Acne is a chronic and inflammatory skin disease characterized by the development whiteheads, blackheads, nodules, papules and other types of pimples.
Each year, up to 50 million people in the United States are affected by acne, making it the most common skin condition in the country.
Acne commonly affects the areas of neck, face, chest, back and shoulders. This is because these areas of the body are rich in oil glands called “sebaceous glands”.
Sebaceous glands are present in skin follicles and produce an oily substance called “sebum”. Typically, sebum is involved in lubricating your skin and hair. Sometimes, there is excessive production of sebum in your body and it can clog the pores.
Clogged oily pores help different bacteria to survive and grow, leading to inflammation and acne development.
The skin’s microbiome is the ecosystem of microorganisms and bacteria that live on your skin. The microbiome of skin plays a vital role in how your skin looks, acts and feels. A healthy microbiome protects your skin from external environmental factors like allergens and toxins.
However, if the balance of the skin’s healthy microbiome if disturbed, it can lead to the development of multiple skin conditions.
It is the overall balance of the bacteria that is an important determinant of acne development and skin health, rather than the presence or absence of particular strain of bacteria.
Acne vulgaris is a common skin condition, affecting almost 80-85 percent of the population during some point in their life.
P. acnes species are key players in acne development and are most abundant in the follicle of both acne-prone and healthy individuals.
P. acnes uses sebum as a source of energy and triggers inflammation by initiating an immune response.
Skin’s microbiome is beneficial to us as it acts as a barrier for invading organisms. Moreover, it also helps in maintaining skin’s pH and overall health of your skin.
Skin’s good bacteria boost your immunity by competing with invaders, preventing pathogens to adhere, by secreting lipoteichoic acid and by empowering immune cells.
A balanced diverse microbiome supports many of the processes that the skin needs to stay healthy and resilient. We all have good and bad bacteria residing on our skin. When this balance is disturbed and shifts towards bad bacteria then this microbiome may function less efficiently.
This impairs your skin’s natural protective barrier membrane, allowing skin irritations, sensitivity, and inflammation to prevail.
You can create a healthy balance of microorganism residing on your skin by:
1. Using skin care products that respect and protect your skin’s acidic pH. Many OTC soaps and cleansers can affect good bacteria by changing your skin’s pH to a less balanced one.
2. Using antimicrobial skin care products that target p.acnes bacteria and promote the growth of healthy bacteria. Mandelic acid and azelaic acid are naturally antifungal, and antibacterial against p.acnes. Lactic acid helps straighten your skin’s barrier membrane.