Skin virus 'could be natural cure for acne'

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Indy Lifestyle Online

A virus found on human skin could provide a natural cure for acne which would help thousands of sufferers, new research has revealed.

A virus found on human skin could provide a natural cure for acne which would help thousands of sufferers, new research has revealed.

Scientists at the University of Leeds Skin Research Centre carried out tests on the virus, called a bacteriophage.

Initial research showed the virus attacked the bacteria which is a major cause of spots and inflamed skin.

It is hoped the findings will lead to an anti–acne treatment based on the naturally-occurring virus.

Dr Richard Bojar, of the Skin Research Centre, said: "The big advantage for using a naturally occurring virus to treat acne would be that it is entirely specific to the bacteria that causes acne."

Current acne treatments include antibiotics or creams, which can have side effects.

The contraceptive pill can also be prescribed to female patients.

Dr Bojar said: "There is a move in the cosmetics industry to produce creams and gels which are kinder to the skin. Some people may prefer to put this on their skin than an antibiotic or a chemical."

The treatment has been tested in the laboratory but the next step is to test it on human volunteers, Dr Bojar said.

According to the British Association of Dermatologists, acne usually starts in the early teens and, without effective treatment, reaches its peak between the ages of 17 and 21.

Most patients then improve and are spot-free by the age of 25. But some suffer from the condition to the age of 40 and beyond.

Acne in teenagers is due to sex hormones causing over-functioning of the skin's grease glands.

It is also caused by bacteria getting into grease glands, creating chemicals which escape into the skin.

The Leeds research team is seeking funding to start clinical trials later this year.

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