For many, acne isn’t just a fleeting rite of passage from bygone teenage years. MindBodyGreen reports that a whopping 40 million people suffer from acne in the United States alone. Whether you suffer from adult acne or regular breakouts, you’ve probably found that even though there are strategies to clear up your skin, there's no single cure. However, that all might be about to change: Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have been developing both a vaccine and an acne probiotic treatment to get rid of acne once and for all (and wipe it off the face of the earth).
The new approach is distinctly more natural than previous treatments, such as Accutane, antibiotics, or even birth control. Gut health is a big trend at the moment, and the project’s scientists are focused on a similar issue—the microbiome of the skin’s surface. Wiping bacteria from the face altogether is harmful because some bacteria is beneficial to the skin, acting as antioxidants and even preventing disease. These new developments would educate the immune system to naturally control the growth of acne-causing P. acnes and target the inflammation and breakouts it causes without harming the bacteria itself.
Cybele Fishman, MD, an integrative dermatologist and skin health expert for MindBodyGreen, describes the new treatment not so much as a miracle solution but a promising one for those who still suffer from acne despite all the right lifestyle choices—eating a healthy, balanced, diet; taking supplements; decreasing stress; and getting enough sleep. Fishman, who has been using kefir masks on her patients for years, supports this idea of taking the skin’s delicate microbiome into consideration rather than just trying to wipe out bacteria indiscriminately. “Why is the gut microbiome getting all the love and attention?” she asks. The treatments have yet to undergo clinical trials, so it will still be a couple of years before anything is out on the market.