The latest front in combating acne breakouts could be in bacteria that feed on your sweat.
Ammonia-oxideizing bacteria (AOB) digest ammonia, which is a major component of sweat. A new, small study has shown that applying a topical creme containing the bacteria leads to healthier skin and could be used to treat acne and promote healing in wounds.
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In the study, researchers isolated a strain of Nitrosomonas eutropha from organic soil samples. They then had a group of volunteers apply the bacteria to their skin for three weeks while another group used a placebo. The 24 volunteers were asked not to use hair products for the first two weeks and then returned to their normal hair routines for the third week.
The people who had applied the bacteria showed marked improvements in their skin, compared with the control group. What's more, those who applied more of the bacteria showed even greater improvement. No side effects were found to be associated with the topical bacterial creme.
The prospect of a new treatment for acne with no side effects could be welcome news, especially in light of a recent warning from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over some over the counter acne treatment products containing the active ingredients benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. The June 2014 warning said the topical skin products "can cause rare but serious and potentially life-threatening allergic reactions or severe irritation."
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Could ammonia-oxideizing bacteria offer a long-awaited safe acne cure for the embarrassing scourge of adolescence? More time - and tests - will tell:
Doctor Larry Weiss, the chief medical officer for American company AOBiome, who carried out the tests, said: "Our next step is to conduct clinical trials to assess the potential of AOB in patients with acne."
The researchers presented the study results at the American Society for Microbiology Conference on Beneficial Microbes in Washington, DC.