An excess of vitamin B12 affects bacteria that live on the human skin, claims a new study conducted by a team of researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

The researchers noticed a shift in the behavior of the skin bacteria that might lead to inflammation of the skin. Several researchers in the past have tried to connect vitamin B12 with the development of acne. However, the exact mechanism was not properly understood until the UCLA team discovered the interconnecting link between the vitamin and the appearance of acne – the skin bacteria.

People who take B12 supplements have higher levels of the vitamin in their skin. However, the researchers found that the skin bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes lowered its production of B12 under such conditions.

This resulted in an overall imbalance, leading to an excessive production of porphyrins, a naturally occurring chemical in the body. Porphyrins, that are known to cause inflammation, thus resulted in acne in such people.

However, lead researcher Huiying Li suggested the results should not considered conclusive until other researchers come up with the same findings that confirm the link between vitamin B12 and acne.

“It is too early to suggest a clinical implication of our study in terms of B12 supplements,” said Li in a statement. “It is not clear if the regular intake of vitamin B12 from food can lead to acne breakout.”

The complete study has been published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.