02/28/2013 06:34 pm ET Updated Feb 28, 2013

Acne Bacteria Strain Linked With Healthy Skin Identified By Researchers

Finally, a reason why not all of us are subject to the scourge of teenagers everywhere: acne.

New research from the University of California, Los Angeles, shows that not all strains of the acne-causing bacteria Propionibacterium acnes, well, actually cause acne. And in fact, one strain of the bacteria could keep skin healthy and clear.

"This P. acnes strain may protect the skin, much like yogurt's live bacteria help defend the gut from harmful bugs," study researcher Huiying Li, assistant professor of molecular and medical pharmacology at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, said in a statement. "Our next step will be to investigate whether a probiotic cream can block bad bacteria from invading the skin and prevent pimples before they start."

For the study, published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, the researchers examined the skin of 49 people with pimply acne, and 52 people with clear skin. They used nose strips to gather the microbial DNA from their skin, and then looked to see what bacterial strains they possessed.

Then, the researchers cultured the bacteria and sequenced the DNA of 66 of the P. acnes strains.

The researchers found a couple of strains that were present in about one in five of the participants with acne, that were not at all present in those with healthy skin. And they also found a strain of P. acnes that seems to only be present in the volunteers with the healthy skin, and not in the skin of those with acne.

"We suspect that this strain contains a natural defense mechanism that enables it to recognize attackers and destroy them before they infect the bacterial cell," Li said in the statement.

Recently, another study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics showed that there could also be a link between eating dairy and high-glycemic foods and acne. High-glycemic foods include breads, starches (like potatoes), baked goods and fruit juices; for an explanation of low- and high-glycemic foods, click here.



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