Microbiota: Get to know the invisible universe that inhabits your skin

6 de December de 2017

There is, in the human body, a microcosm invisible to the naked eye. An immense jungle, inhabited by millions of creatures: the microbiota. This ecosystem, composed of bacteria and other miniature beings, is present in the skin, hair and all parts of the human body. It is essential for maintaining a healthy organism and, until very recently, it remained a secret of nature. But now, thanks to innovative research in the field, scientists are beginning to unravel this universe and understand how its mechanisms can be harnessed for our well-being.

“We know that the microbiota is important because it’s capable of doing things that our body cannot, such as digest certain substances, produce vitamin D and regulate our immune response to environmental stimuli,” says Luciana Vasquez, Natura’s Science Manager.
“Studies show that the microbiota influences even our mental behavior, through mechanisms that regulate the production of neurotransmitters.”

Among the different areas of the human organism where the microbiota is present, one of them is of special interest to Natura: the skin. Understanding the mechanisms of the microbiota and its functions in the human body is of utmost importance for Natura, as it helps the company develop more intelligent products capable of interacting with the microbiota in a way that helps the body just “do its job”.

On the skin, this colony with billions of small creatures exists above the stratum corneum, the outermost layer of the skin and helps regulate the interaction with the environment. If balanced and healthy, this microbiota prevents potentially harmful external agents from gaining access and causing damage, such as disease and inflammation. Studies have shown that, in areas affected by dermatological problems, the constitution of the microbiota is different from healthy regions.

But the microbiota is not the same through out the human skin. The types of microorganisms vary according to factors such as humidity, oiliness and temperature of each area observed. “Today, we know that some regions of the skin are colonized by specific bacteria, depending on whether the site is dry, moist or oily,” says Luciana. “This is a science that continues to be developed.”

Another interesting fact is that each individual has his or her own microbiota, like a personal and non-transferable signature, which varies according to a number of factors, such as eating habits, antibiotic use and even the climate of the region where the person lives. “The microbiota has a signature for each individual,” says Luciana. “We each have our own.”
In this sense, Luciana highlights the value of a balanced microbiota. “We can make an analogy between the microbiota and a forest’s ecosystem. If we have a forest with few species, it will be fragile and may degrade rapidly in the face of an invasion. But on the other hand, if we have a diverse forest, the system tends to be more stable and resilient.”

Natura, through its products, works to help keep the skin’s microbiota balanced. This is the result of investment in technology and cutting-edge research. By staying at the forefront of innovation, the company is able to break old paradigms and deliver better results for consumers, taking into account that a balanced microbiota is key to strong, beautiful and healthy skin.