Scientists have discovered that an active ingredient from brown seaweed found only off the coast of Brittany, France, can banish the bugs that trigger acne and cut spots by nearly two thirds.
A new clinical trial of treatments containing active compound called Phycosaccharide ACP showed the number of spots fell by 64% and blackheads by 60% after just eight weeks.
The trial is the first cosmetics clinical study in acne to be published in an official dermatology journal.
The study investigated products from a range of OXY treatments using Phycosaccharide ACP.
They are mainly aimed at teenage boys and young men, with nine out of 10 suffering problem skin triggered by the male hormone testosterone.
In a trial of 60 young men aged 14 to 21 years with mild acne, half used seaweed-based skin wash and balm, while the others used dummy products that did not contain the active ingredient.
The trial found OXY products were significantly more effective than a dummy face wash, scrub or gel.
They cut the number of spots and problems areas as well as curbing inflammation and redness with improvement showing with 14 days.
At the end of the trial, after eight weeks, both groups of teenagers showed a reduction in inflammatory spots and comedones (blackheads and whiteheads). But the effects were more statistically significant in the OXY group at two weeks, four weeks and eight weeks.
After just two weeks, blackheads and spots had reduced by 29% and after a month blackheads were cut by 42% and spots by half.
At the end of the study, OXY users had nearly twice the reduction of blackheads as the placebo group (60% compared to 35%) and significantly fewer spots (64% reduction compared to 53%).
The findings were published in called Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, an official journal of the British Association of Dermatologists.
Previous tests show a combination of zinc sulphate and Phycosaccharide ACP used in OXY products has a triple action against the three root causes of spots.
It has powerful antibacterial activity, controls oil by inhibiting the enzyme responsible for production and reduces redness by restricting the release of interleukin 1 alpha, a marker of inflammation.
The acne bacterium was killed within one to 15 minutes depending on the type of product used.
The active ingredient is extracted out of the brown seaweed Laminaria digitata, which grows in dense patches on rocky sea floors at the tip of Brittany and is protected from pollution.
Spots can affect people at any age. Many cases are mild, but for 15% of the population – about nine million people – acne can be more severe.
One in four acne sufferers get some permanent scarring from the condition, yet surveys show almost half of those with problem skin do nothing to treat it, especially teenage boys.