Taken from @monty.lyman ‘The Remarkable Life of Skin‘:
‘When you look closely at the back of your hand, it is as if you are in a passenger aircraft peering down at the world from 30000 feet. You see ridges and canyons made of marks, scars and tendons, all dwarfed by a great mountain range of your knuckles. Maybe you can make out blue rivers of veins, and if you’re hairy a forest encroaching from the arm. Just as from a plane, you can make out the terrain down below but there is no indication of any life. But when an aircraft starts to descend, you begin to detect buildings and roads, then individual cars moving along these roads. Finally, on landing and after leaving the airport, you see throngs of people on the streets, all of whom have been invisible to you from the window of the plane. If it were possible to zoom in on the terrain of our skin in a similar way, you would enter a strange, exciting world containing diverse populations of microorganisms. Indeed on the two square meters of our skin there are more than 1000 different species of bacterium, fungi, viruses and mites……many of these are ‘commensal’ bacteria, living happily on the skin neither causing harm…nor providing any noticeable benefit. Some bacteria are even ‘mutualistic’, conferring benefit…others, called ‘pathogenic’ bacteria are actively malicious. 2012 saw the publication of the first databases of the Human Microbiome Project, established to identify in detail the microorganisms inhabiting the human surfaces…we now know that we have at least as many – and probably more – organisms living in and n us than we have of our own cells. The incoming results of the project are showing that the multitudes in and upon us influence our health, and manipulating and adjusting these populations has the potential to revolutionise medicine‘.
*mind blown emoji*