• Dysbiosis;
  • host bacteria interactions;
  • mass spectrometry;
  • sensitive skin syndrome;
  • skin bacteria


The purpose of this study was to investigate if the sensitive skin syndrome, a frequent skin disorder characterized by abnormal painful reactions to environmental factors in the absence of visible inflammatory response, could be linked to a modification in the skin bacterial population. A total of 1706 bacterial isolates was collected at the levels of the forehead, cheekbone, inner elbow, and lower area of the scapula on the skin of normal and sensitive skin syndrome-suffering volunteers of both sexes and of different ages. Among these isolates, 21 strains were randomly selected to validate in a first step the Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization (MALDI)-Biotyper process as an efficient identification tool at the group and genus levels, by comparison to API® strips and 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing identification techniques. In a second step, identification of the skin microbiota isolates by the MALDI-Biotyper tool allowed to pinpoint some differences in terms of bacterial diversity with regard to the collection area, and the volunteer's age and gender. Finally, comparison of the skin microbiota from normal and sensitive skin syndrome-suffering volunteers pointed out gender-related variations but no detectable correlation between a phylum, a genus or a dominant bacterial species and the sensitive skin phenotype. This study reveals that there is no dysbiosis of aerobic cultivable bacteria associated with the sensitive skin syndrome and further demonstrates that the MALDI-Biotyper is a powerful technique that can be efficiently employed to the study of cultivable human skin bacteria. To our knowledge, this is the first study focusing on bacteria in the sensitive skin syndrome. These results are of potential importance for pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries, which are looking for new strategies to treat this multiparametric disorder.