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ICYDK, our skin (within its microbiome) is actually home to millions of bacteria, fungi and viruses – just as in our gut. The good news is; these aren’t the ones that will make you sick or break out. In fact, this ecosystem of bacteria that resides on the skin’s surface is crucial for skin health.

Your skin barrier is linked to your microbiome. “When your microbiome is imbalanced, skin issues like breakouts and inflammation can occur. Similarly, when you have a strong microbiome, your skin barrier is stronger and more resilient. A trifecta of prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics would create a complete ecosystem that will help good bacteria last longer your skin,” founder of homegrown skincare brand Sigi Skin Xenia Wong explains.

This is where microbiome-friendly skincare comes in. Instead of stripping the microbiome of its protective properties with harsh chemicals, these formulas strengthen it and enhance the level of good bacteria on the skin.

Probiotics play a crucial role in biome-balancing skincare – however it’s not as straightforward as including a dose into a serum. There are three types of probiotics (pre-, pro- and post). “Prebiotics is a food source for probiotics (the natural bacteria found on skin). Postbiotics is the by-product of the fermentation of probiotics. The three types come together to create an ecosystem for good bacteria to thrive,” says Xenia.

Understandably, formulating skincare products with live probiotics is tricky, especially when it comes to preservation. Sigi Skin which recently launched its Youth Beam night serum that incorporates pre-, pro- and postbiotics had added challenge of making sure their formula is vegan. “Some of the probiotics like lactic acid for instance is derived from milk. We had to find other sources. For ours, we’re using predigested oats,” adds Xenia.

The skincare expert also noted that in addition to probiotics, ingredients like superfoods such as those in Youth Beam — reishi mushroom and ginger – can also help to support a healthy skin microbiome.

A welcome accompaniment is Sigi Skin’s probiotic-infused Tea-Tox face mask. Lactobacillus ferment, a laboratory-created, non-living probiotic harvested from a dairy product called kefir works in tandem with antioxidants derived from yuzu extract, kombucha and fermented sake to hydrate and revitalise the skin.