Bugs on our bodies – Bacteria, dirty guests

Our lives start out pretty clean. Caesarean section babies are born sterile. Babies born normally already have bacteria from their mother’s birth canal on their bodies. Adults have as many as one trillion bacteria on their bodies.


Through cuddling and other contact with the outside world, all kinds of microscopic creatures come to nest on our skin. Usually they are creatures that live peacefully on our skin. They find nutrients there, but otherwise do not cause any problems. On the contrary. Many bacteria help to keep pathogenic invaders out. By feeding off the bad guys, or by stimulating our skin’s natural defense system, they keep the bugs away. But if things don’t go well, some guests can also cause mess or illness. The hundreds of types of dirty guests have their own preferences. Some people especially like moist or warm spots on the skin, others prefer dry areas. Still others prefer to hang out in the neighborhood where they can easily get fat.

Forehead, acne

There are many sweat and sebaceous glands on your forehead and face. The loyal residents, the different types of bacteria such as Doctorandus P. Acnes is a frequent guest. As its name suggests, it is this creature that can cause acne.
Forehead: 500,000 bacteria per cm²


The armpits, with their many sebaceous and sweat glands, are the ideal environment for all kinds of guests. Moreover, it is hot and humid. The perfect breeding ground for the thirsty corynebacteria, which convert their nutrients into something that causes armpit odor. In some people, a bacterium that normally lives in the intestines also appears under the arms. With all the consequences that come with it. This bacteria can also cause pneumonia. Fungi also feel at home here.
Armpits: 700,000 to 900,000 bacteria per cm²


Your hair retains moisture and air and that creates a fairly warm environment. Add to this the many sweat glands and sebaceous glands, and you get a paradise for all kinds of organisms that live on the skin and hair follicles and feed there on the fat from skin and sebaceous cells. If these bacteria misbehave, you will suffer from dandruff or skin infections. The most numerous scalp inhabitants are staphylococci (which are found almost everywhere on the skin), which like to eat free fatty acids and carbohydrates.
Scalp: 200,000 to 400,000 bacteria per cm²

Arms and legs

It is quite dry on arms and legs, lower back and stomach and that is exactly what staphylococci like. Although these zones remain less busy than elsewhere. Of the 35 types of staphylococci, half like to live on our skin. The most annoying is S. aureus, which you may know as the hospital bacterium, but which can also cause pimples and abscesses. In addition, fungi, Corine and propioni bacteria also live there.
Arms and legs: 100 to 1000 bacteria per cm²

Mold, mold going on

A lot of staphylococci and corynebacteria live on your hands. But of course it is under your fingernails that the real dirty guests live, in large quantities! These can lead to infections, for example from wounds.
Under the nails: 2,500 to 1.2 million bacteria per cm²

Angry butt biters

The buttocks are also a popular place for all kinds of creatures: they find sebaceous, sweat and apocrine glands there and it is always moister and warmer than other areas of the skin (extra nutrients). E. coli and bacteria that normally live inside the body, such as lactobacilli, can sometimes be hanging around.
Buttocks: 4000 to 20 million bacteria per cm²


Yes, the area between your toes can also be a mess. Because your feet are usually well wrapped, it is moist and warm. The high acidity of your skin around the toes also attracts certain groups such as fungi. Typical for the toe region are breviary bacteria, which feed on carbohydrates found in sweat, skin and waste products from other bacteria. They produce enzymes with a powerful, cheese-like odor.
Between the toes: 7 million bacteria per cm²

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