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The (Microbial) Neighbors You’ll Never See

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Your body is covered with microbes, inside and out. It might sound gross, but this is perfectly normal. It’s the sign of a healthy microbiome!

Our bacterial cells far outnumber our human cells. Research shows that the more diverse those bacterial cells are, the better our health. That’s why Mother Dirt’s Ammonia-Oxidizing Bacteria skin spray works to restore balance, pushing out the “bad” bacteria and allowing in the good.

Curious about the microbes that call your body home? Here are some of the most common microorganisms that reside on our skin:

  • Propionibacteria are most prevalent on sebaceous, or oily skin, such as nostrils, scalp, upper chest, and back. They are lipophilic anaerobes, decomposing oily sebum secreted by our glands to produce propionic acid. Although they are present in infants and babies, they become more prevalent around the onset of puberty, as the sebaceous glands increase their output. One of the bacterial strains, Propionibacterium acnes, is thought to be responsible for inflammation of the glands that can lead to breakouts.
  • Staphylococci reside predominantly in the moist areas of the body, such as the armpit, the elbow crease. Their name is derived from the Greek word for grape, since their colonies resemble grape clusters. As aerobic bacteria, they produce lactic acid that lowers the pH of the skin and controls growth of other microorganisms. They are particularly prevalent on the skin of babies and infants, their relative abundance decreasing with age. While normally harmless, certain species of staphylococci, such as S. aureus, can act as human pathogens. Methicilin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) infections are a difficult public health problem in hospitals and beyond.
  • Corynebacteria are rod-shaped and mostly innocuous. They also prefer moist environments, such as the navel or back of the knee. They grow slowly, even when food is abundant.
  • Betaproteobacteria are a diverse group, which includes Nitrosomonas, currently excluded from human skin. They are the most prevalent group in dry areas such as the forearms. Fun fact: These are the bacteria that dog owners have most in common with their pets.
  • Malassezia are actually fungi that get an honorable mention. They are found on our skin in large quantities and are typically harmless. However, certain species can cause dandruff or skin discoloration.

So where do AOB fit in?

Nitrosomonas are among the healthiest forms of bacteria. They consume (or oxidize) the irritants in our sweat and on our bodies and promote the healthier microorganisms that help keep us clean. This leads us to believe that a rich population of AOB can balance the skin, preventing common conditions such as dry skin, oily skin, and eczema.

While AOB are very high up on the “healthy bacteria” chain, they are also among the most sensitive. It’s highly possible that humans have wiped out these “good guys” with soaps, detergents, and other hygiene-related chemicals. In fact, most common beauty products are like kryptonite to these bacteria.

That’s why Mother Dirt is working hard to get the AOB back. We believe that diverse bacteria = happy and healthy skin. By using biome-friendly products, we can allow the Nitrosomonas to flourish and once again let our microbial “neighbors” live in peace :)

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