Dr. Raj Teaches Us About Our Skin’s Microbiome
Despite regimented facials and thorough double cleanses, what happens in your gut will eventually show on your skin. “If the good and bad bacteria aren’t balanced in your gut and intestines, you can develop conditions like acne, redness, psoriasis, dry skin and eczema,” says Dr. Roshini Raj, the woman behind TULA Probiotic Skincare. The gastroenterologist with glowing skin is a big believer in approaching beauty from the inside out. Her range of prebiotic- and probiotic-infused skin care is free of toxins and full of skin-loving superfoods, like blueberries, turmeric and vitamin C, which maintain a healthy skin microbiome and improve skin barrier function.
So what is a microbiome, exactly? To better understand the connection between the skin and the gut and how this can all result in a breakout, we called on Dr. Raj to help us understand what’s going on inside our bodies, and therefore, on our skin’s surface. And most urgently, how do we correct an imbalance? Her advice and her beauty breakdown, ahead.
Dr. Raj, Founder of TULA Probiotic Skincare
“The average human has over 100 trillion microbes in and on their body. Microbiome refers to the complete set of genes that are contained in microscopic bacterial ecosystems known as microbiota,” explains Dr. Raj. “Humans are actually made up of more microbial cells than human cells by weight, and these microbial organisms affect nearly every human bodily process. Aging, digestion, the immune system, mood and cognitive function are all related to microbiomes.”
An imbalance of the skin’s microbiome is what leads to redness, irritation, breakouts, dry skin and many other undesirable skin conditions—all of which Dr. Raj hopes to correct with her targeted skin care. Just as they calm and heal the gut, probiotics act as a protective layer on the skin, fighting free radicals and bad bacteria and locking in moisture for a more radiant appearance. “Prebiotics support the healthy bacteria on skin while the probiotics that we formulate help to improve skin barrier function and increase cell turnover. It is important to make sure that the healthy bacteria on skin are thriving in order to keep the bad bacteria that can cause a number of skin grievances in check.”
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THE SKIN BARRIER
The skin barrier is the outermost layer of the skin. “This barrier is made up of cells and lipids which protect the skin from harmful microorganisms. The skin barrier also locks in essential moisture from electrolytes and water, keeps inflammation under control, and strengthens the skin’s natural immunity,” says Dr. Raj.
Needless to say, an impaired skin barrier can be problematic, which is why Dr. Raj takes careful consideration when treating her own skin. “One of the most important things you can do is to cleanse with a nonstripping cleanser and toner,” she advises. “I would stay away from alcohol-based cleansers and toners, which kill the good bacteria along with the bad, and strip skin, leaving it vulnerable to an overgrowth of bad bacteria.” Instead, she says, look for pH balanced cleansers and toners that will gently cleanse the skin without stripping it of its good bacteria and natural skin barrier function. “Skin is happiest at a slightly acidic pH of 4.5 to 5.5.” Tula’s Pro-Glycolic resurfacing gel is a gentle, pH-balanced, alcohol-free toner that will help to restore skin’s pH and balance skin.
Another thing to avoid? Phony health hacks. As we strive for more homeopathic treatments in the age of wellness, often we’re met with an onslaught of supplements, vitamins and cleansing juices—all promising beautiful skin and healthy guts, but few actually delivering on their word. So we asked Dr. Raj, Are all dietary supplements created equal? “The supplement industry is not as regulated as I would hope,” Dr. Raj enlightens us. “I didn’t want to just take a few random strains of probiotics and put them in a capsule to get to market quickly. I took over two years to research the best strains not only for gut and digestion health, but also for skin health.”
The result? A daily probiotic supplement with skin-loving ceramides and vitamin C, to help improve the skin’s texture, retain moisture and stay clear. It will also keep your digestive system running smoothly and is completely nontoxic. “Each ingredient was carefully sourced and I am proud of the formula we have on the market today. Integrity and transparency are very important to me.”
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At the end of the day, Dr. Raj knows that luminous skin is a lifestyle habit, not magic-in-a-bottle. She keeps a gut-friendly diet, consuming calories from nutrient-dense, whole foods like vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, fermented foods and lean protein sources. “I take supplements, as well, including fish oil, turmeric and the TULA Daily Probiotic and Skin Health Complex. I also try to get a fair amount of exercise from hiking, yoga and barre.” Dr. Raj has made her career helping women on their own health journeys. Along with her effective superfood smoothie for the skin, she encourages women to take care of themselves, find balance in their day-to-day and never miss an opportunity for self-care.