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Home » Dermatology » How the philosophy of ‘ecobiology’ can help treat patients with acne-prone skin
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Dr Bernard Ho

Consultant Dermatologist

Gemma Jones

Brand Trainer, Bioderma UK and Ireland

Ecobiology in skincare treatment centres around mimicking the skin’s natural biology to promote healthy, balanced skin. This can be an effective way to treat patients with acne.


‘Acne’ is surprisingly difficult to define, admits Dr Bernard Ho, Consultant Dermatologist at St George’s Hospital, London. From a medical standpoint, it’s not just the odd pimple or spot. Acne is a more complex condition where the skin becomes inflamed with multiple persistent pustules and papules, generally appearing on the face but can also present on the chest and back.

Acne treatment approaches and complexities

“The underlying cause of acne remains unknown,” says Dr Ho. “However, there are many hypotheses about the factors that contribute to it, including hormonal changes, clogged pores, stress and genetics.”

Part of the ecobiology philosophy is using products made with ‘biomimetic’ ingredients; they mimic natural constituents found in the skin.

What’s certain is that, depending on its severity, acne can have a scarring physical and emotional impact, so it’s important to treat it effectively. “We classify patients as having mild, moderate or severe acne,” says Dr Ho. “How they respond to their condition very much depends on the individual. Some people can have lots of spots and scarring and remain psychologically unaffected. Others with fewer spots and scarring can be deeply impacted.”

Acne particularly affects teenagers and young adults, but it can occur in later life, too — and treatment is definitely not ‘one-size-fits-all’. “If acne is severe, we may prescribe systemic treatments such as antibiotics, vitamin A derivative tablets or hormonal therapies,” says Dr Ho. “If the condition is mild to moderate, over-the-counter options may be suitable.”

Ecobiology treatment for healthy skin recovery

Gemma Jones, Brand Trainer UK and Ireland at skincare company Bioderma, highlights the principle of ‘ecobiology’ in over-the-counter skin treatments. Ecobiology combines the ecology and biology of the skin.

“This is the scientifical approach that the skin is a living ecosystem that is always interacting with its environment,” she explains. “If treatments help the skin adapt quickly to its environment and allow it to live according to its natural biology, it can recover and become healthy again.”

Biomimetic ingredients for skin balance

Part of the ecobiology philosophy is using products made with ‘biomimetic’ ingredients; they mimic natural constituents found in the skin. “When it’s young and healthy, the skin has everything it needs to protect and support itself,” says Jones. “Unfortunately, lifestyle factors, an incorrect skincare routine, exposure to the environment and the ageing process can throw things off balance. Targeting the biological causes of skin conditions with ingredients that mimic these natural constituents can give patients healthier skin over the long term.”

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