Human skin, our most environmentally exposed organ, is colonized by a vast array of microorganisms constituting its microbiome. These bacterial communities are crucial for the fulfillment of human physiological functions such as immune system modulation and epidermal development and differentiation. The structure of the human skin microbiome is established during the early life stages, starting even before birth, and continues to be modulated throughout the entire life cycle, by multiple host-related and environmental factors. This review focuses on extrinsic factors, ranging from cosmetics to the environment and antibacterial agents, as forces that impact the human skin microbiome and well-being. Assessing the impact of these factors on the skin microbiome will help elucidate the forces that shape the microbial populations we coexist with. Furthermore, we will gain additional insight into their tendency to stimulate a healthy environment or to increase the propensity for skin disorder development.
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