Nature Reviews Microbiology 9, 244-253 (April 2011) | doi:10.1038/nrmicro2537
Corrected online: 27 June 2011

Focus on: Mucosal microbiology

The skin microbiome

See also: Corrigendum associated with this article

Elizabeth A. Grice1 & Julia A. Segre1  About the authors


The skin is the human body's largest organ, colonized by a diverse milieu of microorganisms, most of which are harmless or even beneficial to their host. Colonization is driven by the ecology of the skin surface, which is highly variable depending on topographical location, endogenous host factors and exogenous environmental factors. The cutaneous innate and adaptive immune responses can modulate the skin microbiota, but the microbiota also functions in educating the immune system. The development of molecular methods to identify microorganisms has led to an emerging view of the resident skin bacteria as highly diverse and variable. An enhanced understanding of the skin microbiome is necessary to gain insight into microbial involvement in human skin disorders and to enable novel promicrobial and antimicrobial therapeutic approaches for their treatment.

Author affiliations

  1. Genetics and Molecular Biology Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, 20892–4442, USA.

Correspondence to: Julia A. Segre1 Email:

Published online 16 March 2011

* It has been brought to our attention that in FIG. 1 of the original article the morphology and localization of the Demodex mites were not accurate. We have corrected the figure to show a cartoon that is more representative of the straight body and short limbs of these mites, and of their localization in the hair follicle. The correct figure is now shown. We thank I. Dekio for bringing this to our attention and apologize to readers for any confusion caused.