How to work out if your skin is 'quorum sensing' – because if it is, your acne will get out of control



It might sound like an enchanting spell from Harry Potter but ‘quorum sensing’ is actually something your skin is probably doing right now – and it’s leading to inflammation and acne.

Quorum sensing is basically chemical signal activity within your skin that is causing breakouts – and skincare giants are rolling out breakthrough ‘quorum sensing technology’ that can inhibit the communication of bad bacteria and rebalance skins microbiome to stop your acne getting out of control.

It’s pretty sciency but once you get your head around it, it’s vital skincare intel to have, so we grilled Dr Murad, Board Certified Dermatologist and Founder of Murad Skincare, on exactly what quorum sensing is and how you can stop it.

So what exactly is quorum sensing?

Our skin is the first line of defence against harmful aggressors and protects us from the environment. Skin is also home to trillions of different types of bacteria that help to keep skin healthy, these microbes are collectively known as your skins microbiome and are essential to skin health.

Most of the time our microbiome is healthy with a balance of good and bad bacteria on our skin, but this can be disrupted when bad bacteria start to communicate and create groups. This imbalance can lead to breakouts. One of these bacteria is called P Acnes.

P. Acnes (Propionibacterium acnes) is bacteria that lives at the base of the hair follicle and survives naturally in a low oxygen environment by living in sebum (oil) and under dead skin cells. When P acnes bacteria is allowed to thrive, this creates an imbalance of bad bacteria and can lead to inflammation and breakouts. It communicates using chemical signals and this activity of communication is called quorum sensing.

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This effectively means the P Acnes bacteria give off a chemical that helps it to communicate with bacteria of the same kind; the more they proliferate and begin to form colonies, the more damaging this is to the skin leading to inflammation and breakouts.

How can we prevent quorum sensing? And why?

We can offset this by using traditional oil controlling ingredients and exfoliators but by using breakthrough quorum sensing technology, we can now inhibit the communication of bad bacteria and rebalance skin’s microbiome, too.

So which ingredients should we look for in our skincare?

Korean Red Pine Extract combined with Lactobacillus Sakei ferment is able to shut down an enzyme that P.Acnes uses to create it’s signals therefore disrupting the communication they need to be able to cause skin issues such as breakouts as well as redness and irritation, and other skin disorders that may also create bumps and rashes on the skin.

How does it benefit the skin?

Korean Red Pine Extract (the hero ingredient in our Clarifying Oil-Free Water Gel Moisturiser) helps prevent this chemical signalling form of communication between the bacteria, so the microbiome stays balanced, and skin stays clear. It also helps to soothe skin and reduce inflammation for a hydrated and healthier-looking skin. Skin is left feeling clean fresh and soothed.

Welcome to skincare school.

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