We learned that a virus that lives on our skin (gross) could be used to fight acne (still gross, but useful).
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that a virus that lives naturally on human skin called phage is built specifically to target and kill bacteria that causes acne – Propionibacterium acnes.
Acne happens when hair follicles become blocked with an oily substance called sebum, a natural substance the body produces to keep the skin from drying out. Then, the bacteria that live on the skin infect the already plugged follicles, further exacerbating the outbreak.
Phage appears to carry a gene that makes a protein called endolysin, an enzyme that destroys bacteria by breaking down cell walls. Unlike antibiotics that kill all types of bacteria, phage is genetically programmed to target only the bacteria that cause acne.
Scientists are now looking for ways to use phage to create tailored therapies for acne, but with fewer side effects.