Sorry, teenagers. Acne’s gonna have to stay. It’s good for you.
Propionibacterium acnes is the bacteria that lives in your skin’s sebaceous glands and causes pimples. However, we really don’t give it enough credit. It secretes fatty acids into our skin that help keep _other_, more harmful bacteria, out of our skin, and therefore, out of our bodies.
And E. coli, the bacteria that you always hear about that makes us so sick? They’re found in *huge* quantities in our intestines. They synthesize vitamin K and B, and help us digest our food. And by living in our intestines, they fight for food with other more harmful bacteria.
I was having a theoretical microbiology debate with my friend Ronnie yesterday while we were pre-dissecting for anatomy (that’s one of the dorkiest medical sentences ever written), and we decided it’s pretty much complete, total war all over your body. Bacteria are so numerous and so omnipresent that we’re pretty much still around because they want us to be. We’re big walking petri dishes, people. We provide a safe, warm, moist, dark environment with plenty of food (the food we eat, as well as all the dead skin we flake off). There are enough bacteria around that want us around to usually keep the really bad ones at bay. Granted, sometimes we have to keep them in line ourselves, using antibiotics or our immune systems.
And there’s no messing around in the bacterial world. It’s kill or be killed. They’re single-cell organisms. If you wound them, they’re done. No wonder they want to copulate so quickly. Wouldn’t you if you didn’t think you’d live another 10 minutes?