It’s Earth Day tomorrow. But it doesn’t stop there – after becoming such an important awareness day for all the right reasons, April is now otherwise known as Earth Month.

While it’s a firm reminder that now more than ever, it’s important to be consciously shopping and mindful of our consumption footprint, it’s also the perfect time to appreciate what Earth does for the skin and skin microbiome.

From the plant-based ingredients that supercharge products, to how a walk outside can balance our microbiomes’. Find out why nature is extremely important to your skincare routine.

Earth Day 2023 skin trust club


Just like childhood differences between Millennials and Gen-Z, our microbiomes’ have drastically changed compared to our ancestors. 

Studies have shown a link between changes to diet and reduced diversity in the gut microbiome, compared to our ancestors¹. While city dwellers have lost up to half of their gut and skin microbes. 

While that may seem alarming for big-smoke residents, it can be easily rectified. And it’s all down to reconnecting with nature. Biodiversity massively influences the bacterial residents of your skin and gut, from pets to plants. 

In fact, studies have shown that your environment contributes more to your microbiome than genetics. Unrelated individuals who share the same household have more similar skin and gut microbiomes’ than related individuals who do not share the same home².

Skin Trust Club’s Scientific Skincare Advisor Tracey Ryan, says: “From your Skin Trust Club skin swab, we can detect whether you’ve been recently gardening or have a pet just from the bacterial members present. We often see microbes that are typically found in soil.”

Earth Day 2023 skin trust club


We know that city dwellers tend to have less diverse microbiomes compared to those that live in rural areas, who have higher bacterial richness.

When our microbes are less diverse, pathogenic bacteria have more of a chance to enter and dominate. This can increase the risk of skin issues and bacterial infections. 

Scientists have theorised that the loss of biodiversity in our natural environment is one reason for the increase in inflammatory conditions like eczema and acne. 

Urban environments and countries with higher rates of development have been shown to have a higher prevalence of other inflammatory diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), type 1 diabetes, obesity, and psychiatric disorders³. 

A common skin concern that is often connected to our modern lifestyle is acne. Low-microbial diversity, due to our disconnect with nature, allows room for acne-causing bacteria, Cutibacterium acnes, to grow out of control. 

Epidemiological evidence suggests that non-Westernised communities have much lower rates of acne.

Earth day 2023 skin trust club


First of all, there’s no need to fear. There are numerous, small ways that you can support your skin and gut microbiomes while living in a city.

Studies found that simply rubbing your hands in soil and plant materials can boost the diversity of your gut microbiome. In fact, research has found that adding vegetation to nurseries can welcome beneficial microbes to children’s microbiomes.  

Houseplants have a similar effect and can expose you to new microorganisms while indoors, while getting outside often can have a big impact. Whether that’s a short walk in the local park or a long hike in a forest.

Earth day 2023 skin trust club


It’s important to remember that plants are not a clear-cut alternative to chemical-based skincare products. In fact, extra care still needs to be taken to ensure that plant-based ingredients are farmed and harvested in a sustainable way. 

That being said, there are a number of plant-based ingredients that can supercharge products, delivering results in a more gentle manner. One well-known swap is bakuchiol instead of retinol – it still works magic on fine lines and wrinkles but has no adverse effects on the skin.

Nunaia’s founder Nicola Connolly says: “Natural products make wonderful cleanser balms, which can still wipe away make-up but are much gentler on the skin.”

Yet it’s not just plant-based ingredients in our skincare that help. Research has found that houseplants emit moisture into the air and in turn, help boost hydration in our skin. 

Earth day 2023 skin trust club


Every little helps and there are a number of small changes we can all do to make our skincare habits more Earth-friendly. Here, Nicola suggests a few tips: 

TIP 1: Don’t buy new products until you’ve finished the old one. It’s that simple. Reducing our waste is extremely beneficial to the planet.

TIP 2: Understand what your skin needs. This is where the Skin Trust Club test can help as it relies on your skin microbiome to tell you what exact products and ingredients your skin type needs.

TIP 3: Read the back of products and packaging. At a glance, you should be able to see what they are doing to improve their sustainability by looking for certain certifications, such as cruelty-free. And by swotting up on the ingredients.

Nicola adds, “There’s a lot of greenwashing in the industry, which can make shopping for skincare even more confusing.

“That’s why it’s important to learn how to read labels and understand ingredients. You’ll have that skill for life and it’s extremely valuable when deciding what skincare products to invest in.”

Earth day 2023 skin trust club


  1. Conlon, M. A., Bird, A. R., ‘The Impact of Diet and Lifestyle on Gut Microbiota and Human Health’, Nutrients 2015, 7, 17-44.
  2. Pennisi, E., ‘Modern city dwellers have lost about half their gut microbes’, 2022,
  3. Junior, V. H., Mendes, A. L., Talhari, C. C., Miot, H. A., ‘Impact of environmental changes on Dermatology’,. An Bras Dermatol, 2021, Mar-Apr;96(2):210-223. doi: 10.1016/j.abd.2020.11.004. Epub 2021 Jan 31. PMID: 33581930
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