WEDNESDAY, April 5, 2017 – According to a new, small study, an unbalanced population of bacteria on the skin could play an important role in acne.
Up to 85 percent of people develop acne, a disease of the hair follicles on the skin, the exact causes of which are however unclear. A specific type of bacteria has long been suspected, but this study suggests that the presence or absence of a particular strain is less important than the overall bacterial balance on the skin.
Researchers analyzed DNA from skin follicle samples from 38 people with acne and 34 without the condition. The investigators then confirmed their results with 10 other volunteers.
The results suggest that "the composition of the bacteria in the follicles can reflect and affect the skin condition of acne or healthy skin," study leader Huiying Li said in a press release from the Microbiology Society. Li is an associate professor of molecular and medical pharmacology at the University of California at Los Angeles.
Emma Barnard, co-author of the study, said it is important to understand the bacterial community on the skin in order to develop personalized acne treatments.
"Instead of killing all bacteria, including the beneficial ones, we should focus on shifting the balance towards a healthy microbiota by attacking harmful bacteria or enriching useful bacteria," she said in the press release. Barnard is a researcher in the molecular and medical pharmacology department at UCLA.
The study was due to be presented on Wednesday at the Microbiology Society's annual meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland. Research results presented at medical sessions should be considered provisional until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The US National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases is more concerned with acne.
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Published: April 2017