Teen Acne: Are Probiotics the Answer?

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For many teens, skin health is a major concern. Acne vulgaris affects 80 to 85 percent of the population, and it is most common in adolescents. During the middle and high school years, acne can affect teens’ self-esteem and be a significant source of social stress. Moreover, if the condition becomes severe, it can be painful and cause permanent scarring. And for some teens, no matter how much diligently they follow a healthy skin regimen, the acne just won’t go away.

Recent research out of the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) may be able to help adolescents who are looking for more effective ways to treat acne. The exact causes of acne vulgaris remain unknown, but the condition has been associated with Propionibacterium acnes, a bacterium that thrives in hair follicles. The goal of the research team was to get a clearer picture of the role of this bacterium in the skin microbiome, in healthy individuals and in those with severe acne.

Exploring the Skin Microbiome

To answer this question, the research team took skin follicle samples from 72 individuals, half of whom had severe acne and half of whom had healthy skin. Then, they use a cutting-edge technology called DNA shotgun sequencing analysis to study the genetic material of all of the bacterial strains in each skin sample. They found Propionibacterium acnes in all of the samples, but individuals with acne had more diverse strains of the bacteria, and the genetic material of the bacteria was enriched with virulence-associated factors. In contrast, the genetic material of the bacteria from the healthy skin samples contained factors associated with bacterial metabolism, which can make it harder for harmful bacteria to colonize hair follicles.

Based on their results, the scientists concluded that the composition of the microbiome at the hair follicles can be an effective indicator of microbiome health. And — more importantly for teens struggling with acne — they suggest that taking probiotic supplements to promote a healthier skin microbiome can be more effective than existing acne treatments, including antibiotics.

Trying Probiotic Supplements

Although the scientists’ research is ongoing, it certainly can’t hurt for teens who are struggling with persistent acne to give probiotics a try, especially since probiotic supplements also have a wide range of other health benefits, including digestion support and improved immunity.

Atlanta Chiropractic and Wellness offers two types of probiotic supplements. Our chiropractors can counsel your teen about taking probiotic supplements and adopting other nutritional strategies to maintain health and wellness. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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