Skip to content

Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

Human Skin Alive With Bacteria

Skin Crawls With Many More 'Vibrant Communities' of Bacteria Than Thought
Font Size
A
A
A

continued...

"We found the bacteria in my underarm are more similar to the bacteria in your underarm, than my underarm bacteria are to my forearm bacteria," Segre said.

That offers a clue to disease, because different skin diseases tend to appear in specific places on the body.

"We are using these findings to start to explore how the microbiome contributes to disease such as eczema or MRSA [methicillin-resistant staph] infection. We know there is a contribution, but we think there may be even a greater bacterial contribution than we had previously appreciated," Segre said.

That contribution is not one-sided. We tend to think of bacteria as germs that cause disease -- but the new findings suggest that a healthy crop of normal bacteria prevents disease.

"For example, 1.5% of Americans have MRSA in their nose -- but they don't show any signs of infection," Segre said. "Maybe it is that the other bacteria are keeping the MRSA in check and not letting it grow and create an infection. Or maybe it is because the MRSA is changing between when it's up in someone's nose and when it causes an infection."

In future studies, the researchers will compare the microorganisms living on healthy people to those living on people with diseases.

"We want to see if there is a shift between what we find in normal individuals and what we find in someone with a skin disease," Segre said.

"Our results underscore that skin is home to vibrant communities of microbial life, which may significantly influence our health," Grice says in a news release.

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

chafing
Pictures and symptoms of the red, scaly rash.
woman with dyed dark hair
What it says about your health.
 
woman with cleaning products
Top causes of the itch that rashes.
atopic dermatitus
Identify and treat common skin problems.
 
itchy skin
Article
shingles rash on skin
Article
 
woman with skin tag
Quiz
Woman washing face
Video
 

Itching for Relief?

Get Help With the

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

woman washing her hair in sink
Video
close up of womans bare neck
Tools
 
Feet
Slideshow
woman with face cream
Quiz