Acne treatment based on the bacteriophage activity developed

A bacteriophage is a virus that infects and replicates in bacteria. Image by Dr Victor Padilla-Sanchez, PhD – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Many teens suffer from acne, and teens and actors can testify that it is difficult to find the right products and even the right drugs. Many drugs designed to treat bacterial disease leave people with very dry skin.

It is also evident that many of the over the counter medications available at the drugstore are all chemical treatments that cause long term skin damage. Benzoyl peroxide (a harsh chemical), retinoids, antibiotics are all antibacterial and kill both good and bad bacteria on your skin. Many of these drugs also affect the production of natural skin oils.

A new skin care drug has been developed based on a probiotic using bacteriophages (viruses that can infect and sometimes kill bacteria). The drug is called Phyla 3-Step Acne Fighting Phage Kit.

The formula of the drug is based on branches created by a microbiologist Dr Yug Varma. These are the active ingredients of the new drug. Varma works at the University of California at San Francisco, with funding provided by P&G Ventures.

The research grew out of microbiome studies that have accelerated over the past decade. Microbiome research is focused on understanding the nature of microbial communities in different niches within and on the human body.

As Tim Sandle wrote before: “The human body is a complex system that hosts billions of microbial cells throughout the epithelial surface, as well as in the mouth and intestine. These microorganisms play a role in human physiology and organ function, including digestion and immunity.

Bacteriophages does not target bacteria in general. Each phage targets a specific type of bacteria, attaches to the surface of the bacterial cell and then enters it. Overall, the population of bacteriophages is estimated to be larger than the population of all organisms, including bacteria combined.

Trials show that the drug can reduce acne-causing bacteria by up to 90 percent (Cutibacterium acnes). The organism is part of the commensal flora of the skin, colonizing the hair follicles and the sebaceous glands. The drug attacks the root cause by killing only the bacteria that cause acne (C. acnes) and allows beneficial bacteria to thrive.

The drug also achieves an average 50 percent increase in microbiome diversity. It is important to increase the diversity of bacteria transmitted through the skin, because people with high microbial diversity have less (or no) acne.

The trials also show that the skin medication prevents excessive skin dryness or other side effects associated with current products.

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