Our research looked at the diversity on skin untouched by modern antibiotics, steroids, cosmetics, or civilization.
We found that the less exposed communities were to western practices, the higher the skin diversity, which is clear evidence of an environmental factor in the developed world damaging skin.
One reason why synthetic chemical ingredients found in everyday cosmetics may be causing a severe autoimmune response is because while natural cosmetic ingredients are not seen as “alien” by our immune system, synthetic ingredients by contrast – which have only been encountered by humans in the last 60-100 years of their 200,000+ years of existence – are still regarded as hostile by our immune system. This environmental change, in many cases, has been linked to increased susceptibility to disease and infection. Research into the skin microbiome lags far behind that of the gut, where it is common knowledge that unbalanced, non-diverse gut flora is causally linked with many health problems. Preservation and encouragement, not destruction, of the intestinal microflora is now known to be essential for overall health. The crucial role that the skin plays in overall health is only just being realised.