Beauty starts with health. This has been demonstrated by various studies and, in particular, the Human Microbiome Advanced Project: the first Italian multidisciplinary research project, promoted by Giuliani, specialising in studying the microbiome of the skin and scalp. The aim? To provide healthy people and those who already have disorders with useful information in order to improve their quality of life.
The genetic heritage expressed by the 100 billion microorganisms that populate our body makes up the human microbiome. Its activity affects the health of all organs: the intestine, brain, skin and obviously also the scalp. The specific set of microorganisms that colonise a particular organ is known as the microbiota. The balance of this bacterial ecosystem is fundamental for the wellbeing of a person and, consequently, for their appearance.
When the microbiome is subjected to variations in the number and relationships between its components, a phenomenon known as dysbiosis occurs. HMAP studies have shown that skin dysbiosis negatively affects hair health, contributing to the development of disorders involving hair loss and scalp irritation
The critical factor on which the balance of the intestinal microbiota depends is diet: drastic diets, neglected food intolerances and consumption of foods rich in hydrogenated fats can all cause a reduction in bacterial diversity. Taking medication and the presence of infections also affect the balance of the microbiota. When it comes to external factors, those with the biggest impact are stress, pollution, dehydration and smoking.
As regards hair, aggressive shampoos and styling can alter the balance of the scalp and cause discomfort such as flaking, redness and excessive sebum secretion. Hair becomes dull, brittle and gets dirtier more quickly.
The first step is to follow a Mediterranean diet. Fruits, vegetables, fish, cheeses and whole grains are foods that help promote the proliferation of “good” bacteria, such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria. According to Dr Gianluca Ianiro, gastroenterologist at Rome’s Policlinico Gemelli, 5 days of a correct diet are enough to restore balance.
As for the scalp, we need to dispel a widespread belief: washing your hair every day does not damage it. Dirt settles on your hair all the time, especially if you live in the city. If the skin does not “breathe”, it becomes red and flaky. For this reason, it is important to wash your hair at least 3 times a week using gentle products that respect the skin’s pH as well as its microbiota.