Biofilms are diverse communities of microorganisms (e.g. bacteria, fungi and yeasts) that embed themselves within a self-produced matrix and in doing so firmly attached themselves to one another and/or to surfaces. These surfaces may be biological (e.g. skin, wounds, teeth, or other body membranes), or not (e.g. implements, medical devices, furniture, or jewellery). The biofilm promotes the growth of the microorganisms, resulting in the thickening of the biofilm. In extreme cases, biofilms may appear as a “slime” to the naked eye.
Biofilms may harbour disease-causing organisms. According to one estimate, up to 80% of all microbial infections involve biofilm formation (1). If an infection develops a biofilm, it becomes even harder to treat. Biofilms are remarkably difficult to treat with antimicrobials, but the reasons for this are not clear. Antimicrobials may be inactivated or may fail to penetrate into the biofilm. In addition, bacteria within biofilms have increased (up to 1000-fold higher) resistance to antimicrobial compounds, and to the body’s defences (1, 2). Due to their embeddedness and resistance, biofilms often prove difficult to remove.
It has been suggested that skin biofilms may explain the chronic nature of many dermatological conditions, including atopic dermatitis, poor wound healing, acne, Candida infections, impetigo and boils (3).
N,N’-ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid — or EDTA for short — is an agent that binds up metal ions in solution. Because it holds to metal ions so tightly, it is also able to pull them away from their functions in biological molecules. In biofilms, metal ions are thought to be required for the creation of the microbial matrix and/or the adhesion within it — and so removing them with EDTA destroys the biofilm’s integrity.
In scientific studies, EDTA has been shown to be effective at removing microorganisms from a range of medically-relevant biofilms (4, 5, 6). This action has led to it being used to reduce infection risk in medical applications such as dialysis and device implantation, some wound dressings, and in dentistry (7, 8, 9, 10, 11).
Available without a prescription. Ask us about the dermatological preparations in which we have formulated EDTA. These products include lotions, gels, and foaming skin-wash products. These products are typically used twice daily.
Such products may be especially useful when used in conjunction with other skin preparations. For example, they may be applied as a cleanser before topical antibiotics for acne therapy.
An EDTA-containing wash may also boost the action of our Vitamin B3-containing preparations in reducing biofilm-feeding sebum secretions, reducing inflammation, and promoting healing.
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