Acne and Propionibacterium acnes

Clin Dermatol. Sep-Oct 2004;22(5):375-9. doi: 10.1016/j.clindermatol.2004.03.005.


The involvement of microorganisms in the development of acne has a long and checkered history. Just over 100 years ago, Propionibacterium acnes (then known as Bacillus acnes) was isolated from acne lesions, and it was suggested that P. acnes was involved in the pathology of the disease. The 1960s saw the use of antibiotics to treat acne, and the consequent clinical success combined with reductions in P. acnes gave new impetus to the debate. Over the past two decades, the inevitable emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains of P. acnes as a consequence of acne therapy not only has reopened the debate as to the role of P. acnes in acne, but also has created some serious health care implications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / drug therapy
  • Acne Vulgaris / microbiology*
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / drug therapy
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Propionibacterium acnes / drug effects
  • Propionibacterium acnes / physiology*