Probiotic may be effective in reducing acne

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A new study at the University of Antwerp in Belgium showed a group of bacteria known as lactobacilli can reduce acne lesions and promote a healthier skin microbiome, a treatment that could reduce the use of antibiotics for acne.

The study, published in Cell Reports Medicine, observed the effect that specific strains of lactobacilli have on the growth and prevention of acne. To do so, researchers formed three strains of the bacteria-- Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus GG, L. plantarum WCFS1, and Lactiplantibacillus pentosus KCA1-- into microcapsules and developed a topical solution. The solution was tested on patients with moderate to severe acne. After eight weeks, scientists observed the skin of participants using the solution.

Results showed that the treatment reduced inflammatory lesions on participants’ skin. In addition, the treatment decreased the prevalence of a bacteria named staphylococci, which is thought to cause acne. According to researchers, this reduction suggested a modulation of the cutaneous microbiome. In the weeks following, the participants acne continued to reduce even after they stopped using the treatment, which researchers determined was, in part, due to the treatment’s effect on the immune system. 

Researchers concluded that more studies need to be done to officially determine that these bacteria are an effective treatment for acne. In addition, they warned patients to be weary of products that call themselves probiotics as not all supplements meet the same standard of quality. 

Integrative practitioners may want to consider these bacteria while treating acne, especially when trying to avoid prescribing antibiotics, a common acne treatment, to prevent the growing issue of antibiotic resistance.