The gut microbiome has been the best researched so far. The bacteria living there, for example, prevent the colonization of pathogens. They promote the absorption of nutrients in the blood and support the immune system. With a stable balance of the various microorganisms, harmful and pathogenic invaders have less of a chance.
However, if the balance is disturbed and individual bacterial strains take control, this can become noticeable. This can happen, for example, when taking antibiotics. They damage the gut microbiome. The beneficiaries are resistant bacteria (e.g.B Clostridium difficile), which can then spread. Because of this, many people respond to antibiotics with diarrhea.
It is also important for the microbiome of the skin that different organisms settle on our surface. For the most part, members of the Staphylococcus family of bacteria live on our skin. The rounded staphylococci can be found almost everywhere: in the air, in the nose, on the skin. Not all are harmless. For example, if the germ Staphylococcus aureus spreads under certain conditions, the skin can become inflamed. This can be a problem, especially in care facilities or hospitals.
Bacteria as shields
In principle, the bacteria, viruses or fungi on our skin are not aggressive attackers. A balanced ratio of microorganisms supports various metabolic processes, helps with wound healing and protects against invaders. Many of the bacteria that live on our skin make proteins that in turn kill other germs.
The black sheep among the settlers:
- Fungi of the genus Malassezia: If they get out of hand, skin eczema can develop.
- Staphylococcus aureus: if it spreads, boils sometimes develop. A systemic infection can lead to dangerous pneumonia.
- Staphylococcus haemolyticus: belongs to the hospital germs and can cause diseases of the urinary tract or the joints.
- Staphylococcus epidermidis: can cover prostheses or catheters with a biofilm.
Researchers have found in various studies that the composition of the microbiome changes in many patients with skin diseases. Compared to healthy people, colonization with bacteria is less diverse. An example of this is neurodermatitis, a non-contagious, chronic inflammatory skin disease that can be inherited. Scientists found that the settlement pattern of the skin of those affected changes in inflamed areas, such as the crook of the arm or the back of the knee. They published the results in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. The diversity of the good bacteria decreases while the "bad" organisms multiply and trigger the inflammation.
What surprised the researchers: the non-inflamed skin of those affected also showed an altered microbiome. These results should open the way to new treatment options in the future. The restoration of the natural skin barrier can play a decisive role in the treatment of skin diseases in the future.
Today we know that with targeted care, the production of germ-killing proteins can be promoted by the skin microbiome. Creams containing urea that strengthen the skin barrier should be part of this care therapy. Dermatologists and pharmacists can advise on the selection. Current studies have already shown that creams containing cortisone not only work against inflammation of the skin in eczema, but also stabilize the microbiome of the patient.
Finally, we have summarized 5 exciting facts about the skin microbiome for you. Happy reading!
The skin microbiome:
- It used to be thought that microbes were invaders and that they urgently needed to be combated. Fortunately, today we know that the human body forms a kind of symbiotic community with microbes (pathogens)! This knowledge changes a lot, because it shows that bacteria should not be fought, but the entire microbiome should be supported so that the body's defense system can function at its best!
- The intestinal flora not only needs probiotic bacteria, but also prebiotic fiber
e. As you may have already learned, prebiotics are essentially “food” for probiotics. These help the bacteria to grow and fight off harmful bacteria that are not good for the skin, for example!
- In order for the skin to be able to carry out its natural tasks, we have to support it. This includes, for example, that the skin can repair itself when injuries or inflammation occur. In addition, the skin is there to ward off free radicals that are caused, for example, by UV radiation. But how can we support our skin? The intake of antioxidants, vitamins such as vitamin E, vitamin C and Q 10 is very well suited for this, because they are particularly successful radical scavengers!
- Did you know that the skin also affects your metabolism? This is done by ultraviolet radiation. This is contained in the short-wave portion of the sun's rays and promotes the body's own metabolism. They also help the body to produce vitamin D. Vitamin D has positive effects on our muscles and improves the absorption of calcium, which strengthens bone formation and supports the immune system. But beware! Too much ultraviolet radiation has very strong negative effects on our body - this can lead to sunburn and chronic diseases such as skin cancer!
- The microbiome fundamentally protects the body from the immunosuppressive effects of USB radiation. If the skin microbiome is not intact, the skin cannot protect itself adequately. This is because a healthy skin microbiome suppresses the increased release of cytokines (substances that create an immunosuppressive environment) and thus the protective function of the immune system.