Antibacterial cosmetics are so last year; the latest craze is for face creams, serums, and washes that actually add bacteria to the skin in order to make it look younger and healthier. But experts think that these products aren’t backed up by enough science to work as their manufacturers claim.
Because they can cause disease and infection, we often think of bacteria as the enemy. But in fact, they are essential to the body’s regular function—colonies of bacteria called the microbiome live in places like the intestines, mouth, vagina, and nose, outnumbering the body’s own cells. Every person’s microbiome is unique, influenced by factors like diet, age, gender, hometown, and family.