Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Skin Bacteria

If you don’t want to come into contact with bacteria, your first step is to avoid touching yourself. That’s because healthy human skin is teeming with dozens of different types of bacteria that are all competing for a plot of prime skin real estate. Some help you, some hurt you, but most just hitch a harmless ride that lasts your entire life.

So what do we know about the bacteria that call our bodies home? Surprisingly little—in fact, scientists spend most of their time concentrating on species of bacteria that cause disease. But if you’re really intent on making yourself unpopular at parties, here are a few things you should know about your bacterial cohabitants:

• They’re unique. Each of us has a different blend of bacterial species living on our skin. In fact, studies show that only about 13 percent of the bacterial species on your left hand are shared with your right hand. Based on this principle, some forward thinkers imagine a day where microbiologists can examine objects and determine who touched what by sampling the bacteria they’ve left behind.

• They have preferences. Specialized bacteria live in different ecosystems on your body. For example, your inner elbow has its own thriving bacterial communities that are quite different from those on your inner forearm, only a few inches away.

• Women’s hands have more germs. No one’s sure why women carry around more hand bacteria, despite the fact that they wash their hands more frequently. Possible explanations are the lower acidity of female skin or differences in sweat and skin oil.

• Washing won’t remove your permanent settlers. It may cut down their numbers (particularly if your soap includes an antibacterial compound that stays on the skin), but they’ll soon reestablish themselves in their normal proportions. In fact, bacteria may spread more aggressively immediately after a deep cleaning—which is good, because you need some bacteria to keep your skin healthy, as described in the next point.

• Competition is good. The bacteria on your body protect you from more dangerous, disease-causing strains. That’s because the benign bacteria that’s packed onto your skin doesn’t leave much room for anyone else to get established.

Source of Information : Oreilly - Your Body Missing Manual

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