The skin is our largest organ, hosting eight million bacteria per square centimetre. As for the rest of our microbiome, our skin flora is unique to each individual person. Our skin protects us from the outside world and harmful bacteria.
Every time we touch something, we exchange microbes. Many microorganisms are harmless and they even dominate potential pathogens, helped by our immune system. A healthy person’s microbiome, or skin flora, is balanced. But when the balance of our skin flora changes, common problems such as acne, eczema and dandruff can happen.
The microbiome of our skin is not located in the superficial layer, but rather in the deeper stratum corneum of the epidermis. It can be divided into four different phyla: Actinobacteria, Firmicutes, Proteobacteria and Bacteriodetes. There are certain bacteria that like to nestle in moist areas of our body, others prefer dry spots and others colonise fatty or tallow rich areas on the skin. Staphylococcus and Corynebacterium are found in the armpits, in the elbow and in the popliteal. On the forehead and the back you’ll find large amounts of Propionibacterium.