What if there was an elective beauty vaccine? Would you take it?
Vaccines play an important role in our health and wellness. They help protect our immune system by combating the many germs that cause disease and the microbes that attack it. Additionally, they are an effective way to prevent illness, disability, and death, which can result from infectious diseases. Now, the Department of Dermatology at UC San Diego has developed two acne vaccines designed to cure this particular disease.
While acne may seem like a superficial medical condition, its repercussions can actually extend much further than just “skin deep.” According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne is most common skin condition in the United States, affecting up to 50 million Americans annually. The chronic, inflammatory skin condition, characterized by blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, and deeper lumps (cysts or nodules), can occur on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders, and upper arms. It often causes significant physical and psychological problems, such as permanent scarring, poor self-image, depression, and anxiety.
However, Eric Huang, Ph.D.,an adjunct professor of medicine in the Department of Dermatology at UC San Diego, may have a solution. He explains that an overgrowth of Propionibacterium acnes, a form of bacteria, inside an acne lesion can cause inflammation when the bacteria releases a toxin called Christie-Atkins-Munch-Petersen (CAMP), but, because of antigen masking, the human body cannot neutralize this toxin by itself. This is what causes acne. Thus far, the anti-acne vaccine has been able to neutralize the CAMP factor, thereby preventing the bacteria from producing acne.
According to the researcher, two types of vaccines are in the works: a preventative vaccine and a therapeutic vaccine. The preventative vaccine is to be injected into patients at elementary school age. If large clinical trials start soon, and if the vaccines are approved by the Food and Drug Administration, they could be available in three to five years.
But is a vaccine necessary for beautification? Just because science makes it possible to do something, should we actually do it? Would we be unnecessarily over-medicating our children for cosmetic reasons? What about using more natural remedies to keep your skin clear? Has America become that vain?