Medical

Acne treatment hopes raised after genetic study reveals hair ties

Acne treatment hopes raised af...
A new study suggests genes that influence acne also play a role in hair follicle formation
A new study suggests genes that influence acne also play a role in hair follicle formation
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A new study suggests genes that influence acne also play a role in hair follicle formation
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A new study suggests genes that influence acne also play a role in hair follicle formation

In one of the largest studies ever completed investigating the genetic origins of acne, researchers have homed in on several genetic regions that could be associated with the condition. Fascinatingly, it was revealed that many of these genetic regions are also associated with hair follicle function, highlighting a novel mechanism that may be targeted for new acne treatments in the future.

Acne is an incredibly heritable condition. Prior epidemiological studies have revealed in some cases the condition can be 80 percent related to genetic factors. However, prior research into the disorder's genetic origins has been relatively limited, only uncovering a small volume of potential genetic variants influencing acne risk.

Acne is a complex condition and it is generally known to be an inflammatory disease of the skin. Most research and treatment centers on ways to combat the inflammatory mechanisms that result in the condition's characteristic skin symptoms, but these medications often result in problematic and unpleasant side effects.

A new comprehensive investigation into the genetic risk factors that could influence acne examined the DNA of nearly 27,000 individuals, of which 5,600 reported suffering from severe acne. The results revealed 15 specific genetic locations that could be associated with severe acne, 12 of which have never been connected to the condition before.

"We are really excited to have found so many regions of the genome that are involved in acne," says Michael Simpson, a researcher on the project from King's College London.

Most interesting was the discovery that many of these newly discovered genetic regions were known to play major roles in both the structure and function of hair follicles. One acne-associated genetic variant in particular is known to cause a rare condition called ectodermal dysplasia, resulting in sparse body hair.

"It was surprising that so many of the variants appear to influence the structure and function of the hair follicle," explains Simpson. "It may be that the genetic variation influences the shape of these hair follicles and makes them more prone to bacteria and inflammation, which are a characteristic of acne."

Jonathan Barker, lead author on the new study, notes that there have been a dearth of advances in the field of acne research over the past few decades. It may be several years before this new research manifests in a real clinical treatment, but Barker says this discovery is a significant leap forward.

"For people with acne, it's so important to have more treatments available," says Barker. "We need to treat people earlier and more effectively, so that they don't get scars, which last even after the condition has come and gone. When you have insight into the genetic basis of a condition, you can develop much more effective treatments."

The new research was published in the journal Nature Communications.

Source: King's College London

1 comment
Nik
Some years ago, a young teenage, second cousin of mine came to stay with me for four months. When she arrived, she had acne, when she departed she did not. I cautioned her to continue the treatment for at least another two months, to ensure that all the bacteria was eliminated, permanently, and NOT to cuddle her family dog to her face, as this was probably the source of the infection. She had been prescribed various lotions, potions, and pills, which had had zero effect on her acne, and the pills had made her sick. I started a remedial course, of treatment, which consisted simply of, cleansing her face with 'Old Spice' after shave morning and evening, this was later replaced with ''Spirigel,'' an alcoholic gel that surgeons use, but it didnt smell half as nice ;-). After each cleansing, ''Sudocrem'' antiseptic healing cream was applied, to prevent the skin from hardening, and to add another anti-infection agent. In addition, her pillow cases were changed every day, to prevent reinfection. This simple treatment was totally successful. Acne is caused by bacteria infecting the pores and hair follicles of the skin. They live on the sebum in those locations. The irritation they cause, stimulates the skin to produce more sebum to flush out the bacteria, which in turn provides more sebum for the bacteria to breed and proliferate in, a positive feedback situation, so the spots get bigger. Soap is also greasy, and can provide more food for the bacteria. Doctors are trained in medical schools, medical schools are frequently funded by 'Big Pharma,' so they are encouraged to prescribe Big Pharma's products to the exclusion of cheaper, and often more effective alternatives, too the detriment of their victims. I hope anyone reading this will pass the information on, to anyone they know, who has acne. It may not be successful in all cases, as I've only experienced one, but it certainly cannot do any harm, so is worth trying.