After centuries of pimples and flaming skin, every teenager’s nightmare may be coming to its end. A new research on acne DNA may have found a successful treatment –“good” acne bacteria may protect sufferers against those that cause the condition.
Acne have been known to humankind probably since the beginning of life and although there have been numerous attempts to eradicate it, it still plagues us. Doctors know the cause for the condition, as well as how it appears and develops but still there is no known cure for acne cases. The new research published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology is giving hope for a successful treatment in the future. Study lead author Dr. Noah Craft at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute and his team at the University of California, L.A., and Washington University in St. Louis, discovered that the Propionibacterium acnes bacteria (P. acne), responsible for the pimples during adolescence, were not only one kind, but in fact numerous strains. For the first time they looked at acne at a molecular level while studying the skin of 101 participants.
Among the volunteers of the study – teenagers and young people in their 20s, there were 52 who had healthy skin and 49 who had severe acne breakouts. Amazingly, the researchers found the P. acne bacteria accounted for nearly 90% off all bacteria in skin pores, in both acne suffering and normal youngsters. It turned out that almost everybody harbors P. acnes, but two particular strains of the bacteria were found in acne sufferers, while a third strain was found dominant only in healthy individuals. And this third strain, or good acne bacterium, may be the answer to all teenagers’ prayers, according to the scientists.
The next step is developing a probiotic treatment in form of cream which will contain the good strain and will protect the skin from strains responsible for outbreaks. It’s the same principle as the one used in protecting the gut – good bacteria fights against bad bacteria. Researchers say that soon there will be different treatments that will kill the P. acnes which cause acne outbreaks but preserve the good ones, and maybe even tests that will be able to predict who will develop acne and will not.
The study was part of a larger research on the so-called human microbiome, or this is the whole bacterial environment in the human body, all microbes that either cause an illness or keep us safe and healthy. The study was very important for both researchers and patients, because around 80% of people around the world have suffered from acne throughout some period of their life.