Skin Bacteria, Infections, and Lupus Flares: What’s the Relationship?
Lupus disrupts the microbes on the skin and makes people with lupus more vulnerable to skin infections, which can cause flares.
We are not alone in our bodies: an entire world of microorganisms lives on our skin and inside our bodies.
These microorganisms protect the body from infection by either crowding out invading pathogens or making the environment deadly to the invaders. These microbes also produce substances like vitamins, and help the body modulate the immune response.
These ecosystems, called the microbiome, affect everything from weight to energy levels. They also affect autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), an autoimmune disease that affects every organ system in the body. This includes the skin, the largest organ in the body, responsible for sensing the world around us and protecting us from the outside world. Lupus with skin manifestations is called cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE,) and you can read more about it here.
Not only can we not live without our microscopic tenants, but they have evolved specifically to live with us. The microbiome is so complex that we are only scratching the surface (pun intended) of what this thriving part of our world is actually doing and how we can use it. Many people are now aware of how their gut microbiome affects them, and how they can support it with probiotics and diet.
But what about the microorganisms that live on your skin?