Acne is a problem that plagues many teenagers, and a good number of adults, as well. In fact, it is the most common skin problem all over the world. It is such a widespread condition that there are numerous over-the-counter products sold to combat it, ranging from natural ingredients to chemical-based formulas.
Now, scientists at the University of California, San Diego, may have a permanent solution to acne: a vaccine that can prevent breakouts from happening, Tech Times reports.
According to the National Health Service, close to 80% of people between the ages of 11 and 30 suffer from this skin condition worldwide. In the United States alone, 50 million Americans deal with acne yearly, Allure magazine says.
Acne is most commonly found on the face, chest and back. Growths range from whiteheads and blackheads to pustules, nodules, papules, or cysts. Those who have them are advised not to squeeze or pop the growths, as this may lead to permanent scarring. Removing acne through force can also aggravate the condition, leading to more inflammation and damaging skin quality.
Eric C. Huang, lead researcher on the study, said,
Acne is caused, in part, by P. acnes bacteria that are with you your whole life — and we couldn’t create a vaccine for the bacteria because, in some ways, P. acnes are good for you.
But Huang said that scientists have found an antibody for a toxin protein that the P. acnes bacteria releases on the skin. This protein leads to inflammation, which is responsible for acne appearing.
The vaccine tries to prevent acne from appearing, without harming or killing the helpful microbes that the bacteria produces. The team has gathered skin biopsies and tested the vaccine on them, with promising results.
Huang’s team is now looking to start the first phase of clinical trials in the next two years. If all goes well, a new acne vaccine could be available for consumers in this decade.