Antibiotic resistance in the topical treatment of acne vulgaris

Cutis. 2004 Jun;73(6 Suppl):6-10.


Topical antimicrobial agents are the first line of treatment in mild to moderate acne vulgaris. The primary pathogenic agent implicated in the development of inflammatory acne is Propionibacterium acnes. P acnes also may play a secondary role in noninflammatory acne or comedogenesis. Over the past 20 years, concern has grown about the gradual worldwide increase in the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant P acnes strains. Factors associated with the development of resistant P acnes following treatment with topical antibiotics, clinical relevance of antibiotic resistance, and strategies to reduce the incidence of P acnes resistance are discussed in this review.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / drug therapy*
  • Acne Vulgaris / microbiology
  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Benzoyl Peroxide / administration & dosage
  • Benzoyl Peroxide / pharmacology
  • Clindamycin / administration & dosage
  • Clindamycin / pharmacology
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial*
  • Humans
  • Propionibacterium acnes / drug effects


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Clindamycin
  • Benzoyl Peroxide