• Anna Solana, science journalist

    Bacteria as a spray for skin hygiene

    30 Oct Bacteria as a spray for skin hygiene



    Science Daily

    Caring for the skin without washing improves its appearance. Or so claims an AOBiome study, presented in early October in Washington, that points to the beneficial effects of spraying the skin with Nitrosomonas eutropha, a bacterium that metabolizes ammonia in sweat to eliminate body odour.


    A company called AOBiome has launched a bacterial spray in the market that theoretically could save water and improve the appearance of the skin. The invention, called AO+ Refreshing Cosmetic Mist, is not exactly cheap: 99 euros for a month’s supply and 249 euros for three months’ supply. But apparently it’s worth it. In fact, its creator, David Whitlock, who says he hasn’t showered in 12 years (!!), argues fervently that Nitrosomonas may be a solution for acne and for chronic skin wounds. Read More

  • Núria Estapé, science journalist

    Microbiota – the skin’s “flora”

    31 Aug Microbiota - the skin’s "flora"



    The New York Times

    Our skin is a balanced ecosystem. Since it was colonized by billions of bacteria, viruses, fungi and mites at the dawn of the evolution of hominids, many species of microorganisms have lived in symbiosis with our skin mantle cells. Science’s efforts to identify our colonizers have revealed how essential these microorganisms are for the health of our skin. The most natural way to healthy skin is to help maintain the balance between all these microorganisms.


    Although it may be difficult to credit, only 10% of the cells of the body’s skin, intestines and mucous membranes are human. Most of them are of microscopic organisms that belong to the microbiota, the set of all foreign microbes that live in our body, especially in the digestive organs and the skin. For example, each square centimetre of human skin contains approximately one million microorganisms from a hundred different species. Together these form the skin’s microbiota (traditionally called the skin’s "flora”). This ecosystem is comparable in complexity to any other system in the Earth’s mantle. Today we know that our skin has hosted these microorganisms over thousands of years of evolution and that it is the symbiosis between our own cells and these tiny guests which helps the skin to perform its primary function of acting as a protective physical barrier. Read More

  • Fede Montagud, editor

    Our skin is covered with fungi

    25 Jul Our skin is covered with fungi



    NIH News

    Our skin is covered by a huge variety of bacteria, fungi and viruses living in perfect harmony and constituting the skin’s microbiota, also called skin’s flora. New research reveals just how numerous are the species of fungi that colonize our skin and help it stay healthy and look good.


    Almost everyone knows that our digestive system requires the presence of microorganisms in order to process food. Similarly, the skin’s own ecosystem needs beneficial germs to remain healthy. A recent genetic study conducted in the USA and published in Nature describes for the first time the 80 types of fungi that normally live on our skin. The areas where most species are found are our heels – and feet in general – while species are less abundant on the neck, back, ears and palms. This important finding has quadrupled the known number of types of fungal microbiota and will guide future research on the role of skin microorganisms. Furthermore, the study confirms the importance of respecting the balance of this ecosystem in order to keep our skin in the best possible condition. Remember: take short, tepid showers, and use soap, shower gels and moisturizers with a slightly acidic pH (between 4.7 and 5.5).

  • Elisabet Salmerón, science journalist

    Fascinating alum crystal

    Alum crystal, used by ancient civilizations, has come back into fashion with the rise of natural cosmetics. It has many properties, including as a body deodorant. How does it benefit the skin? Is the aluminium it contains hazardous?


    Alum crystal is a naturally occurring sweet-tasting mineral that looks like translucent glass. It is usually composed of an aluminium sulfate and a sulfate from another metal. The most commercially exploited alum is the hydrated form of potassium aluminium sulfate (potassium alum), which comes from a volcanic igneous rock called aluminiferous trachyte; it can also be manufactured industrially, however. Read More