Acne is the single most common skincare problem in the United States, affecting both adults and teens. But thanks to exciting new research, skincare experts may be changing the way they view the bacteria that has been thought to cause acne. In fact, a recent study found that the P. acnes bacteria, found on healthy and inflamed skin alike, may provide skin benefits. Based on this research, here’s what you should know about acne, the bacteria commonly associated with it and what you can do to help keep your skin clear and healthy-looking.
What Is Propionibacterium Acnes and Could It Be Beneficial?
Propionibacterium acnes, shortened to simply P. acnes, was first discovered on a person with acne, hence its name. According to a new study published in Scientific Reports, the P. acnes bacteria may not be the root cause of the common skin condition for which it was named. Because this specific bacteria is very abundant, researchers hypothesize that its presence on acne-prone skin may not necessarily indicate that P. acnes contributes to acne, as this bacteria is also found on those without acne.
Moreover, researchers from Lund University in Sweden have discovered that P. acnes bacteria create a protein called RoxP, which may protect against oxidative stress. While this property is thought to help the bacteria survive on human skin, evidence suggests that this may also be beneficial for the skin itself. Oxidative stress has a large impact on accelerated aging of the skin, and can occur due to exposure to a number of environmental factors, including UV light, air pollution and cigarette smoke (Advances in Gerontology).
While further research is needed to determine the exact role of P. acnes in the development of or protection against certain skin conditions and diseases, the latest evidence shows that there may be much more to the incidence of acne than simply the presence of this bacteria. Researchers plan to further investigate the amount of P. acnes bacteria present on human skin with and without acne, while also determining its possible ability to protect against damage caused by free radicals.
Skincare Tips for Managing Acne
In the meantime, if you’re struggling with acne, there are a number of professional treatment options that have been shown to be very effective at helping to achieve and maintain clearer skin (Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology). For persistent or severe cases of acne, talk with your dermatologist or other skincare professional to help you determine the best treatment plan for your skin type.
In addition to talking with your dermatologist, keep these skincare tips in mind for acne-prone skin:
- Cleanse your face regularly. This is an important step in any skincare routine, but it is especially important for those struggling to control acne breakouts. When oil, dirt and makeup become trapped inside your pores, this can result in red, inflamed pimples. Washing your face once or twice each day can help to keep pores clean.
- Give acne treatments enough time to work. It can be frustrating when you don’t see immediate results, even when using a dermatologist-recommended acne treatment, but know that it’s normal to wait several weeks before seeing the results you’re looking for. Stick with your acne regimen for at least four weeks before considering an alternative treatment.
- Avoid using products that clog pores. Because clogged, inflamed pores are at the heart of acne breakouts, it’s important that you do your best not to contribute to this problem. Look for skincare products labeled as “non-comedogenic,” meaning that they do not contain ingredients that will clog your pores. Skinbetter science anti-aging formulas, for example, are all non-comedogenic and fragrance-free, making them gentle yet effective choices for a wide range of skin types.
For example, AlphaRet™ Overnight Cream FACE contains a powerful and revolutionary blend of a retinoid and an alpha hydroxy acid to help aid in skin retexturization and smooth away the appearance of lines and wrinkles, with little to no irritation. This luxurious formula also includes a trilogy of skin-soothing ingredients such as allantoin glycyrrhetinic acid, bisabolol and portulaca extract to provide a sensation of calmness. It delivers all these benefits, yet remains non-comedogenic.
As new information is discovered about the underlying causes of common skin conditions like acne, skincare experts can continue to improve and build upon treatment methods to offer the most effective solutions. As with any groundbreaking discoveries in skincare, however, more research is still needed to support the exciting findings of the recent study by experts at Lund University. Still, your dermatologist is your best go-to resource for helping you deal with and even eliminate acne and other persistent skin issues.