Health & Fitness

Does combination acne treatment improve tolerability and adherence?

combination acne treatment

A study evaluated the combining of skin care products such as cleansers and moisturizers, with benzoyl peroxide, to treat acne.

Researchers from Germany and France collaborated to evaluate how satisfied people are with the status of their acne after using 5% benzoyl peroxide gel along with liquid cleanser and moisturizer with SPF 30. The study published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment included fifty participants at least 12 years of age with mild-to-moderate facial acne. They were assigned to use 5% benzoyl peroxide gel once a day in addition to a liquid cleanser twice a day and a daily moisturizer with SPF 30 once a day over the course of 12 weeks. A subject satisfaction questionnaire, global assessment of improvement by a practitioner, lesion counts, presence of the bacteria that causes acne, as well as safety, were evaluated throughout the duration of the study.

What is acne?

Acne is a chronic disease that affects about 80% of adolescents and young adults, caused by hormones that increase the production of oily substances from pores, slough cells lining the inside of hair follicles, and clog pores. This process interrupts the skin lining and can increase the growth of the bacteria that causes acne, called Propionibacterium acnes, in addition to chronic inflammation. Besides physical scarring and risk of infection, acne can profoundly affect patient quality of life and self-esteem.

How do you treat acne?

Benzoyl peroxide is considered one of the most effective and safe topical agents for acne treatment. For over 60 years, research has demonstrated that benzoyl peroxide is successful at quickly decreasing the amount of acne-causing bacteria and is not associated with bacterial resistance. The downside of using benzoyl peroxide by itself is that it has a tendency to cause skin irritation and has the potential to damage the skin barrier, even when it is used only for a few weeks of use.  Typically, this means that people don’t continue to use the benzoyl peroxide by itself due to the side effects, lack of education about what acne is and how to treat it.

What did this study do differently?

This study focused on combining a well-known acne treatment, benzoyl peroxide, with skin care products that may alleviate the side effects and discomfort which often prevent patients from continuing to use the benzoyl peroxide long enough to see improvements in acne.

A majority of the participants (87%) were satisfied with this three-part regimen, with 94% expressing improvements in self-esteem. In particular, they discussed how the skin care products helped prepare the skin for treatment (85%), relieve itchy skin (81%) and reduce irritation (87%). As such, most participants concluded that the liquid cleanser (80%) and moisturizer with SPF 30 (84%) were an important addition to their acne treatment rather than using the benzoyl peroxide by itself.

The addition of benzoyl peroxide decreased the amount of acne-causing bacteria found by 89% as early as after the first week of the well-tolerated treatment.

The study concluded that combining 5% benzoyl peroxide gel with liquid cleanser and moisturizer containing SPF 30 not only helps treat acne but results in high levels of overall satisfaction and good tolerability, which meant that people continued to use the treatment program.  The results of the study suggest that this combination of acne treatment should be used rather than benzoyl peroxide gel by itself.

Written by Tatsiana Verstak, M.S., B.S.

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Reference: Mi-Ran Kim & Nabil Kerrouche (2018) Combination of benzoyl peroxide 5% gel with liquid cleanser and moisturizer SPF 30 in acne treatment results in high levels of subject satisfaction, good adherence and favorable tolerability, Journal of Dermatological Treatment, 29:1, 49-54, DOI: 10.1080/09546634.2017.1342758

Image by Kjerstin Michaela Haraldsen from Pixabay

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