NAA members are leaders, pioneers, and forward-thinkers. We’re proud to share their notable work and views on skin health with the world. In addition to our NAA Member on a Mission interviews, members can submit guest posts that are considered for periodic Member Perspectice features. Today’s Member Perspective comes from our current Member on a Mission, Jennifer Masson, a licensed dietician nutritionist, aesthetician, and owner of Nutritionista Wellness.

Healthy Skin Isn’t Just for Looks, by Jennifer Masson

jennifer-masson-naa“Lately we have been hearing a lot about the gut microbiome, also known as our gut garden, and how it relates to our health.  These microbiota are thought to play a role in all aspects of our life, from moods to weight to diseases like diabetes and autoimmune disorders. Honestly, the first word that comes to my mind when I hear the word bugs is “yuck,” but the fact is, we have over a trillion bugs living as an ecosystem inside us and on our skin.  Over 1000 different bacteria and 80 species of fungi call us home, and there are 10 times as many of them in our bodies as there are human cells.  We might not be able to see them, but we need them and they need us. Research shows that these microbiota help protect us from invading pathogens, or what we would consider to be the bad bugs. You see, they not only live on the surface of our skin, but also are found deep down in the subcutaneous fat where they actually do the most work for us. This is where they ‘talk’ to our immune system and, depending on what’s happening, take action like launching a protective immune response in the skin if needed. (

Our invisible ecosystem starts to develop immediately after we are born.  In utero, the skin is sterile but once we go through the birth canal, or are born through C-section, we are exposed to different organisms depending on the type of birth we had.  The type of bacteria found on the skin depends on where it is, temperature, level of moisture etc. They all work harmoniously to keep us running smoothly.

The problem is that if we are experiencing dysbiosis, when the bacteria of our microbiome is out of balance, that can throw a lot of things out of whack. It can lead to inflammation and skin issues like atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, acne, eczema and others. That doesn’t even include what our gut bacteria do for us inside!

So how do we make sure we are tending to our microbe garden?

  1. Eat well and stay hydrated. These bacteria like good quality food! Avoid too much sugar and refined carbohydrates.  Studies show that what we eat definitely has an impact on our skin, especially diets high in sugar and processed food. (
  2. Identify and eliminate any foods you are sensitive or allergic to.  Gluten and dairy are associated with a number of skin issues. (
  3. Feed your garden!  Add probiotics to your diet, which include fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and vinegar.  You may even want to consider putting a probiotic containing food like kefir on your skin. (
  4. Exercise. If you are eating well, the sweat you are producing is acting as a prebiotic, or food for the skin bugs to thrive on.  (
  5. Get dirty.  Do some gardening. Open the windows and let the breeze blow in along with the microbes.  This is a good way to get exposed to a variety of different organisms.
  6. Limit the use of antibacterial hand sanitizers and soaps, which can disrupt the balance of the bacteria on your skin causing dysbiosis. The ecosystem needs to be in sync in order to do its job for you.
  7. Consider using personal care products not only for your use, but also aimed at nourishing your skin microbiome. Mother Dirt and AOBiome are brands that pride themselves in having live bacteria in their products that are good for your skin. (

There is a lot of research going on in this area right now so this subject is definitely not closed. Stay tuned for more great information about your health, skin and your own personal invisible organ called the microbiome.”


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