At the University of California, scientists are working on a vaccine to combat acne for good – but it’s more difficult than it sounds. Acne is caused by bacteria called P. acnes, but eliminating those bacteria could affect the bodies healthy microbiome. So instead the team is trying to target an inflammatory messenger produced by the bacteria.
‘We found an antibody to a toxic protein that P. acnes bacteria secrete on skin — the protein is associated with the inflammation that leads to acne,’ the researchers told Allure.
They announced this week that trials on mice and skin cells from humans with acne have shown that acne inflammation was markedly reduced, but ‘until positive results are seen in humans, the fate of this treatment is still unknown.’
How would this treatment be received if it was to become available? We asked women who have been suffering with acne for years.
‘An acne vaccination you say? How, when, how much?!’
'My confidence and self esteem never felt so good as when as I was on roaccutane as a teenager,' Emma, 32, tells us.
'When I started a full time job it was impossible to keep up the monthly blood tests, dermatologist appointments two days later - all at scheduled times but inevitably always running late, guaranteeing the quick half hour appointment took at least an hour out of the office. After a year I came off it and slowly but surely, and sadly the acne returned.'
'I have spent a fortune on every product going and am now in a love affair with La Roche Posay Effacular Duo which seems to be the best I can find - along with GP prescribed antibiotics which stop the "worst" of the acne. A vaccination against acne would honestly mean everything to me.'
‘A vaccine for acne would have been life changing’
‘A vaccine for acne would have been life changing when my skin was really bad,' 28-year-old Jodie told Grazia today. ‘Trying to work out the best way to treat acne can be overwhelming (do you try medication, change your diet, invest in expensive skincare?), and often these things make no difference except for causing more stress and a dent in your bank balance.
‘Currently the only long-term ‘cure’ for acne is Roaccutane and this harsh drug is only suitable is extreme cases. Plus, it comes with a long list of side effects including really drying out your skin, it has been linked to depression/anxiety and involves going on the contraceptive pill.’
'If I could have a vaccine and achieve perfect skin, I would do it in an instant'
'I’ve had acne since I was 15, so seven years, and I’ve taken all the standard courses of treatment,' says 23-year-old Winter. 'I was put on the combined pill, prescribed various different antibiotics over the years, and when they all stopped working after a few months, put on Roaccutane by a dermatologist.
'Even Roaccutane, with all of its insufferable side effects, isn’t a long term cure, so frankly I’d jump at the chance of a vaccine. It would save me hundreds in prescription costs, and many many hours spent at the doctors and dermatologists.
'Personally, my acne was never a huge source of insecurity as a teenager but as I’ve entered my 20s it feels like something I shouldn’t be dealing with anymore. Plus, there is such a huge trend right now of showcasing your makeup-free, clear skin that is just so unattainable for me and has only made me realise how bad my skin really is.
'It’s not just continuing to have acne, it’s the scars you have to deal with after that, which I imagine I’ll spend a lot on trying to get rid of with laser treatments in the coming years. If I could have a vaccine and achieve perfect skin, I would do it in an instant.'
READ MORE: The Best Products For Acne-Prone Skin
La Roche-Posay’s new anti-blemish cream is formulated to target oily, blemish-prone ski. it has become a cult product for beauty buffs who have raved about its magical ability to unclog pores, minimise imperfections and give the surface of the skin a smooth velvety finish.