Microbiome are a community of viruses, bacteria and micro organisms on our largest organ, the skin.
Up to 100 trillion (that's 14 zeros) of the smallest organisms and micro organisms settle on and in our bodies. Although they pay neither rent nor lease, they prevent the spread of pathogens. Labelled as the microbiome they form a unique and complex cosmos in different parts of the body, as distinctive and individual as our fingerprints.
The microbiome of the skin is a fascinating composition of fungi, bacteria, viruses and unicellular organisms. The 10 billion of these 100 trillion organisms are tirelessly building the protective barrier of our skin to protect the skin from hostile intruders.
This article will take you into the fascinating world of micro organisms that cover our bodies. Learn what they do on a daily basis and how we can take advantage of their work.
The following is summarized in this article:
They are the smallest organisms, bacteria, viruses and fungi that populate our skin. In a balanced relationship, they are responsible for various metabolic processes, supporting e.g. wound healing and protection against intruders.
There are bacteria that produce special proteins and are comparable in their effect to antibiotics as they can kill other harmful germs.
If you would like to know more about your skin and its protection status you are welcome to make an appointment at my practice in Vienna
The composition is individual and unique in every human being. It consists among other things of bacteria:
- Bacteria release molecules that strengthen the skin's defence shield and regulate the pH of the skin.
- The high number of bacteria makes it difficult for other organisms to infect the skin. The microbiome are therefore also part of our immune system which prevents attacks from the outside.
If the skin becomes ill the composition of the microbiome may alter. The bacterial diversity will decrease and the balance of microbes will change. By taking antibiotics the microbiome may be disturbed. Some species retreat but others such as Staphylococcus (aureus) may start to proliferate.
What is Staphylococcus aureus?
Staphylococci settle naturally on our skin. Their presence is not welcomed as they can cause a minor inflammation. These inflammations are however usually harmless and heal themselves.
A danger arises when the staphylococci enter the body. If the microbiome of the skin is disturbed and thus the "door into the body" opened, the protective effect is no longer there or only partially present, it can lead to inflammation and severe infections or even to blood poisoning.
Atopic dermatitis is a widespread disease of the skin, the cause of which is usually chronic. Although it is not contagious, the genetic risk is inherited.
Investigations show that the pattern of colonization of the skin is changed in patients with atopic dermatitis compared to healthy individuals. Because the diversity of the "good" inhabitants (bacteria) has decreased, the "bad" organisms can multiply and trigger inflammation.
However, the altered pattern in the microbiome is not limited to the disease areas. Even where the skin appears healthy, the bacterial colonization deviates from the original pattern. The inflammation thus changes the entire microbiome of the skin dramatically.
Overall, the change in the microbiome also has a negative effect on the skin barrier. The skin barrier protects the body all over and prevents the penetration of bacteria, viruses and other harmful substances into the body. If this "wall" is weakened, it increases the risk of developing atopic dermatitis or other diseases.
Much of our microbiome settles in the colon. Recent research shows that these microbes play a direct role in certain metabolic processes. On the one hand the germs in the intestine produce important vitamins for the metabolic processes of our body. On the other hand a disturbance of the microbiome can cause diseases such as dementia or cardiovascular diseases. If the microbiome is intact and diverse, the entire human is healthy too.
Microbiome and skin flora are strongly influenced by environmental influences and our lifestyle. Risk factors such as alcohol, nicotine or an unhealthy diet can do much to change the sensitive balance.
Another factor is skin care. Daily showering, especially with heavily perfumed soaps or lotions, the use of ointments and creams with many synthetic, intense fragrances, can also disturb the fragile balance.
It is better to use pH-neutral or probiotic cosmetics if possible. Their active ingredients can more easily establish themselves in the microbiome and strengthen the balance of the skin flora in the long run.
Our intestinal flora plays an important role in our skin and general health. Through a detailed analysis in a special laboratory, the individual intestinal microbiome can be precisely analysed and selectively supplemented by pre- and probiotics. A holistic approach can achieve a new balance from the inside.
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New Article on probiotic skin care
Probiotics are part of our daily life. We are confronted with options in nutrition but also more in cosmetic products. Learn more here: