"Health is adding a level of intention to every area of your life"
- Miranda Anderson
So not only are there many types of bacteria, there are also different functions of these bacteria. For example, our skin may have a positive, negative or neutral relationship with these bacteria. Commensalistic bacteria are bacteria that neither help or harm us, but that themselves benefit from the relationship. Mutualistic bacteria help us and also benefit from the relationship.
The bacteria we find on our skin are categorized by the environment in which they thrive. Some like oily skin, others prefer moist skin, and others still will thrive on dry skin.
While most strains of bacteria on the skin are harmless, others can pose serious health problems. These bacteria can cause everything from mild infections (boils, abscesses, and cellulitis) to serious infections of the blood, meningitis, and food poisoning.
Here are 5 of the more common types of bacteria that make our skin their home. These can be both beneficial or harmful depending on the circumstances.
Propionibacterium acnes thrive on the oily surfaces of the skin and hair follicles. These bacteria can contribute to the occurrence of acne as they proliferate due to excess oil production and clogged pores.
Corynebacterium includes both pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacteria species. Corynebacterium diphtheriae are the bacteria that produce toxins that cause the disease diphtheria.
Staphylococcus epidermidis bacteria are typically harmless inhabitants of the skin that rarely cause disease in healthy individuals. These bacteria can however, form a thick biofilm barrier, which is a slimy substance that protects bacteria from antibiotics, chemicals, and other substances.
Staphylococcus aureus is a common type of skin bacteria that may be found on the skin, but also in nasal cavities, and the respiratory tract. While some staph strains are harmless, others such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), can cause serious infections.
Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria typically colonize the skin and throat areas of the body. S. pyogenes most commonly reside in these areas without causing harm.
However, S. pyogenes can become problematic in individuals with compromised immune systems. This species is responsible for a number of diseases that range from mild infections to life-threatening illnesses. Some of these diseases include strep throat, scarlet fever, impetigo, necrotizing fasciitis, toxic shock syndrome, septicemia, and acute rheumatic fever.
So there you have it! 5 of the more common bacteria that may be making a home of your skin.
Remember, by supporting your digestive health by focusing on fresh, whole foods, keeping sugar and processed carbs out of your diet and including small amounts of fermented foods, you will also be promoting a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria in your gut and on your skin.