Previously, scientists and medical professionals relied on swabs to analyze the microbes on the skin’s surface. Today, advances in DNA technology have finally allowed for a deeper inspection of the skin’s surface and the microbial communities therein.
In 2007, the National Institute of Health initiated the Human Microbiome Project. The aim of this project was to identify the microbes present at the various organs of our bodies.
This is the work that really began to reveal the astonishingly complex diversity of the microbial communities present in different areas of our own bodies and the variations between individuals.
Not only were differences present between different organs (oral, nasal, gastrointestinal), but the skin alone was found to harbor drastically different microbial communities depending on the location (palm, face, hair). And for us, the most relevant of this research is that which focuses on attempting to understand the unique characteristics of the skin “microbiome”.
The main microorganisms that make up the foundation of our skin microbiome include:
- Bacterium – proteobacteria and staphylococcus species are most common
- Fungi – malassezia species make up the majority
- Mites – demodex mites are the most famous
- Viruses – much more diverse variety is present
This section discusses some of these relevant findings and provides a general overview of what researchers have learned about the skin microbiome. The content of the section is broken down into the following sub-sections:
- Variation in the Microbiome
How the skin microbiome varies across the body
- Factors Influencing the Microbiome
Most prominent factors which influence your unique microbiome
- Relation to Immunity
The intricate relationship between the microbiome and immunity
- Dysbiosis in the Microbiome
Some of more common microbiome issues
Reading through these sections will help you build a more complete understanding of your skin and may help steer the way for future progress.