08 January 2022

What's happening on your face

This is the type of information nobody needs to know, and many people don't want to know, but it's interesting nevertheless, so here goes...
Your skin is home to a thousand kinds of bacteria, and the ways they contribute to healthy skin are still largely mysterious. This mystery may be getting even more complex: In a paper published Thursday in the journal Cell Host & Microbe, researchers studying the many varieties of Cutibacterium acnes bacteria on 16 human volunteers found that each pore was a world unto itself. Every pore contained just a single type of C. acnes...

The pores were different from their neighbors, too — there was no clear pattern uniting the pores of the left cheek or forehead across the volunteers, for instance... What the scientists think is happening is that each pore contains descendants of a single individual. Pores are deep, narrow crannies with oil-secreting glands at the bottom, Dr. Lieberman said. If a C. acnes cell manages to get down there, it may proliferate until it fills the pore with copies of itself...

And could it be that another inhabitant on our faces plays a role in how each pore’s bacteria comes and goes?

We have mites on our faces that live in pores and eat bacteria,” Dr. Lieberman said. What role they play in this ecosystem, as far as the maintenance of gardens of C. acnes, has yet to be determined.
Way more at the linked source publication; above summary from The New York Times.


  1. Moving the topic space from the face to the hands, this related podcast may be of interest, in which Robert Krulwich and Neil Degrasse Tyson run an experiment. Oddly, I cannot find a "play now" link on that page, so you may need to search for it using your favorite podcast app.


    1. I believe I heard that program live some years ago. Radiolab is one of my favorite podcasts.


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