What is the Skin Microbiome?

To most people, the Skin Microbiome is a relatively new term. It has only really been studied in the last few decades, even in the scientific and medical world.

What is the skin microbiome?

What is the Skin Microbiome?

Image Credit: Labskin

The skin microbiota is the term employed to label the millions of different organisms – viruses, bacteria, and fungi – that live on human skin. It is the genetic material of all of these microbes.

In terms of surface area, the skin is the second largest organ of the human body. It is second only to the intestines. It is made up of seven layers of tissue and it guards ligaments, muscles, bones, and internal organs.

There are more than a thousand species of bacteria and up to eighty different fungi species on skin which have been identified, with research still ongoing.

Human microbiota

What is the Skin Microbiome?

Image Credit: Labskin

In the mid 1880’s, the first scientific evidence that microorganisms exist as part of the normal human system came about when Theodor Escherich, the Austrian paediatrician, identified 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 the decades that followed, scientists discovered further bacteria in urinary, oral, and digestive systems.

Throughout the 20th century, research in characterizing human microbiota continued and started to include the skin microbiome by mid-century. Yet, the procedures and tools utilized for examining the skin microbiome were culture-based and only capable of studying bacteria under particular growth conditions.

Changes in the skin microbiome

What is the Skin Microbiome?

Image Credit: Labskin

Skin conditions like acne, eczema, and rosacea are thought to be connected to a lack of diversity in the skin microbiome. For example, recent studies have revealed that individuals with eczema have a microbiome that is not found in individuals that do not.

Whilst obviously one of the key advancements in modern history, and of course, crucial for survival, society’s obsession with cleaning and hygiene has also led to huge alterations in the skin microbiome and harsher conditions for it to thrive on. An increased number of people have reported symptoms for all of the skin conditions mentioned, in addition to some others.

Technology advancements

What is the Skin Microbiome?

Image Credit: Labskin

Advances in technology have enabled researchers to start examining diseased skin in more detail than was possible before. Psoriasis, eczema, acne, and dermatitis are probably the most common and best known examples of skin disease, although there are many more.

There are several studies available regarding these diseases, yet treatments and outcomes are so varied that a lot more study is still needed.

About Labskin

At Labskin we deliver human skin microbiology services to support your product R&D activities in the cosmetic, personal care, medical device and pharmaceutical sectors. With our sector experience and use of technology, you will be accessing industry-focused services supported by world-leading skin science expertise.

Whether you need rapid, focused analysis or flexible, tailor-made research programs we can help you develop and validate skincare ingredients and products which really work.

Our skin model is a 3D human skin equivalent that incorporates vital biological components to model normal skin function. Developed over 12 years with more than 30 scientific journal publications, it is made from young keratinocytes (human skin cells) and adult fibroblasts (metabolically-active, collagen-producing human skin cells).

“An ideal platform for basic or applied skin research, testing compounds or formulated products for the cosmetic, pharmaceutical and chemical sectors.”

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Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 6:04 AM


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