Resident skin flora

The resident skin flora is the physiological skin flora, also known as colonising flora. It comprises bacteria such as Staphylococcus epidermidis, propioni and corynebacteria, which do not have a pathogenic effect on the skin. The microorganisms have important functions: their metabolism inhibits the growth of non-resident bacteria and fungi, and maintain the balance between the colonising microorganisms.

Around 80 per cent of the resident skin flora is on the surface of the stratum corneum, the outermost layer of the epidermis. Particularly high concentrations of microorganisms are found in body regions rich in sebaceous glands, e.g. scalp, forehead, axillae, front of the chest, and the area between the shoulder blades. 20 per cent of the resident microorganisms are found in the sebaceous glands (up to 0.3 mm deep). On non-intact skin, such as wounds, the microorganisms of the resident skin flora may trigger infections.

See also Surgical hand disinfection

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