A new study reveals that there are two strains of acne bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes or P. acnes): bad strains (causing pimples) and good strains (protecting the skin). The bad ones rarely live in clear skin.
Researchers gave 49 pimply and 52 clear-skinned participants a beauty treatment, by applying pore-cleansing strips on their noses. After removing, they studied the microbial DNA on the strips. The team was able to identify more than 1,000 strains of bacteria. Out of these, the genomes of 66 acne bacteria strains have been decoded.
“We were interested to learn that the bacterial strains looked very different when taken from diseased skin, compared to healthy skin,” said co-author Dr. Noah Craft. “Two unique strains of P. acnes appeared in one out of five volunteers with acne but rarely occurred in clear-skinned people.”
In addition, the researchers discovered a third strain of P. acnes common in healthy skin, but rare in skin with acne. “We suspect that this strain contains a natural defense mechanism that enables it to recognize attackers and destroy them before they infect the bacterial cell,” said study leader Huiying Li.
The researchers hope that their results will lead to new therapies to prevent and treat acne.
Li: “We hope to apply our findings to develop new strategies that stop blemishes before they start, and enable dermatologists to customize treatment to each patient’s unique cocktail of skin bacteria.”
Fitz-Gibbon, S., Tomida, S., Chiu, B., Nguyen, L., Du, C., Liu, M., Elashoff, D., Erfe, M., Loncaric, A., Kim, J., Modlin, R., Miller, J., Sodergren, E., Craft, N., Weinstock, G., & Li, H. (2013). Propionibacterium acnes Strain Populations in the Human Skin Microbiome Associated with Acne Journal of Investigative Dermatology DOI: 10.1038/jid.2013.21
Photo: Saluda UdeA
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