Is Dry Skin Related to Your Microbiome? Tips for Relief.

Is Dry Skin Related to Your Microbiome? Tips for Relief.

Michelle Miller

Dry skin can be an uncomfortable and annoying problem for many people during the winter months. But what causes it, and how can you treat it? In this article, we'll explore the role of your microbiome in dry skin and give tips on how to relieve its symptoms.

-What is dry skin?

Dry skin is when the outer layer of skin becomes dehydrated and at its worst it can cause flakiness, scaling, splits, itchiness and redness. (1)

- What Causes Dry Skin?

Dry skin is caused by water loss from the skin above an acceptable level, often this is exacerbated by external factors such as low humidity in winter or from air-conditioners or from high UV exposure. Or it can be caused by internal factors such as a compromised skin barrier or skin microbiome. Being aware of products that treating the barrier and microbiome can be more affective than simply applying more simple moisturisers.

Uncovering the Role of the Skin Barrier in Dry Skin

The skin barrier stops our skin losing water and dehydrating, it also stops us being irritated by allergens, pollutants and toxins. To combat dry skin at any level the skin barrier needs to be intact.

Uncovering the Role of the Skin Microbiome in Dry Skin

The skin microbes of the skin microbiome significantly affect the skin barrier function.(4)  The skin microbiome gives us the lipid components that makeup the lipid structure of our barrier including ceramides and other essential nutrient components to prevent both skin dehydration and premature ageing by stopping water loss.

The microbiome also breaks down our sebum and creates an optimal pH of the skin that is part of the acidic skin surface that is hostile to pathogens and makes our barrier impermeable.(4)

The microbiome also communicates and activates our immune system, if it is functioning at its best it is much more likely not to overact when it is not necessary.(4)

Ultimately, if the skin microbiome is not balanced and diverse, it causes fundamental damage to the skin barrier so they both need to be in play for skin dryness to disappear and skin health to restore.

- The Effects of Cleansing Habits on Your Skin Microbiome

Cleansers and soaps that strip the natural oils from the skin are not a good choice for anyone but definitely should not be used with dry skin. Over washing and over exfoliating can cause increase in dry skin as it can disrupt your skin microbiome and skin barrier.

With recent pandemic and coming into the cold and flu season it is important to use sanitizer's and hand wash whenever necessary but face skincare cleansers are one area that most people can jump on a more gentler option.

- How to Care for and Protect Your Skin's Microbiome

Unlike our gut, our skin is not actually designed for ingredients to go on it. Modern living and advertising stemming back for 50 decades encouraging us to smell like clean soap and that every surface of skin had to be foamed with chemicals for it to be acceptable has not done us any favours. And unfortunately Western Society has been left with a generations of dry, dehydrated and inflammed skin and bodies as our natural defence system of microbes has been at war with our over zealous need for cleansing products and preservatives.

- Tips for Treating and Preventing Dry Skin

Having dry skin can be uncomfortable and irritating, but there are a few simple skincare changes that you can make to help soothe and improve your skin

  1. For cleansing the face and body, oil cleansers are preferred, they tend to use very gentle surfactants so leave the skin's natural protective oils intact . They also often can safely be formulated without preservatives making a gentler impact on the skin microbiome. Ultimately they are supporting the bodies natural mechanisms of hydration.
  2. Not taking long, hot showers. If long hot showers are necessary applying your body oil in the shower can have a protective affect.
  3. Rather than cream based moisturisers, use oil based products for face and body. They don't tend to have surfactants in them, they support the skin barrier.
  4. Prebiotic skincare can support your microbiome and barrier by selectively nourishing the good beneficial microbes and contributes to a healthier, more hydrated looking skin.

Can popular skincare actives aggravate dry skin?

Some skincare agents can also cause dry skin to worsen including, chemical peels, retinoids, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, tretinoin and fragrance. Inflammation to actives is much more common in people with dry skin. (3)

If your skin is inflamed sensitive or dry, it is really important to stop actives and start using something to support barrier and microbiome until your skin settles.

Natural Home Remedies for Soothing Itchy, Irritated Skin

Oats are a great home remedy for soothing itchy, irritated skin. This is especially popular foe little kids, if you get a stocking and fill it with oats and then rub that over wet skin, it can give a soothing effect.

Colloidal oats are best but are hard to find so if you cannot find then I would grab organic rolled oats.

 Diet Changes You Can Make To Improve Your Skins Health

In order to nourish dry skin, you should incorporate foods such as

  • fatty fish like salmon and mackerel which are rich in omega-3s; (4)
  • avocados, nuts and seeds which contain healthy monounsaturated fats; (4)
  • olives and olive oil;
  • leafy greens which provide important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants;
  • sweet potatoes for Vitamin A rich nutrients;
  • red grapes for polyphenols that can help reduce inflammation;

These foods should be incorporated into a diet full of varied fruits and vegetables to ensure a healthy well balanced meal plan for optimal long term results.


- List of Recommended Products For Treating Dry Skin

Best Skincare Product for Face with Dry Skin


Best Skincare Product for Body with Dry Skin

AVENE XeraCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Balm

Best Skincare Product for Hands with Dry Skin


Best Face Cleanser for Dry Skin

theskinbiotic CALMING OIL CLEANSER $29.95

Best Body Cleanser for Dry Skin


XeraCalm A.D. Lipid-Replenishing Cleansing Oil


Written by Michelle Miller

Bachelor of Pharmacy. Advanced Diploma in Cosmetic Science.

Founder and CEO theskinbiotic | Prebiotic Range of Skincare for Sensitive and Reactive Skin.



(1)Australasian College of Dermatologists. Xerosis 2017
(2) Heathline, “The ultimate Skin Care Routine For Dry Skin.” 2022 to avoid.
(3)Skin Barrier Function and the Microbiome 2022
(4)Diet and Skin Barrier:The Role of Dietary Interventions on Skin Barrier Function 2021