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Ladies Bacteria on Hands OK Ladies, you may wash more, but… contrary to the perception that women are generally cleaner than men, a new study shows otherwise. Scientists at the University of Colorado found women have far more bacterial species on their hands than men.

They swabbed the palms of 51 healthy students leaving an exam and were able to identify all the bacteria.

Remember, bacteria thrive in and on our bodies. For example there are more than 500 bacterial species in the normal human gut and they're generally beneficial.

But what about your skin?

The skin has long been known to harbor a myriad of bacteria, but until now no one has known the extent of that diversity. This latest study has revealed the skin has just over forty seven hundred species of bacteria, about 100 times more than we knew.

The findings show the typical hand harbored more than 150 different species of bacteria and 3200 strains. And like we mentioned, women's hands harbored a significantly higher diversity of bacteria than men.

Men and women also harbor distinct bacterial communities. What drives these differences is unknown but one factor may be that men's skin is more acidic than women's. Other factors may be the environment, sweat and oil production, skin thickness, hormones and the use of moisturizers and cosmetics.

The study also found diversity of the bacteria of the dominant hand is more than 50% greater than the non-dominate hand of any individual, but the density of bacteria was similar on both hands.

Plus, the total diversity of bacteria on the hands match or exceed the levels found in the mouth, esophagus and lower intestine. Remember, keep washing your hands and don't worry about how many bacteria you still have.

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For more information…

For a more detailed description of the study that revealed that women's hands harbor far higher numbers of bacterial species than men go here.

Another web site describing the study with a video go here.

MedicineNet.com provides a range of medical information of interest to women and they reported on this study.

To learn more about the relationships between humans and the bacteria they harbor go to the Online Textbook of Bacteriology. This chapter includes a discussion of the normal flora of humans as well as pictures and partial lists of the bacteria and where they can be found.


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