In the science section of today’s Los Angeles Times, new genetic research gives hope to those searching for an acne solution. According to the L.A. Times: “Using state-of-the-art DNA sequencing techniques to evaluate the bacteria lurking in the pores of 101 study volunteers’ noses, scientists discovered a particular strain of Propionibacterium acnes bacteria that may be able to defend against other versions of P. acnes that pack a bigger breakout-causing punch.” The report, which was published this week in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, is indeed exciting news in the search for an effective acne treatment.
In the study, the skin of 101 patients in their teens and twenties were studied. Out of that group, 49 had acne and 52 had what was described as normal skin (meaning no acne breakouts). The research doctors collected bacteria from each participants’ skin using adhesive pore strips. According to the paper: “They found that the P. acnes species accounted for about 90% of the bacteria in pores, in both healthy patients and acne sufferers. Digging a little deeper into the DNA, they found that two particular strains appeared in about 20% of acne sufferers, while a third strain was found only in acne-free patients.”
After further DNA research it was found that the two blemish-causing strains of the P. Acnes bacteria had picked up other bacteria, causing them to become more destructive. “The researchers hypothesized that the foreign DNA, perhaps by sticking more effectively to human host tissues, may help trigger an inflammatory response in the skin: acne,” explains the paper. The non-pimple forming P. Acnes bacteria, however, acted like an immune system and seemed to keep skin clear by killing the acne-causing bacteria. In the future, “Doctors might prescribe probiotic creams that deliver “good” P. acnes to the face the same way a daily serving of yogurt helps restore healthy bacteria in the digestive tract,” says the paper.