Last week’s blog about the benefits of fermented food was about how beneficial bacteria in your gut can boost your immune system. Now a new study shows how beneficial bacteria living on your skin can also protect against Staph skin infections. Staph bacteria can be the the cause of more serious MRSA infections.
The study examines three species of Lactobacillus probiotic bacteria commonly found in fermented foods and supplements. The results show that two of the probiotics protect human skin cells against Staph skin infection. The study also shows that the good bacteria have to be present before exposure to protect against skin Staph infection (Applied and Environmental Microbiology, August 2012 vol. 78 no. 15, 5119-5126).
This study further highlights the important role good bacteria play in keeping you safe from infections. Good bacteria on your skin can crowd out invading Staph bacteria before they get a foothold, just as they do inside your gut. But for the best skin protection, the good bacteria can’t just be applied after an infection starts. Your skin needs to already have a healthy population of beneficial bacteria living on it beforehand.
Skin bacteria tips
So how can you keep the beneficial bacteria on your skin alive and well? One of the best ways is to simply be careful what you put on your skin. It’s also important to keep any invading bacteria from getting through your skin.
Below are some simple tips to help you keep your skin flora healthy and protect your skin:
- Avoid antibacterial agents in your soaps and other products – these agents are being questioned by the FDA and EPA.
- Use only natural soaps and personal care products on your skin.
- Wear protective gloves for Staph cleaning and disinfecting.
- Consider carefully before using bleach and other harsh chemicals for bathing.
- Consider using essential oils for bathing as a more skin-friendly sanitizing option.
- Keep your skin well moisturized (cracked skin can let bad bacteria inside your body).
- Cover open cuts, wounds or sores to help keep bacteria on skin from getting inside your wound.
To your health,
Microbiologist and Natural Health Expert