Diversity is required to create a healthy body politic and a healthy body, inside and out.
You've heard a lot about the various "good" and "bad" bacteria that make up your gut biome. But you may not know that your skin is also home to a wildly rich and, when healthy, very diverse bacterial soup.
Scientists have discovered that on healthy skin, harmful Staphylococcus aureus is kept in check by its friendlier cousin, Staphylococcus epidermidis.
But on people with eczema — specifically atopic dermatitis (AD), the most common type of eczema — there is an overgrowth of S. aureus compared to S. epidermidis.
When researchers check the biome in the inner elbow or the back of the knee on folks with AD, they find an imbalance of those microbes. And the less diversity there is the less healthy the skin.
But a skin biome transplant may be possible: When gram-negative bacteria is collected from healthy human skin and cultured in the lab, it can be put into a treatment (maybe a cream) that can knock out AD.
This breakthrough in understanding of the skin biome means that there's good news on the horizon for the 17.8 million Americans with AD.
So stay tuned for the next round of research and, in the meantime, try taking a probiotic capsule regularly. That can add healthful diversity to your skin biome, as well as your gut.
And if you have AD, avoid antibacterial soaps and household products that can further upset your skin biome.
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