Skin mycobiome versus microbiome: Why fungal diversity may hold key to sensitive skin solutions

By Guan Yu Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

There is a greater diversity of fungal community in subjects with sensitive skin , compared to subjects with non-sensitive skin, according to a recent study. ©Getty Images
There is a greater diversity of fungal community in subjects with sensitive skin , compared to subjects with non-sensitive skin, according to a recent study. ©Getty Images

Related tags: skin microbiome, mycobiome, Sensitive skin, Korea

While interest in the bacteria that make up the skin microbiome sky high, researchers is Korea have uncovered new findings on the skin mycobiome – its fungal diversity – that may help create new products to target sensitive skin.

Conducted by researchers at Amorepacific Corporation R&D Center and Chung-Ang University, they found that the fungal community varied more among subjects with sensitive skin (SS) compared to non-sensitive skin (NS) subjects, despite the bacterial community being more similar.

The skin microbiome has been studied extensively in skin health, targeting various skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, acne vulgaris, seborrheic dermatitis, and rosacea.

However, the association of microbial community (bacterial, fungal) and skin sensitivity is relatively unknown.

Published in the journal Microorganisms​, researchers pointed out that the role of mycobiome is as important as the skin microbiome and could contribute to the development of microbiome-based cosmetics and remedies for SS.

Study design

The study recruited 42 Korean women aged between 22 to 52 years. They were divided into two groups, SS (n​ = 23) and NS (n​ = 19).

Although SS is a subjective skin condition, the subjects were considered to have SS if they had skin irritation scores >1.0 from 0.3% SLS patch test (upper back), skin sensory scores >0.4 from 5% LAST (right cheek), and sensitivity questionnaire scores ≥2.

The sensitivity questionnaire included questions such as skin type/problems, recognition of skin sensitivity, and quality of life.

Researchers analysed the bacterial and fungal communities of the facial skins (right cheek) of these subjects.

Findings

From the results, it was found that the mycobiome (fungal) of SS was more diverse than that of NS. 

In both groups, Basidiomycota (83.75%) was the predominant phylum, followed by Ascomycota (8.38%) and Mucoromycota (7.57%).

However, in the SS group, Malassezia​ which is from the Basidiomycota phylum was significantly less abundant (71.61% versus 91.0%).

In addition, the Mucor​ fungal genus (M. racemosus)​ of the Mucoromycota phylum was more abundant on SS.

While this species has not received much interest in skin research, researchers said M. racemosus​ induces IgE-mediated allergic reactions and acts as a mould allergen for asthma and allergic sinusitis sufferers. 

M. racemosus​ has also been used as an allergen in skin-prick and provocation tests, and these sensitised individuals showed hypersensitivity in both tests.

Few studies have reported any involvement of M. racemosus in skin health, and our study suggests a link between this fungal species and skin sensitivity​,” researchers wrote.

On the other hand, bacterial community was more similar in both groups.

Researchers pointed out: “Healthier people stereotypically have been known to have greater diversity in the skin microbiome composition, but we found that fungal diversity was higher on SS.

Our study contributes to the understanding of both the bacterial and fungal communities of SS and suggests that, in understanding skin sensitivity, the role of mycobiome is as important as the microbiome that is mainly studied in skin research​.”

This is perhaps the first study of skin microbiome and mycobiome on sensitive skin, and the findings are expected to shape future studies and provide a basis for the development of microbiome-based cosmetics and remedies for sensitive skin.

 

Source: Microorganisms

https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8071032

“Structures of the Skin Microbiome and Mycobiome Depending on Skin Sensitivity”

Authors: Hye Lim Keum, et al​.

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