Efficacy of octenidine dihydrochloride and 2-phenoxyethanol in the topical treatment of inflammatory acne

Acta Dermatovenerol Alp Pannonica Adriat. 2008 Sep;17(3):139-43.


Background: With the increase in antibiotic-resistant strains of microorganisms in acne lesions, the search for alternative treatment methods has become important. We studied the efficacy of a combination of the antiseptic substances octenidine dihydrochloride and 2-phenoxyethanol (O/P) in mild to moderate inflammatory acne vulgaris.

Methods: Thirty patients were instructed to apply O/P once or twice daily for a 6-week treatment period. Determination of efficacy included the numerical documentation of inflammatory and non-inflammatory lesions within defined regions of the face by the investigator, and photodocumentation of the clinical picture as well as the fluorescence pattern under Wood's light.

Results: Twenty-four patients completed the study. The number of papules and pustules decreased more than 50% in seventeen and nineteen patients, respectively. Acne lesions worsened in only one patient. Mild adverse reactions (erythema, burning, and scaling) were seen in two patients. Therefore, O/P was highly effective in treating inflammatory lesions of facial acne, but there was no essential efficacy in the non-inflammatory primary acne lesions.

Conclusion: Topical O/P is a good and cost-effective alternative in the treatment of mild to moderate inflammatory acne lesions and may allow reduced application of anti-acne antibiotics to prevent development of resistance.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / drug therapy*
  • Acne Vulgaris / pathology*
  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Adolescent
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / administration & dosage*
  • Drug Combinations
  • Ethylene Glycols / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Pyridines / administration & dosage*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Drug Combinations
  • Ethylene Glycols
  • Pyridines
  • phenoxyethanol
  • octenidine