2022 will be an interesting year of trends for skincare. This post pandemic lockdown era has brought with it a rise in skincare enthusiasts who took to their skincare routines for comfort during lockdown. Research has shown interests in skincare evolving from overreaching products promising to do everything to specific hero ingredients. 

This turn to active ingredients in 2021,  has also created a backlash from people using harsh retinoids and exfoliant ingredients too much and irritating their face. Subsequently, people with irritated, damaged skin from the overuse of active ingredients are now trying to bring back their natural skin barrier; the microbiome. 

The Buzz around Microbiome 

This 2022 buzzword, microbiome, is a term for the microorganisms and bacteria living on the skin. This ecosystem of microscopic organisms is the first line of defence in the skin’s barrier to harsher bacteria and viruses. It is directly affected by our immune system and what we use inside and outside of our bodies.  These little skin buddies also provide nutrients and essential oils to the skin creating a habitable and healthy environment for the skin cells. 

Over use of harsh chemicals, exfoliants and active ingredients can cause an imbalance in the skin’s microbiome. This can also be imbalanced by poor diet and health. An imbalanced microbiome can lead to acne, skin irritation and dry skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and atopic dermatitis.

Keywords to Watch 

The skincare industry is starting to market products based on these consumer interests in balancing the skin’s microbiome. Keywords to look out for from skincare businesses are microbiome-friendly, probiotic, prebiotic, postbiotic and PH balanced. 

Microbiome Friendly 

Closely connected to being microbiome friendly are products that are “safe for sensitive skin” – this term is one to look out for on common skin care products. To be microbiome friendly means to be not disruptive to the skin’s natural barrier of bacteria and microbial organisms. It has connotations of being gentle, having no harsh chemicals or active ingredients that could irritate the skin’s microbiome. Consumers with sensitive, reactive skin will be looking for this term in order to find gentle, natural skincare products. 


Prebiotic products will provide nourishing ingredients that help feed the healthy bacteria and microorganisms that make up the microbiome. These facilitate healthy bacteria on the skin which is what you need if you are looking to rebuild that microbiome that’s been imbalanced by harsh products. This term can be seen paired with products labelled as repairing or replenishing. 


Probiotics are products containing live bacteria and microorganisms to help rebuild and strengthen the skin’s microbiome. Probiotic products for skincare essentially aim to do the same thing as the probiotics that we are all familiar with for gut health. Adding back healthy bacteria that’s been lost can help strengthen the skin barrier much in the same way that probiotics for gut health strengthen immunity and digestion. Look out for products labelled as fortifying, strengthening and balancing the skin. 


Postbiotic meaning “after bacteria” are the nutrients called metabolites that are made by the good bacteria needed on the skin. It’s basically taking the work of the microbiome of good bacteria and putting it back into the skin. Postbiotics also fight the bad parts of the biome like sebum and pollution from tipping the biome scales. This helps to regulate the microbiome, creating balance which helps with acne, eczema, and other skin conditions caused by skin imbalances. Look for products meant to balance, soothe inflammation and smooth skin texture. 

PH Balanced 

Did you know your skin has a PH balance as well? The microbiome is directly affected by the ph balance of your skin. The skin’s normal pH is slightly acidic with a pH balance of 4.5. This is called the skin’s acid mantle which is the balance of oil to water ratio on the skin. The oil is essentially sebum which needs a careful balance in order to protect the skin’s barrier from harmful bacteria without being too much and clogging pores. Products that promise to balance PH will be labelled as balancing, soothing and gently cleansing. Toners have been popularly used to “rebalance PH” after cleansers. 

Ingredients to Look For

At this point, we can now understand the product needs for people looking for a microbiome friendly skincare routine. But what are the ingredients that can help the microbiome of the skin? 

Vitamin C  

Vitamin C is a great ingredient to use as it is antimicrobial and fights bad bacteria on the skin. It also stimulates ceramide production in the skin cells which can help fortify the skin’s natural barrier. It’s known to help balance the PH of the skin because of its slight acidity.

Aloe Vera 

This calming ingredient not only helps with the skin’s moisture but can also help the skin microbiome by acting as a natural prebiotic helping to stimulate healthy bacteria growth on the skin. 


Ceramides are fatty lipids found in the cells that are responsible for keeping harmful germs away from the skin. Many anti-aging products have ceramides as an ingredient because as the skin naturally ages, its ceramide content decreases which can lead to less hydration in the skin. Using ceramide as an ingredient can help the skin barrier stay strong and provide hydration to older skin. 

CBD Repair Serum


This cannabinoid compound found in the hemp plant can have a great effect on the health of the good bacteria, flora, in the microbiome of the skin. CBD interacts with our endocannabinoid system which has cannabinoid receptors in the very tissue of our skin. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for keeping the body in equilibrium including the skin microbiome. CBD helps this by interacting with the endocannabinoid system and creating an anti inflammatory effect. This can decrease inflammation caused by bad bacteria in an unbalanced microbiome. 

This booming trend of gentle, balancing skincare is here to stay. Consumers are becoming hyper aware of the ingredients in their products as well as picking and choosing based on their specific skin needs. With these new consumer demands, businesses can pivot to create products with hero ingredients made to balance the skin’s microbiome.


Nast, C., 2022. Ingredients before brands: The new beauty consumer priority?. [online] Vogue Business. Available at: <https://www.voguebusiness.com/beauty/ingredients-before-brands-the-new-beauty-consumer-priority> 

Nast, C., 2022. Microbiome is the latest buzzword in skincare, but what on earth is it, and how can it give us clearer, healthier skin?. [online] Glamour UK. Available at: <https://www.glamourmagazine.co.uk/gallery/skin-microbiome-products> [Accessed 15 February 2022].

Harper’s BAZAAR. 2022. 8 beauty trends that will dominate in 2022. [online] Available at: <https://www.harpersbazaar.com/uk/beauty/beauty-shows-trends/a38525352/beauty-trends-2022/> 

Harper’s BAZAAR. 2022. 8 beauty trends that will dominate in 2022. [online] Available at: <https://www.harpersbazaar.com/uk/beauty/beauty-shows-trends/a38525352/beauty-trends-2022/> 

Metro. 2022. ‘Microbiome’ health is the latest skincare trend you’re going to hear more about. [online] Available at: <https://metro.co.uk/2021/08/12/microbiome-health-is-the-latest-skincare-buzz-word-15079798/> 

Metro. 2022. ‘Microbiome’ health is the latest skincare trend you’re going to hear more about. [online] Available at: <https://metro.co.uk/2021/08/12/microbiome-health-is-the-latest-skincare-buzz-word-15079798/> 
Metro. 2022. ‘Microbiome’ health is the latest skincare trend you’re going to hear more about. [online] Available at: <https://metro.co.uk/2021/08/12/microbiome-health-is-the-latest-skincare-buzz-word-15079798/>