One may be forgiven for thinking that bacteria causes acne or even consider viruses as possible a possible cause. But is acne really caused by bacteria or reactions to the bacteria? Researchers have recently been dedicating their efforts to isolating the causes of acne in an effort to eliminate the pesky condition.
Who is at Risk of Getting Acne?
About three quarters of people aged 11–30, regardless of race, will develop acne at some point. However, the skin condition usually affects adolescents and young girls. It is important to know that everybody carries Propionibacterium acne (P. acne) on their skin. This bacterium rests in pores of one’s skin that have limited oxygen and are dark and oily. It is however not clear whether the P. acne is as a result of an individual’s health response or a particular afflictive strain of the bacterium. Many people know acne to be a result of excess sebum and upper skin layer overgrowth. Acne is also linked to a bacterium, which is why treatments require the use of antibiotics.
Severe acne does not correlate with the amount of P. acne in one’s skin. Different bacteria cause different levels of acne. Good and bad strains of bacteria determine the severity of acne and frequency of development of this skin disease. Killing all bacteria is not the ultimate solution to curing acne.
Modulating an individual’s immune response has proven to be a good form of acne treatment. Instead of concentrating more on antimicrobial remedies, researchers and dermatologists recommend anti-inflammatory treatments as well.
Different people require a wide variety of acne treatments, which is most likely why there is no acne vaccine to date. While many people use antibiotics, not everyone is able to get rid of their acne problem just by killing bacteria. Isotretinion, also known as Accutane, is an anti-inflammatory related to vitamin A. This agent is much better than focusing solely on antimicrobial and can successfully treat cases of severe acne.
Impacts of Isotretinion
Just like any other form of medication, anti-inflammatory agents too have their bad side. Many people who have used these agents to treat acne complain of dry skin, hidden veins which make it difficult to get blood test and not being able to consume alcohol.
In 2009, Bart Stupak, a former congressional representative from Michigan testified in court about the association of Isotretinion with his son’s suicide. His testimony led to the Energy and Commerce committee in the House of Representatives to provide tight restrictions on the drug’s prescription. However, there is no direct link between Isotretinion and suicidal thoughts.
A huge percentage of acne is traced through inheritance from parents. Although dermatologists still don’t seem to agree on the role of diets, it is clear that diet influences how acne genes are expressed.
Studying acne is difficult, just like any other human only disease. Skin care studies have proven difficult to be carried out in lab mice. So, the idea of developing a vaccine and treatment still hangs in the balance.