Topical acne treatments in Europe and the issue of antimicrobial resistance

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2015 Aug;29(8):1485-92. doi: 10.1111/jdv.12989. Epub 2015 Feb 10.


Acne vulgaris (acne) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the sebaceous gland, characterized by follicular hyperkeratinization, excessive colonization by Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) as well as immune reactions and inflammation. Despite an armamentarium of topical treatments available including benzoyl peroxide, retinoids and azelaic acid, topical antibiotics in monotherapies, especially erythromycin and clindamycin, are still used in Europe to treat acne. This intensive use led to antimicrobial-resistant P. acnes and staphylococci strains becoming one of the main health issues worldwide. This is an update on the current topical acne treatments available in Europe, their mechanism of action, their potential to induce antimicrobial resistance and their clinical efficacy and safety.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / drug therapy*
  • Administration, Topical
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial*
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Propionibacterium acnes / drug effects*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents