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Researchers have found that not all strains of the bacteria commonly associated with acne are created equal: Some may cause problem skin, but one appears to protect the skin and keep it healthy. The discovery may help dermatologists develop new, strain-specific treatments for acne, a common but potentially disfiguring disorder.
Although acne is practically a rite of passage—more than 80% of Americans suffer from the skin condition, which can cause pimples, cysts, and red, inflamed skin, at some point in their lives—it’s not entirely understood. Past studies have pointed to Propionibacterium acnes, a bacterium that lives in the skin’s follicles and pores, as a potential culprit, but that work had not precisely revealed its role. So molecular biologist Huiying Li of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues decided to take a closer look at the microbe.
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