduce: natural soaps, those obtained by direct saponification of oils, do not affect the hydrolipidic layer, on the contrary they release a film of oil on the skin which nourishes the microorganisms; in our soap production technique we have also ensured that part of the oils, of our choice, remain unsaponified to facilitate their release on the skin. This is how a simple soap, intended for cleansing the body, becomes a medicine due to its prebiotic properties towards the skin's microbiota. We are continuously witnessing the improvement of skin diseases due to the use of our soaps: atopic dermatitis, rosacea, various itches that disappear in a short time, psoriasis that are significantly reduced, etc...

We see the future of natural soaps especially in prevention, a healthy and balanced microbiota in children's skin will be a kind of vaccine against skin infections.

Terra Italica snc

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