The probiotic strain Lactobacillus plantarum CJLP55, a proprietary strain of CJ Foods, has been found to exhibit anti-pathogenic bacterial and anti-inflammatory activities in in vitro settings.
As such, researchers conducted a human clinical study to find out if the benefits would also be seen in alleviating acne vulgaris – an inflammatory skin condition.
Key results include decreased acne lesion count, and severity of acne, reduced sebum triglycerides, and increased hydration.
The researchers from Kyung Hee University, Kyung Hee University Medical Center, and CJ Foods explained that gut-brain-skin axis could be at work.
“To explain the beneficial effect of ingested probiotics for skin health improvement, modulation of intestinal bacterial flora and their released metabolites with increased intestinal permeability were adopted for systemic immunomodulation based on gut-brain-skin axis,” they said, writing in Nutrients.
The probiotic, however, has no effect on parameters such as skin pH and skin surface lipids.
Twenty-eight subjects between 19 and 39 years old completed the double-blind, placebo-controlled randomised study.
The intervention group took 10bn CFU of the probiotic provided by CJ Foods and all subjects had to maintain their usual cleaning habits and skin maintenance habits.
Reduced lesion count
Inflammatory and total acne lesion count were reduced in the intervention group as compared to the placebo.
Inflammatory lesion count (ILC) significantly went down by 42.09 per cent for all subjects in the intervention group.
Total lesion count (TLC) dropped by 49.67 per cent for all subjects in the intervention group.
Gender was not a factor that affects acne severity and lesion counts, the researchers noted.
“Compared to baseline, ILC, TLC, and acne grade were significantly decreased in the CJLP55 group over 12 weeks.
“For the placebo group, ILC was decreased, but TLC and acne grade remained unchanged over the 12 weeks,” said the researchers.
They added that ILC had dropped in the placebo group probably due to the effect coming from maltodextrin and glucose anhydro-crystalline – two ingredients used in the placebo formula.
The intervention group reported a better ability in maintaining skin hydration as compared to the placebo group.
Skin hydration in the intervention group went up by 14.52 per cent as compared to the placebo group.
This happened alongside an increase in ceramide 2 – the major ceramide species that maintains the epidermal lipid barrier for hydration.
“Although the level of total ceramides remained unchanged in CJLP55 and placebo groups, the level of ceramide-2, the major ceramide species of human epidermis, was increased over 12 weeks in the CJLP55 group,” the researchers said.
Further analysis showed that the intervention group had a lower sebum triglyceride level, lesser Proteobacteria metabolites, and more Firmicutes metabolites, which the researchers believe were metabolic features that “led to decrease in sebum content and acne lesion count.”
For example, there was a 40.92 per cent decrease in Proteobacteria and 59.66 per cent increase in Firmicutes in the intervention group, by the end of the 12 weeks.
“These results, coupled with the reports of increased sebum production and impaired epidermal barrier with reduced Cer levels in acne patients, indicate that L. plantarumCJLP55 supplement improved acne vulgaris with selectively decreased TG of sebum, and increased Cer2 and skin hydration,” the researchers said.
CJ Foods provided funding support to the study.
Effects of Lactobacillus plantarum CJLP55 on Clinical Improvement, Skin Condition and Urine Bacterial Extracellular Vesicles in Patients with Acne Vulgaris: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study
Authors: Yunhi Cho et al