The Beginning of Biology Was Not the End of Chemistry: A Different View on the Skin Microbiome

Session Description: 

It is long acknowledged that the skin serves as a key organ of biological immunity beyond being a physical shield and that its communication with the environment plays a role in human overall health, mood, and ability to cope with stress. Elements of skin’s innate immunity shape the nature of the body’s acquired humoral immunity based on environmental signals collected from birth to late in life.

Advanced genomic sequencing techniques have given rise in recent years to new findings about the human skin microbiome. These findings identify a profound difference between the gut and skin microbiomes and confirm population variability depending on skin site and condition. Additional recent research utilizing biota staining techniques reveal a potential cycle of diversity in skin biota metabolic paths.

The scalp is unique among skin areas with relatively high follicular density and an elevated rate of sebum secretion. The protected dark and warm environment on the scalp surface provides a welcoming ground to population of microorganism that may be different from those present on other skin areas. Scalp skin is heavily populated with sebaceous glands, which produce sebum that protects hair. Therefore scalp associated disorders involve follicular secretions imbalance and innate immunity aspects such as pH, abnormal biota population and inflammation. Lipophilic yeast Malassezia is widely accepted to play a role in scalp disorders. However, since many of the scalp microorganisms are not culturable using culture techniques it is difficult to translate to the role of biota in scalp health. Genomic and proteomic techniques utilizing identification of biota and its secretion sequencing can give rise to better understanding of disorders and pave paths for innovation in prevention and treatment.

My talk will provide key insights into recent knowledge about skin microbiome and will focus on the scalp skin as an example for potential innovative skin care product development. It will compare biochemical differences between scalp skin and other skin areas, follicular density and secretion, typical biota and innovative genomic and proteomic testing opportunities.

Session Speaker: 
Session Date & Time: 
Monday, October 2, 2017 - 9:30am to 10:05am