POSTED: Friday, September 28, 2012 - 6:30am
UPDATED: Friday, September 28, 2012 - 7:04am
NBC MEDICAL NEWS — A new breakthrough treatment for acne may already be living on your skin.
Scientists have pinpointed a virus that naturally seeks out and kills pimple-causing bacteria.
Mother of four Andrea Anderson has battled acne since middle school and has been fighting it several ways.
Currently she is using an antibiotic cream and a retinoid.
"They're not without side effects you know the topical retinoid that goes on at night can be very drying," she says.
She's excited to hear that now a more effective, natural cure could be on the horizon and it comes from something already sitting on the surface of our skin.
In the new study, published in the journal mBio, scientists from UCLA and the University of Pittsburgh have found harmless viruses that live on our skin, called phages, that can attack and kill the bacteria that help cause acne, and those phages studied are all genetically similar, making it easier to pinpoint how they kill acne bacteria and develop a treatment.
Scientists hope to use this research to develop a topical cream to fight acne, one to which the body would not develop immune resistance like it can with antibiotics.
Dermatologist Dr. Phil Ecker of Minnesota Dermatology said the study holds great promise.
"I think it's very interesting I haven't really thought of treating acne in this way before so it's exciting when someone comes out with new ideas like this," Dr. Ecker says.
But it could be some time before a new treatment is available.
"With the FDA approval process and everything it could be ten to 15 years," Dr. Ecker points out.
While this research may not help Andrea Anderson right now, she said she would be happy if a new more natural treatment becomes available, perhaps in time to help her kids.