A duo from the University of California, San Diego, has discovered that some of the bacteria that lives on human skin can produce chemicals to ward off the skin disease S. aureus–and making a personalized lotion can help people both keep the disease at bay and hopefully treat eczema. 

S. aureus, better known as a staph infection (MRSA) causes a wide range of infections, and some strains have recently become immune to antibiotics. The bacteria can cause skin and soft tissue infections, both of which can lead to death if it is not caught in time or it becomes resistant to treatment.

Many people pick up this disease while spending time as a patient in the hospital, as it is very easy to pass from one person to another.

Everyone has S. aureus on their skin, and those who have a large amount of it often suffer from eczema. 

During their research, the scientists found that two species, known as S. epidermidis and S. hominis were able to suppress the growth of S. aureus. It was discovered that the strain of S. hominis, known as A9, was far less abundant with those who suffer from eczema and those who have contracted staph infections. This strain has also been recently incorporated into antibiotics to help kill resistant MRSA.

Although those with eczema do have A9 on their skin, predictably, they don’t have as much as those who do not suffer with the condition. The scientist pair, Teruaki Nakatsuji and Richard Gallo, found that when adding more of it to the skin of those who have eczema, the presence of S. aureus was reduced by as much as 90%. 

During the study, the microbes were mixed into over-the-counter moisturizer, creating a personalized cocktail for each patient.

While the scientists don’t know whether or not this will help reduce MRSA infections that can lead to more serious consequences, they are hopeful. In fact, in a couple of cases during their trial, the S. aureus bacteria was completely killed from parts of their bodies, which could be a positive sign for the future of treating antibiotic resistant MRSA.

Further tests are underway to help scale back more sinister staph infections.

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