How the microbiome-friendly “rewild” your skin trend works and the benefits

Never has there been a more pressing time to “rewild” your skin – rewilding is the science of returning skin to its balanced, wild state through green chemistry and organic biotech. Increasingly, the skin’s essential barrier function has become damaged, showing signs of redness, inflammation and dehydration. 

A combination of factors has led to the weakening of the barrier function, such as stress, lack of sleep, environmental damage and the overuse of exfoliating agents, to name a few. With the past 18 months spent in various coronavirus lockdowns, now is the time to help clients strengthen, protect and care for their skin. 

Skin diseases like acne and eczema are almost non-existent in hunter-gatherer communities but these conditions have become commonplace across the modern world. Maybe it’s time to end the war on dirt and rewild the skin?

Taking a proactive approach to the skin includes stepping up preventative measures to rewild the skin with various bacterial partners. Bio-clinical probiotic skincare brand Esse uses organic biotechnology to create an environment on the skin that allows biodiversity to return. 

Esse founder Trevor Steyn explains how you can help clients rewild their skin: 

What are the skincare benefits of rewilding?

“Humans have evolved to be in constant and intimate contact with nature. We’re supposed to be digging in soil and harvesting plants for a large part of the day, which would mean that we would be integrating with the soil and plant microbiomes that we touch,” says Steyn. 

“Most of us now spend the bulk of our day indoors, isolated from nature and in constant contact with microbes that are mostly of human origin. This absence of normal microbial ‘chatter’ on the skin can cause a heightened immune response that leads to chronic inflammation and sensitivity. 

“Bringing nature’s microbes back onto skin in the form of live probiotics can help to offset the impact of our urban lifestyles. As we can’t spend most of our time outdoors in nature, we need to support out skin in other ways – applying probiotics can help change the ecology of the skin.”

What ingredients should therapists use to help clients rewild their skin?

“Prebiotics can help to feed beneficial species and post-biotics can nudge the microbiome, but for us at Esse, it is live probiotics that can make a difference,” explains Steyn. 

“It is a good way to repopulate with real, colony-forming microbes that can signal to the skin’s immune system that all is well on the surface and that there is no need to trigger an inflammatory response.” 

How do probiotics rewild the skin and can you tell us how the live bacteria in Esse products achieve a balanced microbiome?

“In Esse’s Probiotic Serum, we’ve used a synergistic mix of three lactobacillus species. We have shown that these species are able to become a lasting part of the skin microbiome if they are consistently applied. We chose these strains of live bacteria for their ability to create the conditions for a healthy microbial ecosystem,” says Steyn. 

“Once you start to view skin as an ecosystem of human cells and microbial ones, it seems obvious to us that pollution with synthetic chemicals is a bad idea. We’ve seen what human arrogance has done to ecosystems on a macro level, so why repeat this on our own skin? 

Rewilding your skin is just the beginning of a back-to-basics lifestyle – incorporating simple changes can result in noticeable long-term health benefits. 

“We all know the benefits of getting outside for our mental and physical health, but it also does wonders for our microbiome; it’s all about replicating the conditions from which we’ve evolved. Also, ensure your clients are eating microbiome-boosting foods consisting of a varied and balanced diet, with lots of fibre and fermented foodstuffs.” 

3 Esse products that will help you “rewild” clients’ skin:

Esse Toner Plus Esse Probiotic Serum Esse Sensitive Serum

1. Toner Plus

This is formulated with probiotics and prebiotics to optimise the functioning of the skin’s microbial ecosystem. Lactobacillus cells are the source of the key active in this toner and the cell contents help to maintain the skin’s natural barrier function. Prebiotics are added to provide a nutrient source that favours a healthy skin ecosystem.

2. Probiotic Serum

This probiotic serum has 50 million live probiotics per drop. These living cells complement the skin’s natural microbial diversity and helps to slow the ageing process. Independent testing has proven that this product increases skin firmness by 16% in 28 days, says the brand.

3. Sensitive Serum

This serum contains high doses of live probiotic microbes to heal and protect clients skin and calm the skin’s immune system. 


For more information, visit Esse Skincare or to become a stockist contact

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