Bacteria Thrive On Your Skin

Recent advancements in identifying bacterial species present on the skin have shown that those that were formerly thought to be dominant on the skin actually only make up a mere 5% of the skin microbiome. Skin bacteria number in the millions, and are primarily made up of actinobacteria and firmicutes. Studying the skin microbiome is a very active field, and new relationships between skin bacteria and diseases of the skin are being discovered rapidly. There are thought to be over 1000 unique species of bacteria living on your skin.


The skin flora are found mostly in the superficial layers of the epidermis and provide a protective function by preventing harmful bacteria from colonizing the skin’s surface. They can also, however, cause a variety of skin diseases and may enter the bloodstream through cuts and bruises potentially causing life threatening illnesses.


Some of the skin diseases that are linked to bacterial interactions include:


  • Acne vulgarisThis common skin condition is accompanied by a colonization of Propionibacterium acnes Pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads are frequently the result.
  • Atopic dermatitis—Probiotic skin treatments for this condition include the use of the common skin bacteria epidermidis to inhibit the growth of the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria that causes atopic dermatitis. Conventional treatments include the use of systemic antibiotics, corticosteroids and low concentration bleach baths.
  • Cellulitis—This is a deep bacterial infection of the skin that is caused by staph or strep bacteria. Symptoms may include redness, swelling, warmth and pain on the skin. Fever, chills, headaches, and blisters may also occur.
  • ImpetigoThis infection by staph or strep bacteria produces red, itchy, painful pus oozing blisters that frequently form scabs. Children are very susceptible to this malady and it spreads very easily. Keeping the area clean, dry and protected will help prevent further infection.


Your dermatologist can help to diagnose and treat bacterial skin infections and prevent them from coming back. Dr. Juan Vaillant of Old Bridge Dermatology has been treating patients for hair, skin, and nail problems for over 30 years, and has the extensive background needed to help address a variety of dermatological issues. Dr. Vaillant has successfully treated acne, eczema, dandruff, hair loss, psoriasis, and nail fungus. If you are looking for an amiable, highly skilled dermatologist, call our office in Old Bridge, NJ at (732) 679-0222 and make an appointment.