Bacteria on your scalp
The most common scalp bacteria are Propionibacterium and Staphylococcus, and new research has found that which of these species is more dominant may determine whether or not you suffer from dandruff, as nearly half of all adults do. When there are many more Propionibacterium bacteria than Staphylococcus, the scalp is healthy. But a preponderance of Staphylococcus leads to dandruff. Now, of course, scientists need to develop shampoos that help keep these battling scalp bacteria in balance.
Critters in your eyelashes and eyebrows
Of all the microbes living in or on the body, the Demodex mites that live on eyelashes and in eyebrow hair follicles – along with hair follicles all over the body – might elicit the loudest “Ewwwwww’s”! These teensy animals have long bodies and stumpy legs and they spend their entire life on your face or body hair. They sleep, eat, and even have sex there. But while they’re rather disgusting to think about, the mites don’t usually cause any problems unless they overpopulate or spark an allergic reaction. Then they can lead to skin conditions like rosacea or seborrheic dermatitis. Some people may think their eyes are just dry or irritated when the mites are actually responsible. The mites seem to like us more as we age, so while only about 20 per cent of people under 20 have them, nearly all senior citizens do.
Bugs on your face
Your skin is one of the body’s most important defences against outside threats, and the bacteria that live on the skin’s surface are important sentries. Your skin’s overall health is dependent on the balance between your own skin cells and the microbes that live on the surface – on average, about a trillion bacteria. Dr Julie Segre, says that among the most common of these bacteria are Staphylococcus epidermidis, Staphylococcus hominis, Corynebacterium simulans, and Cornyebacterium accolens. “Basically, the healthy bacteria are filling all those little niches so that the more dangerous bacteria can’t get a foothold onto the skin,” says Serge.