Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Where Are You Germiest?

Normal healthy human skin is inhabited by a wide range of microflora and fauna. The skin microbiome is rich and differs in diversity of species between areas that are sebaceous (like the face), moist (like between the toes) and dry (the forearm).

Students in a genomics course at George Washington University tested the microbiome on various body parts. They took swabs of the belly button, behind the ears, between the toes, on the calves and forearms of 129 adults with healthy skin and tested the samples for bacterial diversity, which is a sign of skin health.

The students found that drier skin (calves and forearms) has more diversity than sebaceous (behind the ears) and moist (belly button, between toes) areas. Perhaps the difference is due to how well those different areas are washed? The lack of diversity may mean a less healthy mix of microbes.

Perhaps our mothers were right to admonish us to wash behind our ears, in our belly button and between our toes.

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