AN INTRODUCTION TO THE SKIN MICROBIOME
The Skin Microbiome is a relatively new term to most people. Indeed, even in the scientific and medical world it has only really been studied in the last few decades.
Our white paper, “An Introduction To The Skin Microbiome” aims to show what the Skin Microbiome is, what it is made up of, how it affects our skin and whole-body health and why it has become such a hot topic in recent years. We look at the history of the microbiome and how the discovery of and research into the skin microbiome is helping to change how we protect our skin health.
WHAT IS THE SKIN MICROBIOME?
The skin microbiota is the term used to describe the millions of different organisms – bacteria, viruses and fungi – that live on Human Skin. The skin microbiome is the genetic material of all these microbes.
The skin is the human body’s second largest organ in terms of surface area, second only to the intestines. It contains seven layers of tissue and guards muscles, bones, ligaments and internal organs.
There are over 1,000 species of bacteria and up to 80 different fungi specie on skin that have been identified, with research ongoing.
The first scientific evidence that microorganisms exist as part of the normal human system emerged in the mid 1880’s when Austrian paediatrician Theodor Escherich found a type of bacteria in the intestinal flora of healthy children and children who suffered with a diarrhoeal disease. The bacteria was later named Escherichia Coli, more commonly known as E. coli.
In subsequent decades scientists discovered further bacteria in oral, digestive and urinary systems. Research in characterising human microbiota continued throughout the 20th century and began to incorporate the skin microbiome by mid-century.
However, the tools and procedures used for studying the skin microbiome were culture-based and only capable of studying bacteria under certain growth conditions.
CHANGES IN THE SKIN MICROBIOME
Skin conditions such as eczema, acne, and rosacea are believed to be connected to a lack of diversity in the skin microbiome. Recent studies have shown for example, that individuals with eczema have a microbiome not found in individuals without.
Society’s obsession with cleaning and hygiene – while obviously one of the key advancements in modern history and, of course, vital for survival – has also led to massive changes in the skin microbiome and harsher conditions for it to thrive on. All the above skin conditions, as well as others, have seen an increased number of people reporting symptoms.
Advances in technology have allowed researchers to begin examining diseased skin in greater detail than was previously possible. Acne, psoriasis, eczema and dermatitis are probably the most well-known and most common examples of skin disease, although there are many more. There are numerous studies available regarding these diseases, however treatments and outcomes vary so much that a lot more study is required.
Download our full White Paper now to read more about the diversity of the skin microbiome, technological breakthroughs that will enhance our knowledge on the skin microbiome and how commercial companies are helping bridge the knowledge gap between consumers and researchers.