According to a new study that was presented on Wednesday, April 5th, at the annual meeting of the Microbiology Society, the underlying cause of acne outbursts is not the presence of a bacteria, as researchers previously believed, but rather a bacterial unbalance. For the moment, the research is in its preliminary stages.
Approximately 85% of Individuals Develop Acne At Least Once in Their Lives
Acne is the most common dermatologic condition, affecting over 85 percent of the population. The disorder manifests itself through the inflammation of hair follicles, puss filling the small cavity. Researchers long suspected that the main cause of acne is a bacterium named Propionibacterium acnes.
Although the Propionibacterium acnes was linked to the disease on several occasions, a cause-and-effect relationship was never established. The only thing that researchers were sure about was the fact that the bacterium generates immunogenic enzymes – they activate the immune system.
Other factors believed to cause the apparition of acne are:
- Birth control pills;
- Some medical treatments;
- Hormonal unbalance;
- Greasy makeup.
A Balanced Microbial Community Is the Key to a Perfect Skin
Huiying Li, molecular and medical pharmacology professor at the University of California, and his team discovered that a bacterial unbalance in the skin’s follicles can influence the emergence of acne. Moreover, it seems that the members of the control group also had numerous bacteria on their skin, but they caused no problems as they were living in perfect harmony.
According to Emma Barnard, the co-author of the paper, it is crucial for researchers to better understand the bacterial communities that dwell on the human skin. Such knowledge could help scientists come up with individual, more efficient treatment methods.
“Instead of killing all bacteria, including the beneficial ones, we should focus on shifting the balance toward a healthy microbiota by targeting harmful bacteria or enriching beneficial bacteria,” Barnard declared.
The researchers analyzed a sample of 38 people afflicted by the condition and 34 individuals without any skin problems. A subsequent study made on 10 volunteers confirmed the results of the first experiment.
Since the study is still in its preliminary stages, the microbiology society is not yet convinced that Li and his teammates have indeed discovered the elusive underlying cause of the peskiest dermatologic condition. The medical community awaits the researchers to publish their work in a peer-reviewed journal.
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