Researchers in Canada demonstrated that an Echinacea extract was able to destroy several strains of the acne inducing bacteria P. acnes. In addition, this same Echinacea extract reduced the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines that are triggered by the P. acnes bacteria.
Overall this should help reduce inflammation, a key promoter and potential initiator of the acne process.
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Sharma M, Schoop R, Suter A, Hudson JB. The potential use of Echinacea in acne: control of Propionibacterium acnes growth and inflammation. Phytother Res. 2011 Apr;25(4):517-21