Gorgeous Images Reveal That You're Totally Covered In Germs

Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Even if you're exceptionally clean, bacteria and chemicals will still leave their mark on you. And now, the latest research has plotted out exactly where on our bodies those traces are most likely to be lurking, reports CNN.

In the study, recently published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers first took cotton swab samples from two healthy adults (one man and one woman). They weren't allowed to bathe, shampoo, or moisturize for three days before the experiment.

Then, half of each participant's body was swabbed in approximately 400 places. The stuff picked up by the cotton swabs was analyzed using NMR. And, any bacteria's DNA was analyzed, too. From there, the researchers mapped out what the swabs found onto 3D models of the participants' bodies.

The results revealed the amazing variety of bacterial and chemical traces we each carry with us. Researchers identified about 850 different microbes along with remnants of food (such as the sinapinic acid found in wine) and medications.

Even more interesting, though, is where these things were found. As shown in the image below, Staphylococcus bacteria were concentrated near the feet, while Propionibacterium and Corynebacterium were picked up from participants' faces. However, the Lactobacillus species — often seen in both the gut and vaginal microbiome — were found pretty much all over participants' skin.

But, there's no need to freak out — many bacteria that are hanging out with us all the time are more helpful than scary. And, just having a little disease-causing bacteria on you doesn't necessarily mean you'll get sick. Still, we wouldn't blame you if you felt like taking a shower right about now.
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Image: Courtesy of Theodore Alexandrov (Bouslimani et al).
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