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Algae May Help Fight Acne

Update Date: Nov 28, 2013 02:55 PM EST

Algae may help prevent acne, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of Stirling found that discovered that algae contain certain fatty acids that have various cleansing qualities. New research reveals that these fatty acids prevent the growth of Propionibacterium acnes, a bacterium that 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," lead researcher Marine Biotechnology lecturer Dr. Andrew Desbois said in a news release.

"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 defenses."

Desbois and his team identified six fatty acids 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.

"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."

The findings are published in the journal Marine Drugs.

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