Skin probiotic could replace antibiotic treatments for acne

February 21, 2022
Skin probiotic could replace antibiotic treatments for acne

Scientists working on a topical probiotic solution for acne have said bacteria – commonly found in the gut – could provide an effective treatment. A team from the University of Antwerp (Antwerp), Belgium, have found a way to alter the microbial ecosystem on the skin (skin microbiome) and reduce acne inflammation using a group of bacteria, lactobacilli. According to their research, certain strains of lactobacilli can change conditions of the skin microbiome such that it reduces inflammatory skin lesions.

The team, led by Antwerp’s Professor Sarah Leber, an expert in genetics and biotechnology applications using lactobacilli, had selected three strains of lactobacillus bacteria based on their robustness, safety and predicted immune system interactions: Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus GG, L. plantarum WCFS1, and Lactiplantibacillus pentosus KCA1. The scientists followed by encapsulating the bacteria into microcapsules, in turn adding these to a specially developed skin cream.

In an experiment, 10 volunteers with mild to moderate acne were instructed to apply the cream to their faces twice a day for eight weeks. Test subjects exhibited a significant reduction in inflammatory skin lesions as well as a decrease in populations of acne-causing bacteria on their skin microbiome, as compared to a control group that used a placebo.

“Lactobacilli are well-documented safe and beneficial bacteria that produce lactic acid as a broad-acting antimicrobial molecule that can inhibit the growth and activity of a wide array of competing bacteria. They can also often reduce inflammation in different conditions,” explained Prof. Leber.

“We suspected they could work for this purpose even though they’re not highly abundant on the skin.”

In addition, test subjects reported reduced acne symptoms several weeks after discontinued application of the cream, leading the Antwerp scientists to believe the trio of bacteria may somehow act by modulating the immune system. Prof. Leber concluded that more research is needed on the mode of action of lactobacilli for the treatment of acne.

Category: Education, Features

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