Entries in Pimples (6)


Virus Could Be New Weapon Against Zits

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It might be possible some day to apply a cream that contains a virus that kills acne-causing bacteria to ward off zits, a new study suggests.

The study, published Tuesday in the journal mBio, analyzed the genomes of viruses that attack the skin bacteria linked to acne problems from 11 volunteers.

Using over-the-counter pore cleaning strips, the researchers peeled off samples of phages -- viruses that attack bacteria -- from the noses of pimply and unblemished individuals.

The researchers were astounded to find that these viruses were remarkably similar genetically from patient to patient, said corresponding author Graham Hatfull, professor of biotechnology and biological sciences at the University of Pittsburgh.  The fact that there was so little difference between these viruses from nose to nose suggests that their bacterial prey -- in this case, the bacteria that lead to acne -- are ill-equipped to defend themselves.

These findings "indicate the possibility of using these phages as a targeted approach to acne treatment," the study authors wrote.

Acne is the most common skin problem across the United States, according to the American Academy of Dermatology's website.  Acne affects 40 to 50 million Americans at any given time, and can lead to disfigurement and problems with self-esteem.

The increase in antibiotic-resistant strains of the skin bacteria linked to acne highlights the need for new and better acne treatments, the study authors wrote.

Dr. Doris Day, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center and author of 100 Questions and Answers About Acne, explained how the common skin bacteria, Propionibacterium acnes -- P. acnes for short -- helps pimples develop.

"You have a follicle, which is a pore," said Day, who was not involved with the study.  "For [some] reason, the skin cells that line it don't slough off as they're supposed to.  Once the opening gets blocked, then the oil and skin cells behind it start to build up. That's your whitehead."

Day explained that when the opening to the pore is clogged, there is little to no oxygen -- the perfect environment for bacteria like P. acnes to thrive.

"Everything it likes to eat is right there," she said.

The hope, Day said, is that dermatologists will be able to tailor treatments to attack and destroy P. acnes in a way that is currently not possible -- a viral smart bomb, if you will, against acne germs.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Adult Acne on Rise as Women Age and Hormones Kick In

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) -- As the American Academy of Dermatologists (AAD) convenes for its annual meeting in San Diego on Friday, doctors say adult-onset acne is on the rise in women over the age of 25, as well as those well into their 40s and 50s.

One self-reported survey from the University of Alabama, published in 2008, found that acne affects more than 50 percent of women between the ages of 20-29 and more than 25 percent between the ages of 40-49.

Another clinical survey from Massachusetts General Hospital, published in 2011, revealed that 45 percent of women between the ages of 20-29 and 12 percent of women between the ages of ages 41-50 had acne.

"That's still significant," said Dr. Bethanee Jean Schlosser, who will deliver a paper on the role of hormones in adult-onset acne Friday at the AAD meeting.

Women are also disproportionately affected, compared with men, according to Schlosser, who is the assistant professor of dermatology at Northwestern University's Feinstein School of Medicine.

The reasons for the numbers of adult cases are unclear and probably multi-factoral, according to Schlosser.  But one significant factor is the role hormones play, she said.  As women age, their levels of androgens [the male hormone that is present in both men and women] rise.

These hormones can influence excess sebum or oil gland production as well as increase the rate at which skin cells shed, which can clog hair follicles.

Women with adult acne should be tested for androgen levels, according to Schlosser, particularly if they have excess body hair, deepening voice or irregular or infrequent menstrual periods.

Hormone treatments such as oral contraceptives, which decrease androgen production, as well as the anti-androgen medication spironolactone can be helpful, but patients must be carefully monitored for underlying health problems.

"It's important for patients to understand that there are no quick fixes, and none of the therapies used to treat acne work overnight," said Schlosser.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Drastic Makeup Transformation Lets Acne-Scarred Teen Become Model

Courtesy of Cassandra Bankson(NEW YORK) -- Every day, Cassandra Bankson wakes up, washes her face and does a makeup routine that dramatically transforms her looks.

The California teen has severe acne.  It’s so bad that it covers most of her face, as well as parts of her neck, chest and back.

But Bankson is now able to model, and her shots are picture-perfect.  How?

Bankson performs a daily makeup makeover, expertly hiding the extensive blemishes that cover her face and neck with a technique that she says she learned after hours of research and practice.  She demonstrates her method in a before-and-after YouTube video that’s had more than two million views.

“It’s been overwhelming,” she said Tuesday on ABC's Good Morning America about the response online to her video.  “It really is an eye-opener.  I never knew that for men, for women, even for adults, it’s such an epidemic.  Yes, it’s cosmetic, but it goes deeper than that.  I think that’s something that’s a little bit of a misconception.”

At the beginning of the video, Bankson is made up.  Her skin is clear and her cosmetics look natural and fresh.  Then she explains that she’ll remove the makeup to show her face and demonstrate her technique.

When she appears again, her face is covered in red acne spots.

“I am the most self-conscious person about my acne...taking my makeup off is one of the most insecure things that I could probably do, for me,” she says, her voice shaking.

In the moments that follow, Bankson goes through a comprehensive routine that includes the application of foundation, concealer, powders and spray.  When she’s done, her face is transformed.  Her skin appears flawless.

Because of her transformational routine, she’s able to book modeling jobs, and is reaching out to other teens to help them with their own skin troubles.

Bankson, who got her first pimple in the third grade, has a powerful message for other teens who are suffering with acne: “I know exactly where you are, I’ve been in your shoes and there is hope,” she said on GMA.  “Someone else has been there and there is a way for you to feel confident…you just need to kind of search around for what it is that makes you lighten up.”

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Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


FTC Quashes Acne-Curing Smartphone Apps

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Smartphone apps can do a lot of things but cure acne?  Come on, there's no app for that!

Unfortunately, thousands of acne sufferers, desperate for any kind of relief, have been suckered into believing that two smartphone apps could provide the answer to their skin woes.

One app promised acne removal through blue and red light treatments.  AcneApp, which sold for $1.99 on iTunes, was supposedly developed by a British dermatologist.  The other app, AcnePwner, sold for 99 cents on Android Marketplace.  The tag line was “Kill ACNE with this simple, yet powerful tool!”

These claims caught the attention of the Federal Trade Commission, which quickly acted to put a stop to the false propaganda.  

After nearly 15,000 downloads, the FTC got the marketers to "stop making bogus claims." It's the first time the FTC has taken action against a phony health claim by mobile apps.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


More Research Needed for Acne Treatments, Says Study

BananaStock/Thinkstock(NOTTINGHAM, England) -- Most of us have been there -- scrubbing, cleansing, moisturizing and zapping -- desperate to get rid of those pimples that tormented the teenage (and maybe adult) years.  But now a new study published in the Lancet finds that common acne-fighting products lack proper research in documenting their effectiveness.

"The large number of products and product combinations, and the scarcity of comparative studies, has led to disparate guidelines with few recommendations being evidence-based," lead author Hywel Williams from the Centre of Evidence-Based Dermatology at the U.K.'s University of Nottingham, said in a statement.

Most guidelines for acne care are based on expert opinions, but even those opinions may have conflicts of interest, the study noted.

Researchers said "almost half of recently published acne trials contain serious flaws that could be overcome by better reporting...The absence of trials with active comparators is a significant handicap to shared clinical decision making."

Medications, including retinoids, bezoyl peroxide, topical dapsone, hormonal medications like birth control pills and antibiotics, are the most common treatments for varying degrees of acne.  Experts have discouraged doctors in recent years from prescribing long-term antibiotics for treatment out of fear that patients will develop resistance to the medications.

But, Dr. Kevin Cooper, professor and chair of dermatology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, defended the research of many over-the-counter and prescribed acne-fighting products.

"There are many clinical trials published which demonstrate that the treatment being studied is better than placebo and has reasonable or minimal side effects," said Cooper. "This is necessary to obtain FDA approval of the medication or the medication combination.  In some cases the company may have compared the combination against the individual ingredients alone."

The study's reference to "lack of research," refers to comparative effectiveness research, where two competitive products are tested head-to-head to see if one is better than the other, Cooper noted.

While the best scientific evidence for most kinds of research comes from double-blind, prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled trials, Dr. John Messmer, associate professor of family and community medicine at Penn State Hershey College of Medicine, noted that those "are hard to do with acne."

Acne is not fully understood, but dermatologists say genetics, gender, hormones, other medications, skin type and sunlight contribute to the condition.  It is the most common skin disorder in the United States, affecting 40 to 50 million Americans according to the American Academy of Dermatology, and is usually caused by three common occurrences: the overproduction of oil, blockage of hair follicles that release oil and growth of bacteria within the follicles.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Eating Chocolate Can 'Skyrocket' Number of Pimples

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MIAMI, Fla.) - According to a preliminary study, eating chocolate could make your acne worse, reports WebMD.

Research by a medical student at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine found that the more chocolate young men ate, the more acne they had. For example, men ages 18 to 35 that ate eight ounces of chocolate a day could see their number of pimples jump from fewer than four to as many as 70 in as little as seven days.
"The numbers speak for themselves," said researcher Samantha Block.

The study used pure chocolate which can contain ingredients with "pore-clogging properties" such as caffeine and theobromine.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio