Achieve healthier and clear skin!
Join Dr. Yug Varma, Cofounder & CEO of Phyla, the world’s most advanced probiotic acne system, as he uses his 10+ years of microbiome research experience to break down the bio-organic chemistry, microbiology, and synthetic biology of the skin.
Learn what you can do to reduce acne and minimize aging with this episode!
Like the gut, the skin has its own microbiome made of different bacteria. However, they live in two very different environments: The skin is flooded with oxygen and is exposed to a very dry, desiccated environment, whereas the gut is very acidic and is constantly digesting incoming food. Because of this, each microbiome has its own unique type of bacteria. In fact, there are three times as many bacteria on our skin than there are skin cells!
In addition, our skin has three different types of broad environments: oily, dry, and wet. How we treat different diseases and bacterial infections depends greatly on the type of skin we’re treating. The oily microbiome, also known as a sebaceous microbiome, is found on our face, chest, and back and is the only environment that experiences acne.
Acne is caused by bacteria that live in the oily microbiome, which includes our face, upper chest, and upper back. Acne is known as a young person’s disease. Researchers are still unsure why acne just slowly disappears as we get older. A study done in 2016 looked at healthy microbiomes and acne-prone microbiomes to look for systematic differences. The only significant difference they could find was healthy people have more C. acnes Bacteriophages on their skin than people with acne.
Bacteriophages (or “phages) are viruses that infect bacteria, and they have two great benefits: they are nature’s best defense against bacteria, and they are incredibly specific. So, a phage that goes after acne bacteria will not kill any other bacteria on your skin that’s naturally recalibrating the microbiome and keeping other acne bacteria in check. It turns out, those annoying friends of ours that don’t take care of their skin and somehow never have acne probably have a healthy amount and variety of phages on their skin.
You may have come across the terms prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics as possible solutions to an unbalanced microbiome. Taking prebiotics is similar to adding compost to the soil. It gives the healthy bacteria (the “trees”) the nutrients they need to live. You can find probiotics in pills or in fermented forms like yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, etc.
Postbiotics are basically the fruit of the tree and the reason the process is so valuable. The bacteria produce molecules that are used by our bodies to be healthier. The problem with postbiotics is that we don’t know all the molecules these bacteria make for us or the exact amounts needed for each person. We know a few and certainly there are more yet to be discovered, but as of now, our body’s own production is the best system for getting them.
Probiotics are the bacteria (the “trees” of the microbiome) themselves. However, they can’t thrive and produce postbiotics if there aren’t enough prebiotics.
Diet, stress, hormones, and genetics influence the growth of the bacteria that are the prime cause of acne. Many of us may have trigger foods that, when consumed, cause our bodies to respond by producing more oil on the skin. This oil is food for the bacteria that can overgrow and cause inflammation in the form of pimples and zits.
However, when you try to dry out your skin to prevent bacterial overgrowth, you’re also doing your skin a big disservice because oil is naturally produced by our body for a very good reason.
Oil is an important moisture barrier to keep the moisture in and skin cells supple. When you have chronic dryness from severe acne medications, many people end up seeing fine lines and wrinkles appear years later that others their age might not have. That’s when you realize the damage has been done.
Phyla is a consumer brand that’s part of Dr. Varma’s startup, Phi Therapeutics, which is trying to change the way we treat chronic bacterial diseases. With the help of bacteriophages, this technology kills harmful bacteria without harming the good bacteria, recalibrates your microbiome, and makes it more balanced and diverse. So, not only are you dealing with the direct causes, an overgrowth of bad bacteria, but also balancing your microbiome to ensure you have long-term skin health.
The company’s mission is to democratize the use of phages and put them in a bottle so others can have their benefits, even if they weren’t born with them. However promising, they are still in clinical trials.
Listen now and start improving your skin!
Yug Varma, PhD, is the Cofounder & CEO of Phyla, the world’s most advanced probiotic acne system. He has 10+ years of microbiome research experience including an extensive background in bio-organic chemistry, microbiology, and synthetic biology. Dr. Varma received his scientific training at several distinguished academic institutions, including Johns Hopkins University (PhD) and University of California, San Francisco. His scientific work has been published in many prestigious journals, including Nature.
Dr. Varma’s mission is to change the way we treat chronic bacterial diseases, and is working
tirelessly to achieve this goal with a microbiome-based technology platform. He is passionate
about promoting scientific literacy, and devotes a significant amount of time demystifying
microbiome research and making the latest research accessible to the general public.
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