The top 3 bacteria living on your skin right now

The top 3 bacteria living on your skin right now


The skin microbiome, which we all have, is a wild, wild world of living microbes: bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other things (like mites!).

At Ellis Day Skin Science, we talk about balancing the skin microbiome, which refers to keeping your skin microbiome healthy by minimizing the bad bacteria and increasing the good bacteria. Your microbiome is a dynamic system, always changing, because of both internal and external factors that impact its composition. Bad bacteria can increase because of internal factors like stress, hormones, and your diet, or external factors like the weather, pollution, or your makeup. There are a whole host of factors that can throw your microbiome off balance, but we can help.



Everyone’s skin microbiome is unique in that someone else might have a lot of bacteria X compared to Y, whereas you might have a lot of bacteria Y compared to X. But as humans, we generally house the same families of bacteria on our faces. While there are hundreds of different kinds of bacteria that have been identified on facial skin, there are at least three kinds that are common to everyone, and usually make up the majority of the skin’s living microbes. These are 1) Staphylococcus, 2) Corynebacterium, and 3) Cutibacterium. In each category, there are helpful, neutral, and harmful strains of bacteria. And, not surprisingly, the bad strains within each family can cause a variety of skin problems.

Across the board, good bacteria is associated with healthy, hydrated, smooth, clear skin. Harmful bacteria is associated with skin problems like blemishes and breakouts, redness, blotchiness, inflammation, dryness, and irritation. Neutral bacteria are strains that have been found on both healthy and “problem” skin and simply co-exist in the ecosystem (think of them as the Switzerland of bacterial strains!).

Staphylococcus epidermidis is the most prevalent strain of skin bacteria. But a close relative “Staph” bacteria is not so kind: Staphylococcus aureus. S. aureus is the bacterial cause of skin abscesses (boils) and cellulitis. It’s also considered to be a factor in dermatological diseases like eczema and rosacea. This bacteria is particularly nasty because it gets under the skin and can enter the blood and cause serious infections in the bloodstream and lungs.

Corynebacterium is the second most prevalent kind of bacteria found on the skin. There are lots of different strains of Corynebacterium on skin, and they’re typically found in moist or sebaceous (oily) environments. They use the lipids in sebaceous environments for nutrients, and they can grow in high-salt concentrations, too -- they use the vitamins in sweat for survival!
(ref: Scharschmidt and Fischbach, 2013)

Cutibacterium is the best known bacterium found on skin. One type, Cutibacterium acnes or C. acnes for short, is most abundant on the face and back; in fact, 100% of humans have some C. acnes on their skin. As its name suggests, it is associated with acne, because it is happiest in pores, or follicles, that are filled with sebum (oil), where it thrives (ref: Marinelli, Fitz-Gibbons, et al, 2012). C. acnes is also associated with skin problems like redness, inflammation, and uneven skin tone and texture.



Together, these three bacteria families make up most of the skin microbiome. When there is balance among the different bacteria, you experience healthy, radiant, and resilient skin. But when there are imbalances, you can experience mild to severe skin issues.

Interesting fact: if you’ve ever been prescribed an antibiotic by a dermatologist, you might have seen your skin rapidly clear up (at least temporarily), even if that wasn’t the goal of your antibiotic. The reason why this happens is because the antibiotic is eliminating the bad bacteria on your face. Unfortunately, antibiotics eliminate all of the bacteria on your face -- even the good and neutral strains. Getting rid of all the bacteria on your face is not healthy because you’re essentially killing your skin microbiome and, over the long-term, you will likely experience dryness and inflammation, which can lead to premature aging.

At Ellis Day Skin Science, we develop natural phage-based skincare that targets only bad bacteria so that you can experience clarity and resilience without eliminating the good bacteria (with our first product Wild Resilience™, we’ve focused on eliminating bad C. acnes bacteria). Enabling “good” bacteria to survive and grow is a crucial part of health and balance. By adding natural, wild phages to your skin, you can reestablish the balance in the microbiome, enable the healthy bacteria to regain their stronghold, and maintain healthy, glowing skin for the long-haul.

About Ellis Day Skin Science

We believe that modern skincare must be revolutionized to elevate skin health. And we believe the answer is in the wild, natural world, which includes the surface of your skin.

At Ellis Day Skin Science, we pioneer natural phage-based products that target and kill bad bacteria associated with inflammation, damage, and aging, and enable good bacteria to flourish. By doing so, we aim to reset your microbiome for optimal skin health.

We use cutting-edge science to leverage nature, creating products that are just as kind and conscientious as they are effective, so that all can feel empowered with balanced, clear, radiant, and resilient skin.

Search our site

Shopping Cart

Your cart is currently empty.