A diverse collection of microorganisms, bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other bugs live on the human skin. In fact, in our bodies, microbial cells are reported to outnumber our own 10 to 1. This group of resident flora and fauna makes up what we refer to as the “microbiome”, and it’s no secret that these little guys can have a big effect on your health and immune system.
The human microbiome is both diverse and dynamic, varying from person to person and changing throughout life’s course. And it is becoming increasingly apparent that the microbiome is a prime target for manipulation and treatment in various conditions. While this knowledge is not particularly new, our methods for investigating are. New sequencing technologies have revolutionized the way we can study microbial communities. This gives us a better understanding of the nature and composition of the healthy skin microbiome, and we are learning more about how it is disturbed in various disease states. This puts the development of exciting new therapies targeting these bugs on the horizon.
What is the role of the microbiome in aging skin?
This is unclear, but postulating is always fun. We all know or have heard about the benefits of probiotics for the GI tract. There is a healthy microbial balance in the gut that is anti-inflammatory and it is foreseeable that certain metabolites released by the natural bacteria on the skin provide a similar anti-inflammatory effect helping to prevent discoloration, sun damage, and wrinkle formation.