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Investigative Report

Biogeographical Landscape of the Human Face Skin Microbiome Viewed in High Definition

Michael Brandwein, Garold Fuks, Avigail Israel, Emmilia Hodak, Fareed Sabbah, Doron Steinberg, Zvi Bentwich, Noam Shental, Shiri Meshner
DOI: 10.2340/00015555-3929


The bacterial population that colonizes the human face imparts physiochemical and physiological effects on the facial skin. These skin-microbe interactions impact dermatological, cosmetic and skincare applications due to the centrality of the human face in daily interactions. However, fine-scale characterization of the human face skin microbiome is lacking. Using 16S rRNA sequencing and 3D cartography, this study plotted and characterized the facial skin microbiome in high-definition, based on 1,649 samples from 12 individuals. Analysis yielded a number of novel insights, including that of the relative uniformity of skin microbiome composition within skin sites, site localization of certain microbes, and the interpersonal variability of the skin microbiome. The results show that high-resolution topographical mapping of the skin microbiome is a powerful tool for studying the human skin microbiome. Despite a decade of skin microbiome research, there is still much to be discovered.


The health and physical appearance of the skin of the human face is important for dermatological, cosmetic and skincare purposes. The resident microorganisms that colonize the skin (the microbiome) play an important role in maintaining the physiochemical balance of the skin. This study provides the first high-resolution facial map of the human skin microbiome and provides further insights into the composition and topographic colonization patterns of the human face microbiome.

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