Maintenance therapy for acne vulgaris: the fine balance between efficacy, cutaneous tolerability, and adherence

Skinmed. 2004 Jan-Feb;3(1):23-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-9740.2004.03244.x.


Maintenance therapy is defined as the regular use of appropriate therapeutic agents to ensure that acne remains in remission. Topical agents are the mainstay of maintenance therapy. A number of topical therapeutic options are available, including topical retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, and azelaic acid. The choice of topical agents should be based on a number of criteria: efficacy in addressing the subclinical microcomedo, which is the precursor lesion for both comedones and inflammatory lesions; tolerability, due to the need for application to a broader epidermal surface; and other properties that may enhance adherence. Patients may be more motivated to use agents that are easily integrated into their lifestyles and that have potential "skin-repairing" properties.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / drug therapy*
  • Acne Vulgaris / physiopathology
  • Acne Vulgaris / psychology
  • Humans
  • Patient Compliance*