SOURCE: George Washington University, news release, July 2015
FRIDAY, July 31, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- There's no shortage of products out there that claim to treat the pimples that so often plague teen skin, but your body may already be making an effective treatment that just needs a little tweaking from science, a new study suggests.
The treatment is nitric oxide, a substance produced and used throughout the human body. But, nitric oxide's benefits are usually short-lived, researchers explained.
And, that's where science comes in. By slowing the release of nitric oxide using tiny substances (nanoparticles), researchers were able to kill the bacteria associated with acne. The nanoparticles also inhibited the inflammation that causes the large, painful pimples associated with inflammatory acne.
The study was published recently in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.
"Our understanding of acne has changed dramatically in the last 15-20 years," study co-author Dr. Adam Friedman, an associate professor of dermatology at George Washington University in Washington D.C., said in a university news release.
"Inflammation is really the driving force behind all types of acne. In this paper, we provide an effective a way to kill the bacterium that serves as a stimulus for acne without using an antibiotic, and demonstrate the means by which nitric oxide inhibits newly recognized pathways central to the formation of a pimple, present in the skin even before you can see the acne," he explained.
This study focused on a pathway, involving what is called an inflammasome, responsible for activating the inflammatory process in acne.
"Many current medications focus only on one or two part of this process," Friedman said. "By killing the bacterium and blocking multiple components of the inflammasome, this approach may lead to better treatment options for acne sufferers, and possibly treatments for other inflammatory skin conditions."
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about acne.