Woman Finding AcneMost people know they need to eat probiotics to support their gut health—yogurt commercials remind you. But other parts of the body also have good and bad bacteria colonies, and scientists are just beginning to research and identify these bacteria.

A study in Southern California, which took bacteria samples from the noses of people with good and people with bad acne has found three strains of P. acne: two caused bad acne, one seemed to prevent it.

The “bad” acne bacteria seemed to have acquired genes that increased their virulence, possibly triggering the body’s immune response—redness, swelling… in a word, acne. The “good” acne strain seemed to have genes that allowed it to defend against the more virulent strains, hinting that someday a natural acne treatment might develop around it to replenish the skin with good bacteria.

What causes some people to have one type of bacteria or the other is unknown. Acne bacteria feed on oil in the pores—qualities of which might differ between people.

Current acne treatments focus on killing all bacteria with an antibiotic or other medication. These can have severe side-effects, high cost, and broader effects, like contributing to antibiotic resistance.

Natural acne treatments vary, depending on skin type. Many encourage a daily regimen to take care of the skin, usually cleaning with a specific cleanser and following with lotion.

Drinking plenty of water, avoiding touching the face (and introducing new bacteria strains for your body to fight), and eating a diet that discourages oil production are other natural acne treatments that can easily and freely be incorporated into your routine.

Would you use a probiotic cream?


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