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Acne and Bacteria: Its Role and Effective Treatments

Acne, a common skin condition that most of us have experienced at some point, is more than just an occasional cosmetic concern. It can cause significant distress, particularly for women in their 30s dealing with adult acne or parents whose children are navigating the challenges of adolescent acne. Understanding the causes of acne, particularly the role of bacteria, can lead to more effective treatments and management strategies.


Illustration of a concerned woman with acne holding a mirror and looking at herself

Understanding Acne

Acne vulgaris, the medical term for common acne, affects an astounding 85% of adolescents and young adults. It's a multi-factorial disease that involves hair follicles and sebaceous glands. Multiple factors contribute to the development of acne, including skin microbes. The skin microbiome, the community of microorganisms living on our skin, plays a significant role in acne development.

The Role of Bacteria in Acne

The skin microbiome is a diverse ecosystem. Among the multitude of microorganisms, Propionibacterium acnes, or P. acnes, is the dominant component in the skin areas most prone to acne. Certain strains of P. acnes have been linked to acne pathogenesis, meaning they play a role in the development of the condition. Other microorganisms, such as Malassezia, may also contribute to acne, further emphasizing the complexity of this common skin condition.

An illustration of a petri dish full of colourful microbes

Treating Acne: The Role of Antibiotics

For decades, antibiotics have been the cornerstone of acne treatment. Medications such as macrolides, clindamycin, and tetracyclines have proven effective in managing acne. These antibiotics influence the composition and dynamics of the skin microbiome, helping to control the bacterial contributors to acne.

The Challenge of Antibiotic Resistance

However, the widespread use of antibiotics has led to a significant challenge: antibiotic resistance. This global issue has made previously effective treatments less useful, leading to an urgent need for new acne therapies. As we continue to learn more about the skin microbiome and its role in acne, it's clear that future treatments must consider these bacterial factors.


Understanding the bacterial causes of acne is crucial in developing effective treatments. As we navigate the challenges of antibiotic resistance, it's more important than ever to continue researching and understanding this common condition. If you or your loved ones are struggling with acne, remember that you're not alone and that professional help is available. With the right knowledge and resources, we can all take steps towards healthier skin.

Schedule a consultation with us today to start your acne recovery journey today!

This blog post was medically reviewed by Dr Summer Zhang.


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