Acne Bacteria May Lead to Clear Skin

Courtesy of Getty ImagesCourtesy of Getty ImagesAlexandra Owens

Yes, you read that right. The same microbe that causes inflamed, impossible to get rid of acne may also be the secret to eliminating it. New research from UCLA has revealed that Propionibacterium acnes, the common acne bacteria found in pores, comes in many different varieties-and the strains specific to your skin may determine whether you're prone to pimples or not.

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It seems not all forms of the bacteria are bad. Researchers collected samples from the noses of 101 participants, half of whom suffered from acne and half who didn't. The bacteria was present in both skin groups, but after the genomes of 66 different strains were mapped, some interesting results emerged. Certain variants, including ones with increased resistance to tetracycline, an antibiotic commonly prescribed for acne, were more prevalent in acne sufferers, while other strains lived predominantly in the pores of people with healthy skin.

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The findings could one day have implications for how acne is treated. "Instead of killing all the P. acnes as we have done in the past, we could have more targeted treatments and specifically kill the bad ones," said Dr. Huiying Li, one of the study's authors. The "good" strains of acne bacteria might even be added to a cream or lotion,lessening the need for antibiotics (which can have negative side effects). But don't run out to Walgreen's just yet. Even if all of this comes true, a new miracle cream for acne is still several years away.

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