Not surprisingly, the skin microbiome changes accordingly with human contact, according to this study found through PeerJ. Researchers aimed to study a high contact sport and see how the skin microbiome changes before and after a game. They used roller derby, and as anyone who has watched the movie Whip it! will know, there is a LOT of contact. There were three teams from different regions of the U.S. that were sampled before and after every “bout” (a round of roller derby). The study found that it is possible to predict the team based on the skin microbiome. In addition, while players’ skin communities did not change with bouts with respect to the track they played on, they did change compared to each other. Players’ skin microbiome was significantly more similar after each bout. This means that the track had less to do with the change in skin microbial communities, and it was mostly a result of skin-to-skin contact during the game.
Most built environment studies look at surfaces humans come into contact with, but perhaps our contact with each other is being overlooked a bit. Humans are the main component in the built environment; we’re the reason it exists. So it makes sense to look at interactions between humans within a building in addition to interactions with the building.