It’s the weekend, some actually garden, but know that we all do it a little without knowing it. Because our skin is very fertile for the culture… of bacteria. No, don’t be disgusted, because you may already know that these bacteria protect us. The details of Géraldine Zamansky, journalist for the Health Magazine of France 5, and every Saturday on franceinfo.
franceinfo: An American study has just shown how our face can contain a wide variety of harmless bacteria?
Geraldine Zamansky: Absolutely. First, you said it right, these are harmless bacteria. We talk about it more often now at the level of the digestive tract. The bacteria that make up the “intestinal flora” help us digest food.
Well, our skin also has a particular and protective “flora”. First, it “takes the place” and complicates the arrival of aggressive microbes. Then, it would stimulate our immune defenses to deal with a dangerous infection precisely.
But it relies on a subtle balance, so these researchers investigated by engaging in an activity well known to teenagers. They emptied several skin pores from the faces of 16 volunteers to study their contents.
And they then discovered that only one type of bacteria lives inside each of the pores explored. But different families can live together a few centimeters apart.
And then, why is the discovery of this little family life within each pore of the skin important?
This explains how bacteria a priori less strong than their neighbors can survive by taking “shelter” in a pore of the skin. However, other studies have already shown that this diversity is crucial.
We know, for example, that protection against external germs relies particularly on certain species. If they disappear from the skin, we are more at risk of getting dangerous infections. We also know that an imbalance in these bacteria can promote diseases such as psoriasis and acne, or prevent the healing of a wound.
So this discovery will facilitate the development of new treatments?
This is the hope of its authors. Their work shows that to correct this type of imbalance, treatments will have to act right to the bottom of the pores of the skin if undesirable bacteria manage to take shelter there. But in the meantime, we all have a role to play in preserving this microscopic balance: not damaging it with overly aggressive hygiene products.
Besides, I think that many of us have experienced it in recent months. Small wounds on the hands heal less easily since a lot of hydroalcoholic gel is used. So remember, as soon as you can just wash them with soap and water, that’s better!
Read the cited study.