Scotland researchers have found a natural therapy to treat acne. Certain fatty acids produced from the marine algae were found to have cleansing qualities.
The researchers at the University of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture found the fatty acids could prevent the growth of Propionibacterium acnes – a bacterium which causes the common skin condition.
“The fatty acids inhibited the growth of the bacterium at concentrations similar to other acne treatments like benzoylperoxide and salicylic acid.”
“Many fatty acids inhibit or kill bacteria and now some of these have been shown to prevent the growth of Propionibacterium acnes,” Marine Biotechnology lecturer Dr Andrew Desbois, who led the study, said in a statement. “Fatty acids are present naturally on our skin to defend us against unwanted bacteria’ – so applying more would boost our existing defences.”
The researchers found that six different fatty acids are effective at combating acne. These include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), an omega-3 fatty acid and dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA), an omega-6 fatty acid.
While the EPA is produced by marine algae and then gets accumulated in fish like salmon via the food chain, the DGLA is made by some types of brown algae.
The team are now planning to create a skin lotion containing the beneficial fatty acids as a healthy treatment for acne. It could eventually replace some of the current drugs which are known to cause bad side effects. The bacteria have also developed a resistance to these drugs.
“Normally, we obtain these beneficial fatty acids through consuming fish or seaweed in our diets. However, we are planning to formulate the fatty acids into an ointment that can be applied to the skin to help people suffering with acne.”