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Eek! Our Skin Is Full Of Bugs

No matter how much yogurt we eat or kambucha we drink, no matter how much we hear about how bacteria can be beneficial to us, it still can seem creepy that there are up to 1,000 species of bacteria and fungi lounging around on our skin at any given time--1 trillion or so microscopic residents.

Maybe new research that shows just how one of our many freeloaders pays a little rent will help. It turns out certain species of staphylococcal bacteria help the skin regulate its immune response to injury and ward off disease.

It has long been known that our skin teems with so-called microflora. Earlier research has revealed how many species there are (somewhere between 300 and 1,000), where most thrive best (the forearm) and worst (behind the ear). We know that our good bacteria crowd out pathogenic bacteria and that some even secrete a natural antibiotic to ward off these bad bacteria and secure more space for themselves.

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