Marine algae can help acne sufferers

Marine algae can help acne sufferers
Seaweed. Credit: Tom Ashton

Scientists from the University of Stirling have discovered an unlikely treatment for acne – marine algae.

Research by marine scientists at the University's internationally renowned Institute 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 which causes the common skin condition.

"The fatty acids inhibited the growth of the bacterium at concentrations similar to other acne treatments like benzoylperoxide and salicylic acid," explained Marine Biotechnology lecturer Dr Andrew Desbois, who led the study.

"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 present naturally on our skin to defend us against unwanted bacteria so the application of additional fatty acids will augment our existing defences."

New treatment options for acne are being sought as current drugs may cause side effects on the skin and bacterial resistance is making them less effective.

Scientists found six fatty acids were effective, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), an omega-3 fatty acid already known to be important for human health and wellbeing, and dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA), an omega-6 fatty acid with anti-inflammatory properties. EPA is produced by and then accumulated via the food chain into fish like salmon, while DGLA is made by some types of brown algae.

Dr Desbois added: "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."

Dublin-based drug discovery and development company Dignity Sciences commissioned the study and are currently at the trial stage to develop prescription medicines containing antibacterial for treating acne and other diseases.

The research has been published in the journal Marine Drugs.

More information: www.mdpi.com/1660-3397/11/11/4544

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Researchers make a case for free fatty acids

Oct 22, 2013

The current global epidemic of obesity-linked diabetes and its associated consequences -cardiovascular, neurological and renal diseases - is a growing public health problem for which therapeutic options are limited.

Fatty acids could aid cancer prevention and treatment

Aug 01, 2013

Omega-3 fatty acids, contained in oily fish such as salmon and trout, selectively inhibit growth and induce cell death in early and late-stage oral and skin cancers, according to new research from scientists ...

Spicing up your fish fillets with science

Aug 14, 2013

The health benefits of consuming omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids such as EPA and DHA are well established. The primary sources of these fatty acids in the human diet are through fish and seafood. Researchers ...

Recommended for you

Can YouTube save your life?

Aug 29, 2014

Only a handful of CPR and basic life support (BLS) videos available on YouTube provide instructions which are consistent with recent health guidelines, according to a new study published in Emergency Medicine Australasia, the jo ...

Doctors frequently experience ethical dilemmas

Aug 29, 2014

(HealthDay)—For physicians trying to balance various financial and time pressures, ethical dilemmas are common, according to an article published Aug. 7 in Medical Economics.

AMGA: Physician turnover still high in 2013

Aug 29, 2014

(HealthDay)—For the second year running, physician turnover remains at the highest rate since 2005, according to a report published by the American Medical Group Association (AMGA).

Obese or overweight teens more likely to become smokers

Aug 29, 2014

A study examining whether overweight or obese teens are at higher risk for substance abuse finds both good and bad news: weight status has no correlation with alcohol or marijuana use but is linked to regular ...

User comments