Why Bacteria Might Cure Your Acne

When you think of bacteria, the worst images come to mind: little, crawly organisms that are just out to get us. New research shows that despite their bad rep, bacteria may actually have a significant role to play in our skin - especially when it comes to acne. Nashville dermatologists, listen up.

In a study that analyzed DNA from skin follicle samples of 38 individuals with acne, and 34 without, it was found that the presence or absence of one particular strain of bacteria is less important than the overall balance of bacteria on the skin. In the group without acne, the bacterial community was enriched with genes related to bacterial metabolism, thought to be key in preventing harmful bacteria from colonizing the skin. However, the patients with acne exhibited higher levels of harmful genes, including those associated with the production and transport of pro-inflammatory compounds such as bacterial toxins that are potentially harmful to the skin.

This kind of research is exactly what Nashville dermatologists like myself have been waiting for: over the past few years, we have learned just how extensive the skin microbiome is and it is exciting to learn that the various types of bacteria within the microbiome are being further analyzed to determine which ones are related to particular skin disease. Eventually, learning how various bacteria interact with regard to disease processes will better help us develop treatment plans. For instance, instead of trying to eliminate all bacteria in our skin, we may choose to focus on shifting the balance toward a healthy microbiome by targeting harmful bacteria or enriching the beneficial bacteria.

In fact, more new research has suggested that adding some “friendly germs” to skin lotion may actually produce natural antibiotics that ward off certain diseases. In early tests, researchers found that the customized creams actually protected five patients with itchy eczema against risky bacteria gathering on their cracked skin!

With regards to acne specifically, we recommend the following dermatologist-approved products for our Nashville patients to add to your skin regimen:

Still have more questions, and want to learn more about how you can treat your acne? Please visit us at Skin Solutions Dermatology in Nashville, Franklin, Columbia, Smyrna, Hendersonville or Pulaski to chat with our amazing team of dermatology specialists! Take advantage of our online booking system and book an appointment today.

Source: Microbiology Society and Science Translational Medicine

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