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Alumier Skin Experts / January 19, 2016

Natural Alternatives in Acne

What are bacteria?

Bacteria are single-celled organisms found inside and outside the body. Many bacteria are not harmful, and some are indeed helpful. However, many other bacteria cause illnesses, skin infections and acne.

What is antibiotic resistance?

Antibiotic resistance is the term used when an antibiotic loses its ability to effectively kill or control bacteria. The bacteria are termed resistant since they continue to multiply in the presence of the antibiotic in question.

When antibiotics started to be used in the 1940s, they transformed medical care by dramatically decreasing illness and death caused by bacterial infections. However, the overuse and misuse of antibiotics has led to antibiotic resistance and thus treatment complications and increased healthcare costs. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), resistant infections increase the length and cost of treatment and resistant infections are twice as likely to result in death.

How does antibiotic resistance affect acne?

Studies have shown that resistant P. acnes (Propionibacterium acne) bacteria increase the chance of acne treatment failure. Patients with P.acnes bacteria who became resistant to one or more antibiotics increased from 34.5% in 1991 to 55.5% in 2000. (Coates P, Vyakrnam S, Eady E.A., et al. Prevalence of antibiotic-resistant propionibacteria on the skin of acne patients: 10-year surveillance data and snapshot distribution study. Br J Dermatol 2002;146:840-848).

Are there synthetic ingredients that decrease P. acnes without resistance?

Benzoyl peroxide (BPO) is a broad-spectrum anti-bacterial agent effective in controlling antibiotic-sensitive and antibiotic-resistant P. acnes. Broadly “antimicrobial” means BPO doesn’t cause a specific microbiological stress or select one type of bacteria over another versus traditional prescription antibiotics. These properties may be the reason there is no known resistance to BPO. In fact, it has been shown that adding BPO to antibiotics can reduce resistant P. acnes bacteria in patients with acne. (Leyden JJ1, Wortzman M, Baldwin EK. Antibiotic-resistant Propionibacterium acnes suppressed by a benzoyl peroxide cleanser 6%. Cutis 2008;82(6):417-21.)

Are there natural ingredients that decrease P. acnes without resistance?

Many plants have natural antimicrobial properties to protect themselves against infection. We can harness these innate powers in skincare products.

Examples: Hinokitiol, also known as beta-thujaplicin, is an organic compound extracted from the oils of the western red cedar tree. It is a multifunctional superpower ingredient shown to have natural anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-melanogenic properties, which reduce redness associated with acne and rosacea. There is no known acquired P. acnes resistance to this ingredient.

Resveratrol is an antioxidant derived either from grape seeds or the Japanese knotweed plant. It has been shown to inhibit P. acnes growth.

Canadian Willowherb™ is an extract from a northern Canadian prairies plant. Known for its anti-irritant and soothing properties, it also inhibits the growth of P. acnes.

Oligopeptide-10 is an antimicrobial peptide that works synergistically with salicylic acid against P. acnes.

Tea tree oil is a commonly used antimicrobial ingredient extracted from specific Melaleuca alternifolia trees in Australia.

To learn about AlumierMD Acne Products.

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