Dr. Huang, the researcher spearheading the P. acnes toxin vaccine, has also been looking into whether lauric acid might be a natural antibiotic against P. acnes. Lauric acid is the main fatty acid in coconut oil and palm kernel oil, two very common and inexpensive materials. According to Dr. Huang, lauric acid is also an endogenous compound. Endogenous means it already occurs in the human body. What’s potentially beneficial about endogenous compounds is that our bodies know them, are used to them, and tend to handle them very well.
Several studies have shown lauric acid to be antibacterial, which interested one of Dr. Huang’s graduate students, who wanted to put it to the test. Together they tested lauric acid in the lab and in mouse ears, with good results against P. acnes in both instances.
So far I do not know of any lauric acid based acne treatments on the market. Lauric acid must be encapsulated in special spheres they call “liposomes” because it is not water soluble and is not well suited to most water-based formulas. While I believe this would be very possible to make, so far no such product has been produced.
If and when we see acne sufferers test such a product on a wide scale, it will be interesting to see how well it works. Acne is not just about P. acnes overgrowth, however. Overproduction of cells that clog pores, overproduction of sebum (skin oil), and inflammation are also in the mix. Still, it would be interesting to see a lauric acid product tested.