Scientists at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania say the use of topical antibiotics can dramatically alter communities of bacteria that live on the skin, while the use of antiseptics has a much smaller, less durable impact. The study (“Topical antimicrobial treatments can elicit shifts to resident skin bacterial communities and reduce colonization by Staphylococcus aureus competitors”), published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, was conducted in mice in the laboratory of Elizabeth Grice, Ph.D., an assistant professor of dermatology, and reportedly is the first to show the long-term effects of antimicrobial drugs on the skin microbiome.
In the gut, research shows medication that alters microbial communities can lead to complications like Clostridium difficile, which causes diarrhea and is the most common hospital-acquired infection. But when it comes to the skin, the impact of these medications on bacteria strains like S. aureus, the most common cause of skin infections, is still largely unstudied.
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