Scientists at Stirling University have discovered an unlikely treatment for acne: marine algae.
Research by marine scientists at the university’sinstitute of aquaculture revealed the cleansing qualities of certain fatty acids, including some produced by algae. They found these fatty acids prevent the growth of Propionibacterium acnes, a bacterium that causes acne.
“The fatty acids inhibited the growth of the bacterium at concentrations similar to other acne treatments like benzoylperoxide and salicylic acid,” marine biotechnology lecturer Dr Andrew Desbois said.
“Many fatty acids inhibit or kill bacteria and now some of these have been shown to prevent the growth of Propionibacterium acnes. Fatty acids are presentnaturally on our skin to defend us against unwanted bacteria so the application of additional fatty acids will augment our existing defences.”
New treatments for acne are being sought as currentdrugs may cause side effects on the skin. Dr Desbois said: “Normally, we obtain these beneficial fatty acids through consuming fish or seaweed in our diets. However, we are planning to formulate the fatty acids into an ointment that can be applied to the skin to help people suffering with acne.”