Phages: A Potential Alternative to Antibiotics in Skincare

11 December 2023

Researchers Explore the Efficacy of Phages in Controlling Staphylococcus Infections

Staphylococcus spp., commonly found on human skin, can become a cause for concern when it enters wounds, leading to various clinical infections. Antibiotic resistance has become a significant challenge in treating Staphylococcus infections, prompting researchers to explore alternative solutions. In a recent study, scientists investigated the effectiveness of phages, naturally occurring viruses that target bacteria, as a potential alternative to antibiotics in skincare.

Phages: A Promising Solution for Antibiotic Resistance

Staphylococcus spp. has shown adaptability and resistance to multiple antibiotics. This resistance has led researchers to explore alternative treatments, such as phages. Phages are viruses that specifically target and destroy bacteria, making them a potential solution for multidrug-resistant strains of Staphylococcus.

Evaluating Phage Activity

In the study, researchers isolated 17 Staphylococcus phages from wastewater and soil samples. These phages were then tested on 13 Staphylococcus isolates, including strains sourced from human skin and purulent wound samples. The phages exhibited different lytic profiles, with some demonstrating high lytic ability against specific Staphylococcus isolates.

Assessing Efficacy and Survival

To evaluate phage activity, three representative Staphylococcus isolates were treated with phages at different concentrations. The results showed a significant reduction in bacterial cell numbers, particularly when using a higher multiplicity of infection (MOI). Phage A1, in particular, demonstrated a high level of effectiveness, leading to the complete elimination of Staphylococcus populations.

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The study also investigated the impact of cosmetic ingredients on phage activity. The phage A1 showed robust survivability in the presence of low concentrations of the cosmetic ingredient solidant DMH. Additionally, a cosmetic serum formulated with phage A1 exhibited promising results in reducing Staphylococcus counts during a 90-day storage period.

Future Considerations and Applications

The study suggests that phage A1 has the potential to be integrated into skincare formulations, specifically targeting Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus capitis. The researchers propose further studies to explore the stability, shelf-life, safety, and efficacy of phage-based skincare products in human trials. They also suggest investigating the combined use of phage A1 with other phages for potential synergistic effects.


As antibiotic resistance continues to pose a challenge in treating Staphylococcus infections, researchers are exploring alternative solutions. The study highlights the potential of phages as an effective alternative to antibiotics in skincare, particularly in controlling multidrug-resistant strains of Staphylococcus. The findings open up new possibilities for the cosmetic and cosmeceutical industries, offering a potential bioactive ingredient for skincare products. However, further research is needed to fully understand the stability, safety, and efficacy of phage-based skincare products in human trials.

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