A scientist inspecting a skincare formula in Eucerin lab

Gentle body cleansing – How do I protect skin microbiome?

5 min read
Show more

A microbiome is the totality of the microbes living in and on the body and consists of bacteria, viruses and fungi. Our microbiome exceeds even the number of our own cells - there are far more microbial genes than human genes. 

These microorganisms are not only passive cohabitants, they are important factors for our skin's health.

Skin microbiome plays a vital role in our skin’s overall health and contributes significantly to protection from skin problems; it is therefore incredibly important to maintain a healthy microbiome.



How does Eucerin pH5 protect skin microbiome?

What is skin microbiome?

Most of us are familiar with the term microbiome in regard to the intestine.

However, the word microbiome refers to all micoorganisms that live in and on our body, and the skin also has a microbiome of its own. The microbiome develops immediately after birth, when the newborn baby comes into contact with the outside world. A diverse population of bacteria, including Staphylococcae, Corynebacteria and Cutibacteria rapidly colonize the skin

This early colonization is important for the development of the newborn's immune system, and to prepare and strengthen the skin for a life with many external influences – like a first line of defense.

These bacteria naturally/symbiotically living on the skin are called resident bacteria. Like an invisible layer, they remain on the skin and, together with viruses and fungi, form the resident skin microbiome, which when it is in harmony contributes to healthy skin and forms a protective barrier. 

On the other hand, there are transient bacteria, which are not permanently there but e.g. can get in contact with the skin from the outside. These transient bacteria can sometimes cause for example skin problems or may cause infection. In an intact skin microbiome, the resident bacteria protect the skin from the transient bacteria like a biological, protective barrier to fight off potential harmful germs. To keep the resident skin microbiome in a great condition, the use of mild cleansers are crucial. Gentle cleansing maintains the skin’s natural pH balance and supports an optimal environment for a healthy skin microbiome. 

Protected skin and healthy microbiome
Protected skin and healthy microbiome
New research field microbiome

What makes skin microbiome important?

Each person has – and lives in symbiosis with – their own unique microbiome. The skin provides the bacteria a habitat and nutrients, while the bacteria protect the skin, and thus the body, from the penetration of pathogens – meaning disease-causing germs.

The microbiome – along with the skin itself – forms the skin’s acid mantle, which protects against the penetration of pathogens and preserves its habitat. The body's own microbiome copes very well with the acidic conditions around pH 5, while the pathogens cannot tolerate such conditions. 

Various environmental factors – such as a change in the skin pH, UV radiation or age – can affect the balance of the skin microbiome. An unbalanced microbiome can lead to skin conditions such as dry, sensitive skin or even inflammatory skin diseases such as acne or atopic dermatitis.

"At Beiersdorf we have been successfully investigating skin bacteria for more than 20 years. We've always been keen to understand the beneficial effects the bacteria have on our skin, but also how we can help the skin keep its microbiome stable," says Head of Microbiome Research team Dr. Hendrik Reuter.

pH5 Cleansers allow gentle cleansing that protects the microbiome

How does cleansing affect the skin microbiome?

Harsh surfactants attack the interaction between the skin and microbiome on several levels. On the one hand, resident bacteria are partially removed by harsh surfactants, on the other hand the skin is dried out and the skin barrier is attacked. These factors mean that the acid protective layer cannot be properly maintained. A microbiome shift can occur, so the types and composition of microorganisms can change. Consequently, pathogens and allergens can penetrate the skin more easily, making the skin more sensitive.

pH5 Cleansing products support sensitive skin by cleansing with mild surfactants, replenishing actives and natural oils to keep the skin moisturized even after frequent washing. All pH5 products have a pH value of 5 – the pH value of healthy skin and the optimal pH value for the microbiome. pH5 Cleansers allow gentle cleansing that protects the microbiome and maintains the skin barrier. The protective acid mantle remains active, which prevents pathogens and allergens from penetrating the skin. 

study on gentle cleansers

Skin’s natural pH level

pH5 Citratre Buffer

The term pH means ‘potential of hydrogen’ and refers to the activity of hydrogen ions in a water-based solution. The pH level of any solution is measured on a numerical scale from 0-14, with 7 being considered neutral. When it comes to skin, the surface and uppermost layers are naturally acidic with an average pH of 5. 

The skin’s pH balance varies slightly according to a variety of factors such as gender, age and location on the body. Skin pH also plays an important role in skin health and is key to the skin’s protective barrier. It neutralizes alkaline-based aggressors (such as harsh surfactants), supports the essential process of shedding dead skin cells (known as desquamation) and creates the optimal environment in which skin’s natural flora can thrive. 

When the skin’s pH alters, its barrier function is compromised. Water loss increases and the skin dries out, making it more susceptible to external irritants and sensitivity. The Eucerin pH Balance System contains pH5 Citrate Buffer to restore and support the skin’s optimal pH. This helps to strengthen the skin’s barrier function, protecting natural defenses and reducing sensitivity.

Maintain the skin’s pH balance with gentle cleansing
Maintain the skin’s pH balance with gentle cleansing

How do I care for my skin microbiome?

A balanced diet and fluid intake can help maintain healthy and beautiful skin from within. Avoiding stress, environmental pollution and harmful lifestyle factors like nicotine or too much alcohol may also contribute to a healthy skin microbiome. 

Gentle cleansing is also beneficial to the skin microbiome when it comes to soaps and shower cleansers. Gentle cleansing maintains the skin’s natural pH balance and supports an optimal environment for a healthy skin microbiome. 

Look for a shower wash with extra-mild surfactants and a pH-balanced formula to protect your skin’s natural defenses and preserve its resilience. Mild and gentle cleansers like the Eucerin pH5 Shower Oil or pH5 Washlotion have a pH Balance System unique to Eucerin that can restore the skin’s natural pH value. 

Using a pH-balanced cleanser makes skin less sensitive and more resilient against environmental triggers and protects the skin microbiome. 

Our brand values

Dermo-cosmetic approach
Pioneers in skincare

We deliver a holistic dermo-cosmetic approach to protect your skin, keep it healthy and radiant.

Eucerin skincare products are recommended by dermatologists
Recommended by dermatologists

We work together with leading dermatologist and pharmacist partners around the world to create innovative and effective skincare products they can trust and recommend.

Committed to innovation
Committed to innovation

For over 100 years, we have dedicated ourselves to researching and innovating in the field of skin science. We believe in creating active ingredients and soothing formulas with high tolerability that work to help you live your life better each day.

Complete the routine