Towards standardized and reproducible research in skin microbiomes

Environ Microbiol. 2022 Sep;24(9):3840-3860. doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.15945. Epub 2022 Mar 7.


Skin is a complex organ serving a critical role as a barrier and mediator of interactions between the human body and its environment. Recent studies have uncovered how resident microbial communities play a significant role in maintaining the normal healthy function of the skin and the immune system. In turn, numerous host-associated and environmental factors influence these communities' composition and diversity across the cutaneous surface. In addition, specific compositional changes in skin microbiota have also been connected to the development of several chronic diseases. The current era of microbiome research is characterized by its reliance on large data sets of nucleotide sequences produced with high-throughput sequencing of sample-extracted DNA. These approaches have yielded new insights into many previously uncharacterized microbial communities. Application of standardized practices in the study of skin microbial communities could help us understand their complex structures, functional capacities, and health associations and increase the reproducibility of the research. Here, we overview the current research in human skin microbiomes and outline challenges specific to their study. Furthermore, we provide perspectives on recent advances in methods, analytical tools and applications of skin microbiomes in medicine and forensics.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • DNA
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Microbiota* / genetics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Skin


  • DNA